Single Task Oriented Light Fixture For Small Kitchen?
August 14, 2019 9:24 AM   Subscribe

I need to get rid of my old ceiling fan (which is my only kitchen light fixture) and get some real task lighting hung in the same spot...any suggestions?

I live in a small, old concrete-block house. I love cooking and have a nice little kitchen with work spaces on three sides and the refrigerator on the fourth wall. The floor is an awful, drab and darkish tile. The rest of the decor is nice, with white ceramic tile counter and splash board, chrome fixtures, and hanging pans!

I can vastly improve things with new lighting and have to make my move now because I have someone who will install it for me next week. My option is limited to the location where I now have a ceiling fan with four lights installed. It is in the center of the ceiling, of course.

I am thinking of something in the nature of track lighting, where I can have the spots directed to the work areas, stove top, etc.; and not straight down on the floor. But there are so many kinds of bulbs now! Also, I want to be able to dim from the switch. It would be cool to be able to only have some of the lights on and others not, but this is not important. This website seems to have a lot of choices, but I am not partial to it and would be happy to go the a local big-box hardware or other local store. Any suggestions? Type of bulb is my biggest question, or the most confusing one, for me. Thanks!

This is task lighting for chopping vegetables, and stirring the pot so to speak.
posted by swlabr to Home & Garden (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I have a cheap, perfectly fine-looking track light in my kitchen from Home Depot or similar. 3 lights (you might want more) - 1 aimed at the stove,1 at the sink, 1 at a dark corner. The kitchen previously had 1 light over the sink, and a ceiling fan at the stairs adjacent. You should be bale to get a track that will support 4 or 5 lights: LEDs don't draw much power. Kitchens can really use tons of light. See if there's any way to get a light over the sink, which I updated. I also have under cabinet lights that are great for tasks, but that might be too much wiring.
posted by theora55 at 9:54 AM on August 14, 2019

If you have the chance to add some under cabinet lighting (task lighting), it will make a HUGE difference. If you're working at the counter, the overhead light is coming from behind you, which casts a shadow onto your countertop.

In our small-ish kitchen, we have 4 recessed can lights plus the undercabinet lights (including one that's over the sink). Our recessed lights are on a dimmer, but the only time I use the dimmer is super late at night - it's not very important. The bulbs aren't a special bulb - we've got LEDs in now, but when they were incandescent, they're just normal bulbs, maybe 90 or 120 watt. Having 4 recessed bulbs provides a good amount of overall light in our maybe 11x11 ft kitchen.

If you add a dimmer, make sure it supports LED bulbs. We had to replace the dimmer after we switched to LEDs.

Track lighting is nice, but the bulbs I have are very harsh, producing lots of shadows. They're too "direct", and don't provide lighting that fills the room. They're more like spotlights.
posted by hydra77 at 11:02 AM on August 14, 2019 [1 favorite]

We inherited the previous owner's track lighting when we moved into our current house. Awful. Bright spots in a few areas, and shade everywhere else - but you would also cast a shadow yourself on whatever place you were trying to work! That meant we had to turn on the previous owner's badly-fitted under-cabinet spotlights, which would give decent light but only until they overheated and cut out.

We've replaced the track lighting with a row of simple glass pendant lamps - three in a row hanging from a bar, each with a decent high-output LED bulb. They give really good light: strong but diffuse, with no areas of shade, and wherever you stand in the kitchen your workplace is well lit.

We haven't had to turn on the under-cabinet lights even once since we had the pendants fitted, which is a great relief!
posted by vincebowdren at 2:26 AM on August 15, 2019

Thank you all.... Given the dimensions of the room and the minimal ceiling height, I am going to try some LED track lights on a decorative fixture. I had to make a quick decision for my installer....and will report back. I do hope to add under the counter lights one day, but the wiring locations are so archaic!
posted by swlabr at 8:47 AM on August 21, 2019

I ended up hanging an EnvirLite brand fixture, described as 3.44 ft. Brushed Nickel Integrated LED Track Lighting Kit with LED Flush Mount Ceiling Light and 4 Rotating Track Heads. It has a round, flush mounted light in the center, plus 4 spots on a straight decorative bar that is attached solely to the flush mount.

And it has a remote where one can use the spots only, or the center flush mount only, or both; and dim them all. The center light is not very bright, but the spots are quite so.

I love the way the fixture looks and how the spots really set off the kitchen (and not the ugly floor). I will leave the flush mount light off, probably, except when cleaning at night.

However, I do cast a shadow over my work spaces. I realize under-cabinet lights are best for this, but it will be a while before I can get an electrician to do the hard work needed to get the wiring in. Another big improvement, needing wiring, will be to add a vented stove hood with lights built in.
posted by swlabr at 5:34 PM on August 22, 2019

« Older Mortgage - recession proofing 2019   |   getting rid of silverfish without hurting spiders? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.