Put a Little Shine on It: Designing a Lighting Plan

So, after sitting down and attempting to create a kitchen floor plan, I have a new-found appreciation for the skills of real-live interior designers, architects, and space planners that can whip out an appropriately-proportioned rendering of a space. After several seriously wrong attempts, I finally managed to create a mostly-accurate diagram of our kitchen, all the way down to the existing lights. And yes, I tried (without any luck) two online tools, including Ikea’s floor planner and the free floor planner from Floorplanner.com. I think there were a couple of factors there – the first being my inability to understand how to use either free, “easy to use” software, and the second being our kitchen’s evidently bizarre shape. Anyhoo, aided by my very old friend, Graph Paper, we came up with this old-school rendering.

I also snapped some pictures of the ceiling, in case a graph paper sketch isn’t your scene. The dog was veeeery interested in the fact that I was crawling around on the floor with him. This is the view from the dining room floor… interesting what the world must look like to babies and hounds. The pendant in the background hangs over our kitchen table.

And here’s the view from the opposite direction.

Based on my research online, I guessed that the correct number of recessed lights for the space would be 6. Here are the two rules-of-thumb that helped me arrive at this decision:

  1. Space recessed lights no further than 5 feet apart to lend the right illumination for tasks (ie avoid chopping your fingers off by keeping the space brightly lit). This varies based on the size of the recessed light you’ll be using. Our space will employ 6-inch lights.
  2. Line recessed lighting close to the edge of your counter top to prevent casting strange shadows on your cabinets. I have seen homes that align lights directly with the top edge of the cabinet, but I don’t think our builder-grade cabinets warrant that much attention!

The meeting with our contractor was a super productive. He confirmed that 6 lights would be the correct number, showed me exactly where he would place them, given the dimensions of the room and existing obstructions, gave us a timeline (about a day’s worth of work), and gave us the scoop on how he would obliterate the existing flourescent behemoth (transform it into a junction box to feed the 6 recessed lights, then wall it over, baby!). He also gave us a shopping list and strict instructions to choose the materials we liked when it came to aesthetics.

So, one day at lunch, I headed to Home Depot to snag the supplies we needed. When it came to selecting a trim ring for our lights, I had a brief flash of insanity as my brain wondered if the white trim ring would match the white of our ceiling. I cast the crazy aside and snagged some basic white baffle rings, plus 85-watt equivalent bulbs and the housing our light fixtures would need.

Then it was time to practice being patient while I waited for installation day… And yes, that was definitely the hard part. I’ll be back this week to share the after photos, so stay tuned!

Have you upgraded the lighting in your pad? Are y’all electrically-savvy, or novices like us that call in the pros when it gets more complicated than swapping out an existing fixture?


1 Comment

Filed under Projects, The Lottery House

One response to “Put a Little Shine on It: Designing a Lighting Plan

  1. Pingback: A Quick Update | thelotteryhouse

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