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Could I survive without using the can lights?

Posted by kristenh (My Page) on
Tue, May 10, 11 at 7:40

My kitchen is a total tear out and we are just beginning. It will be heavily arts/crafts influenced with qs oak cabs in a natural stain, h/w floors, even considering a beadboard ceiling, although might paint that. i don't really want to do can lights or pendants over the island, as popular as those things are. can i do a big ceiling fan w/ schoolhouse type light (we really need a fan- no a/c in our 1894 house) and 4 or so other schoolhouse ceiling fixtures plus two sconces and undercab lighting? the room is about 20 x 12.

thanks- my first post!


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Could I survive without using the can lights?

Any light with an indirect component (reflects off the ceiling) will give better general illumination. As a bonus they will look much more appropriate in an A&C kitchen (where cans look hideously anachronistic, IMO).

FWIW, 40-50 years ago, most folks had one central light, often with a 75 watt incandescent bulb in a typical 12x10 kitchen. They seemed to do OK. True, current taste runs to more light, but 5 ceiling fixtures and 2 sconces might be overkill. If I put that many in, I'd make sure they were individually switchable.


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RE: Could I survive without using the can lights?

I think you would do fine without can lights or pendants. I like your idea of the schoolhouse lights. I personally wouldn't have a fan in my kitchen, because it would be annoying to me to have a fan right above my food while I am prepping. I imagine it would blow my food around.

Yes, I would do undercab lights as task lights.

I agree that light that reflects off the ceiling or walls would give better general, ambient/ fill light, so the schoolhouse lights and sconces should be fine. Ditto on making them individually switchable (and maybe dimmable) if you can. I think you should definitely not do one single light as it would be a terrible glare bomb, plus you have a good-size kitchen.


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RE: Could I survive without using the can lights?

thank you both for your replies. order has been placed with schoolhouse electric!


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RE: Could I survive without using the can lights?

We have a ceiling fan in our kitchen and we love it - especially in August! It's a pretty good idea to clean the blades now and then. :)


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RE: Could I survive without using the can lights?

The reason central surface mounted lights fell into disfavor was because although they gave good general illumination to the room, they provided very little task lighting on the work surfaces, in fact, they usually caused shadows to fall on the area where someone was working.

At some point in the design process you must decide if history means more to you than a well functioning work space.


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RE: Could I survive without using the can lights?

"At some point in the design process you must decide if history means more to you than a well functioning work space."

Indeed. My first four houses had that kind of surface mount lighting. And yes, it provides even, low level of lighting which can at times be adequate. But having the cabinet tops equally lit with the floors does not help when cooking or dining. Spots in combination with under counter lighting direct more light where it counts and is a far more useful lighting design.

A few of us on this forum believe that millions of home owners blindly follow the dictates found in home design magazines and install spots without thinking through the consequences. Such an attitude is elitist at best and likely leads some home renovators to make the wrong decision.


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