Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Shedding a Little Light on the Issue: Kitchen Lighting

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Whenever you look at designer kitchens they always have tons of light sources and beautiful light fixtures.

My kitchen was lacking both.

As I started looking for lighting I had to get over the idea that all the lighting in your home needed to match. I have almost always lived in a home with matched lighting through out the entire house. I was also overwhelmed at how expensive it could be! You can easily spend $300-$400 on one light fixture not to mention the expense of hiring an electrician to wire and install new lighting. That type of cash was completely outside my budget.

Luckily I have a ridiculously handy husband who comes from a family of ridiculously handy men. They can fix, install or build anything.

We went with simple lighting from IKEA. They had clean lines and they would help us add a lot more light to our kitchen. We (and I think you all know by we I mean my husband) also installed recessed lighting we got from Home Depot.

We first changed out the light fixture above the dining table.

If you remember I had this light before.
And this is the light after.
This light set us back 50 bucks. Not bad.

Now, over the cooking area and bar I wanted a lot more light. I only had two light fixtures before. One was over the sink and one was in the middle of the ceiling. Every time I did anything in the kitchen I was always working in my own shadow.

We added pendant lighting above the bar but before hanging the light we had to decide where to place them.

I stood there staring at the ceiling over the bar wondering how I could figure out how to center them and make sure they were even. I finally went online and found some great suggestions. 

First measure the width of your bar.

Find the middle of your measurement and mark the center of your counter top with painters tape.(If you like my counters you can find out how I painted them here)

Next you want to mark where the pendants will hang. Mark these spots with more tape. You may have to play with this a little. Just make sure if you are hanging multiple lights, that the distance between each is the same.

Next you want to take a very long piece of string and tie something heavy to the end like a washer. Attach the string to the ceiling with tape so the washer hangs directly over the intersections.

You may need to play with the positioning a little until you are happy. I would also recommend opening any cupboards that may get in the way to make sure you have given them enough clearance. 

Now you need to figure out the length of your lights. Take another piece of blue tape and mark the height of where you think you would like your light.

Stand and sit around your counter to make sure the height is right. I had my kids and husband sit at the counter while I stood on the other side to make sure that they weren't too low and then my husband and I switched.

My husband cut the holes and wired the lights.

We (again my husband) also wired some recessed lighting and ended up installing 5 new recessed lights.

Here is the before lighting.

And here it is after. One of the recessed lights above the fridge was cut out of the picture.

We also added wireless puck lights under the cabinets. I am not sold on them yet. I don't have any "hidden" plugs behind the cabinets so I can't really use wired lights without cords and plugs dangling all over the place so I am stuck with them as an only option right now. 

I am so happy with my new lighting. It is so nice to be able to see what I am doing and to create a bright and happy atmosphere.

A big thanks has to go out to my hubby for crawling around in the attic all afternoon to do this.

Love you babe!

So how about you guys? Is lighting that important to you or do you not really think about it? I know I really didn't until I started working on this kitchen. I am happy I took it into consideration and decided to add it to our kitchen.


  1. Love the new lighting, it really adds so much!

  2. brilliant my dear! thanks so much for partying with whipperberry!!

  3. I love the before & after pics of your kitchen! I think kitchens have the best tranformations when done right, and you definitely did right :)

  4. we bought some battery operated under cabinet lighting from Sams and aren't sold on them either. we're thinking of timing how long the batteries last (even though they are LED lights) because it doesn't seem very long. I'm afraid some demo and wiring might be required to make me happy. would love to know how you're feeling about the Ikea lights after a few weeks b/c we do have an ikea close. nice job on the rest of the remodel.

  5. @Ang and Mike I know I would love to do some demo and get real under cabinet lighting but I think it would be a real pain. So far I have been really happy with the lighting from Ikea. I think as long as you find a light that fits your style you will be happy with it. I would just go wonder around and see if anything catches your eye! Good luck and thanks for stopping by.

  6. This looks amazing. Lighting makes such a difference. Great colors too.

  7. Lighting adds heaps to the effects of a room. Yours looks fantastic. Love it!

  8. Wow, you are so ambitious! I found your blog through your Pinterest profile...I'm SO inspired! My kitchen is in desperate need of a makeover, but I'm on a pretty tight budget. Painting my cabinets dark brown 70's cabinets is definitely in the foreseeable future, and painting my hideous laminate counters just might be too!


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