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roundbox52 06-24-2012 12:42 PM

Kitchen Lighting - How Many for my Kitchen - Thoughts? Ideas?
2 Attachment(s)
Here are two layouts of my Kitchen/Dinette. I am replacing a fluorescent fixture in each room with 6" recessed lights. The ceiling height is 7'-6". I have attached two .pdf layouts which show the floor joists above.

What does everyone think of each option? Too many lights? Not enough lights? Too close? Too far apart? Any suggestions or ideas? I have the Dinette cans installed and working. I seem to get a lot of shadows, but perhaps that's normal with recessed lights?

I am planning to install under cabinet l.e.d. lighting in the future.


stickboy1375 06-24-2012 12:56 PM

12 Attachment(s)
Option 1 looked ideal, this is just my opinion, but ditch the 6" cans and go with 5" cans, you can use the same wattage lamp but loose the meteor look in the ceiling. :)

JulieMor 06-24-2012 03:10 PM

My rule is there can never be too much light in a kitchen. You can always install dimmers.

What kind of trim are you planning to use for the can lights? A black baffle will put out a lot less light than a ring where the lamp is exposed. Polished chrome specular trims put out a lot of light but hide the lamp. The trim makes a big difference.

The under cabinet lights will be appreciated by all who work at the counters.

Daniel Holzman 06-24-2012 05:23 PM

You may want to discuss the lighting plan with the lighting store where you purchase the lights. Of course this is not going to happen if you buy the lights at a big box store, but if you go to a real lighting store they have special software that allows you to see the light pattern from each type of light, which depends on the can size and type, trim, and bulb type. One nice thing about using the lighting software is you can lay out the cans so you get relatively even lighting, and adequate amounts for the area.

There are task lights and overall lighting, and the combination of the two can be very difficult to get right without using lighting software. And if you purchase the fixtures and bulbs from a specialty store, they may do a consultation with you as part of the package. You can do the lighting mix by hand, just a bit difficult, since the lighting does not always drop off linearly. Computers are good for something, and lighting is one of those things.

roundbox52 06-24-2012 06:28 PM

I was thinking of the screw in l.e.d. bulbs with the baffle/trim. I think the 5" cost slightly more than the 6". So I think I will stick with the 6" - also they are already nailed into place!

Is 3'-0" too close to space recessed lights? That's my only concern with option #1. The concern I have for option #2 is that the last light is so close to the Dinette light.

Any other comments or suggestions?

I work for a home builder (I draw the houses), I've asked the lighting company we deal with for their suggestion and they said 3' was too close - I've bothered the guy a little much on this project, but he has never said anything regarding a lighting program.

I stopped at another lighting store and they didn't mention anything about a computer generated lighting output either - they just gave me the basics and said that what I had was good and it's really a 'Personal Preference'.

Lights were purchased at a big box.

sixspeed 06-24-2012 06:58 PM

Do you have a range hood that has built-in task lighting? If so, I'd go with Option #2.

Also, the area directly above/around the word "Kitchen" might suffer from more shadows.

Keep in mind LED bulbs tend to cast a more focused, delineated beam compared to incandescent bulbs. There are LED trim fixtures with integrated lens/diffusers which may help "spread" the light more evenly. Read the specs and try different ones if you're unsure. Depending on the lumens of your LED bulbs, you may want to install compatible dimmers to control the lighting to suit your mood/needs.

JulieMor 06-24-2012 07:54 PM


Originally Posted by roundbox52 (Post 950698)
Is 3'-0" too close to space recessed lights? That's my only concern with option #1. The concern I have for option #2 is that the last light is so close to the Dinette light.

I have 16 can lights in my kitchen, which is about the same size as yours. 10 are in a soffit 7' off the floor. 6 highlight the cabinets and are spaced about 26" apart. One is over the sink and 3 are over a counter spaced 2' apart. In the hallway I spaced them 4' apart because it was just area lighting.

The kitchen soffit lighting is just okay, but I have black baffle trims. I had to put under cabinet lighting to make up for what the can lights missed.

Jim Port 06-24-2012 08:22 PM

With an 8' ceiling, a 6" recessd with white step baffle trim and a halogen PAR bulb I was using a 4' grid for the spacing.

Your lower ceiling height will make the cone of light slightly smaller.

CopperClad 06-24-2012 08:35 PM

I'm curious about this topic as well. By your drawings it looks like you have the lights 2' out from your upper cabinets. From what I was told with the LED's because they do have a more direct focus of light that 1' out from the upper cabinets was better. Anyone? sorry, looked at your drawings and see the 2'8''3/4.

Jim Port 06-24-2012 09:38 PM

If the light is too far away for the countertops you will be working in your own shadow.

CopperClad 06-24-2012 10:15 PM

So would keeping the lights 1' away from the upper cabinets be ideal?

JulieMor 06-24-2012 10:41 PM

I have a 24" soffit that the cabinets are mounted under. Wall cabinets are 12" so that leaves 12" of space in the soffit where cans can be installed. I split the difference making my cans 9" away from the cabinet.

But in relation to the counter top below, the center of the cans are 3" away from the outer edge of the counter top. The best place to light the counter top would be 12" off the wall but the wall cabinet is in the way. So you put them half way between the edge of the wall cabinet and outer edge of the counter top.

Simply put, place the cans 6" off the wall cabinets.

CopperClad 06-24-2012 10:49 PM

And how much does it matter if your using 4, 5, or 6'' cans? Also, I had noticed on her drawing she had drawn one center of sink. I had read somewhere that if you do that then you will always have a shadow when washing dishes, so they recommended 2 lights 1' each way from center of the sink. Is that true?

Jim Port 06-25-2012 07:10 AM

The choice of size depends on what the lights are being used for. I would not try to use a 4" to light the room. I would use 4" as directly over the counter or as an accent light.

The cone of light is smaller with the smaller bulbs. You can look at beam spread to help you decide.

andrew79 06-25-2012 07:40 AM

A general rule of thumb I use for minimum light is whatever size your can is that's how far apart in feet you put your lights for adequate brightness. So a 4inch can should have a four foot spread. Of course personal preference plays in with any light or dark effects your trying to create and with this being a kitchen I would want it to be bright as possible. Bigger cans equals more light per can. I recently put some 5" pots in a bachelor apartment. Kitchen/living room has 4 five inch cans in a diamond shape and one over the kitchenette on a seperate switch. They have 50w par 30 halogens in them and when they're all on its like being outside on a sunny day. Space is about 15 by 12. Bulb type and trim type make all the difference in the world with pots.

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