Is this too much light?


Old 05-09-07, 07:45 AM
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Is this too much light?

I know NOTHING about lighting but I am redoing my kitchen lights.

I pulled out the old drop ceiling flurescent lights and now have a tray ceiling. I just bought a beautiful flush mount light for the center and 11 recessed can lights to put in. 7 will go around the outside of the tray over the counters and the additional 4 will go in the inside corners of the top of the tray. My kitchen is about 12X14. Is this overkill?

Also since there are a few spots that are tight, 3 of the cans are 5" and all the rest are 8". Will it look odd to mix and match?

I will put all the cans on a dimmer but the center light can not be dimmed so the wall switches will have one knob to turn and one toggle. Is this odd to do?
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Old 05-09-07, 08:56 AM
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I am an advocate of lots of light. Especially in a kitchen, youwant lots of light.

the idea of a dimmer is good. If the room is large enough, you could even seperate different areas into seperate lighting circuits. Say like one particular work station on its own or if this is an eat in kitchen, seperating the eating area onto its own switch etc.

btw, if you want to spend the money, you can buy dimming ballasts for flourescent lights. They require a special dimmer as well. Not cheap, but available.

The couple of odd sized lights;

it's hard to tell from here if it would look odd. If they are part of a pattern, it may look odd. If they are over a somewhat seperate area, it would be easier to have the different size lights.

Just too hard to tell without actually seeing it.

and for the dimmer/toggle combination. there are dimmers that are not rotary. those would tend to blend in more if you feel there is a problem with the looks of a rotary dimmer.

after all is said and done, how it looks to you is what counts (until you sell the place). I have seen some of the most God ugly colors and fixtures put into buildings by overly well paid designers. I believe that when people pay a lot for a designer, they accept anything they are told by the designer. I see it differently, I can still see ugly, no matter how much it costs when I think it is ugly.
Old 05-09-07, 02:36 PM
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: USA
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My only problem is it sounds like the light is all concentrated in one area (the "tray"). It would help to know how big the tray is.

The thing with Kitchen lighting is you want ambiant light, task lighting, and perhaps accent lighting (for a particular fixture). Here is a link that describes the different types:,2037,DIY_14038_2271094,00.html

Your ambiant lighting should light the whole kitchen, the task lighting should be above work areas (sink, counters, island), and accent if you want to show something off.

If you have an eat in kitchen you also want light in the area over the table.

There are many books on the subject of kitchen designing an building, here is a book that I HIGHLY recommend:
Old 05-09-07, 04:00 PM
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I tend to use a grid spacing of 4' square in a kitchen using 6" recessed with a white baffle trim and a PAR 30 bulb. This is without any other ligthing sources.

Spacing depends on ceiling height,countertop height, trim and bulb selection.

If it was me I would not use the 8" or mix the size.
Old 05-09-07, 08:44 PM
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In general I want more light in the kitchen, not less. Better to have too much than not enough, etc. Shadows drive me crazy when I'm cooking or prepping.

I have seen kitchens with great lighting that got unbearably hot in summer, however. In the depths of an August evening in a Texas kitchen, all I wanted was spots over the prep area, sink, or stove, and cut all the rest. Also sometimes you just want a little light over here or there, for example later in the evening of a dinner party when everyone is hanging in the kitchen, or when guests are spending the night and you want just enough to get around.
Old 05-10-07, 01:01 PM
Join Date: Jan 2004
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A couple of points to keep in mind:

1) Dimmers have a maximum rated wattage, generally in the range of 300-600W per dimmer. Some can handle more power, and most have to be 'de-rated' if you put several dimmers in the same box. Do not put too many fixtures on a single dimmer.

2) Dimmed incandescent lamps are less efficient than the same lamps operated at full voltage. For example, a pair of 100W lamps dimmed to produce the same net output as a single 100W lamp at full power will use about 150W of electricity. If possible, you are better off adjusting the total light in the room by switching on some, rather than all, of the lights.

3) CFL lamps are much more efficient than incandescent lamps. This saves you electricity, and also saves on your cooling costs if you have AC. However CFL lamps are probably not suitable for all of your lighting needs. Consider using them for some of the lamps, especially ones that you expect to leave on for long periods of time for 'bulk room lighting'. You can get CFL lamps suitable for recessed fixtures.


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