Friday afternoon I had the pleasure of sipping a Starbucks pumpkin spice soy latte while chatting with my favorite local lighting expert Marcia (that’s MAR-see-uh) Exelrud . (Click here for previous guest post by Marcia.) As we discussed how to save the world from poor kitchen design and bad lighting , I asked her to come up with a list of the TOP 5 Lighting Fixes for your kitchen. Here's what she had to say:
[caption id="attachment_183" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Matching white trim blends recessed light fixtures into this crisp white kitchen ceiling. Photo by Apartmenttherapy"][/caption]
1. Replace trims and bulbs in existing recessed fixtures. New trim will give you a fresh updated look. Replace bulbs so that they are all the same type for uniform and even lighting. Remember that the most up to date fixtures and bulbs will usually also be more energy efficient. The initial investment is greater but they more than pay for themselves and save you time and aggravation in the long run.
2. Move or add fixtures to add direct light where you need it. Take a moment to study your kitchen both during the day and at night with the lights on. Does your current arrangement work or do you need to make some changes?
[caption id="attachment_184" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Note pendant fixtures over island, cove lighting above cabinets and lights below upper cabinets. Photo by Apartmenttherapy"][/caption]
3. Add cove lighting with an LED or xenon strip light fixture. Do you have space above your cabinets? This is a perfect opportunity for cove lighting. LED or Xenon strips are perfect for this area.
[caption id="attachment_187" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="This kitchen has good "bones" i.e. storage and counter space. The plastic covered fluorecents need to go. New cabinets (or just a reface) and tops will give this kitchen a totally updated look. Photo by picdigger"][/caption]
4. Remove unsightly dropped ceilings. You know what I’m talking about, those plastic squares set into a metal grid concealing fluorescent tubes. Yeah that’s them. Remove them and you instantly create an open feeling! Replace those tube lights with some recessed high hats for better light. Welcome to 2010! A word of caution, if you have a concrete ceiling you may have to lower it just enough to recess lights. If that’s not in the budget consider a surface mounted fixture.
[caption id="attachment_186" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Recessed lights provide main lighting. Red pendants add task lighting over the island and a punch of red in this black and white kitchen. Photo by Apartmenttherapy"][/caption]
5. Install lighting under the upper cabinets and above islands.. Never install open fixtures such as pendants, spot lights or recessed lights witout lenses directly over cooking areas.
If you have questions about any type of lighting you can contact Marcia at
You can also find her listed under LOCAL RESOURCES at Kitchens for Living