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Brighten Your Kitchen

Brighten your kitchen with LED recessed lighting.

Most kitchens over 15 years old have inadequate lighting. There was typically a single ceiling light and maybe a light over the sink. Wherever you worked at the counter you cast shadows because most of the light was over your shoulder and behind you.

Some people added a few under-cabinet lights to compensate and get more light on the counter work area. These were either fluorescent or halogen bulbs. Many people disliked the delay and flicker of fluorescent bulbs and disliked the heat generated by the halogen bulbs.

Today recessed can lights are the most common light fixture in kitchens. Since they are positioned throughout the kitchen they cast less shadowing and get more light where you need it. And, using LED bulbs allows even greater illumination than was possible with incandescent or compact fluorescent bulbs.

When I used to do lighting layouts for recessed cans using incandescent bulbs or compact flourescent bulbs I always tried to maintain a spacing of about 4 feet between lights. Today with LED bulbs I have revised that to 5 feet apart because of the greater light output possible from each bulb. Since LED lights generate very little heat it is possible to increase the lumens of light without exceeding the capacity of the fixture.

Here is a chart of lumens of light output for incandescent, fluorescent and LED bulbs.

Incandescent 15-25 lumens per watt

Fluorescent 40-70 lumens per watt

LED 60-140 lumens per watt.

It is easy to see how you can brighten up a kitchen or any other room using LED bulbs.

Color of light is another important consideration. For kitchens and bathrooms I specify 4000K (kelvin) bulbs to get a whiter light more like natural light. For other areas I often use a warmer 3000K bulb. (Incandescent bulbs are about 2700k) The 4000K bulb will typically have a higher lumen output than will the 3000k bulb.

If you have recessed can lights now it is very easy to switch to LED bulbs. I recommend using a trim-bulb assembly that replaces the trim and bulb all at once. You will also benefit from the bulb being flush with the ceiling which will improve the spread of the light. You can buy this combination for less than $25.00 and it is definitely a project you can do yourself. (Allen Kitchen & Bath offers these for 4”, 5” and 6” cans at $23.75 each)

Most good quality LED bulbs can be dimmed but only with a dimmer designed for LED bulbs. It is wise to stick with quality dimmer such as made by Lutron. Be certain the bulb specifies “dimmable”.

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