Improve Kitchen Lighting – Part 2

More Options to Improve Kitchen Lighting

Last week we discussed two options to improve kitchen lighting: upgrade your bulbs and add under-cabinet lighting. This week we’ll review three more options that can make a big change for a reasonable cost.

Option 3 – Add a Dimmer Switch

You can improve kitchen lighting by making it more flexible so that you can use it differently at different times. One or more dimmer switches can be added to existing lighting so that you can turn the light up or down in each area to support either general lighting for overall illumination, or task lighting over the counter, or accent lighting for under cabinets or over them. If you use the maximum wattage bulb in each fixture, the dimmer switch will allow you to have full light for cutting vegetables lower light for serving and entertaining guests.

This is a very economical option because replacing a standard light switch with a dimmer takes less than half an hour and costs less than $20. However, fluorescent and low-voltage lights require more expensive dimmer switches.

Option 4 – Install Track Lighting

Many older kitchens have a single light in the center of the kitchen which puts out good enough light for general cleaning and kitchen use but does not provide good light into deep cabinets or onto the countertop work surface. A new track lighting system can be installed by using the existing light fixture electrical box as a mounting point.

Track lighting allows you to move multiple light bulb holders into a specific position and keep them there, or move them again to some other position. The configuration is very flexible to match your needs. One lamp can shine into a deep cabinet, two more can illuminate the work surface, and another can light a dark corner – whatever you want! Track lighting comes in incandescent, fluorescent, and halogen versions. Some types include a bendable track so that you can get an exact match for your kitchen arrangement, and some even come with a pendant light that hangs down closer to the work surface.

Option 5 – Add or upgrade recessed lighting

Standard recessed ceiling lights installed around the perimeter of a kitchen might not be providing enough light where it is really needed. Often, “can lights” are fitted with a trim ring that can be thin or thick. If you don’t have the correct trim ring for the way you use the kitchen, you might be wasting light. Changing a thick trim ring to a thinner one, or changing the can light to the adjustable “eyeball” type might be the solution for you. The eyeball type could be a big improvement if your desired work area is not directly under the fixture, because you could re-point the light cone there.

The cost to swap out a trim ring is usually low and the job takes only a few minutes, but replacing a can light with an eyeball light requires more effort. If you do the trim swap yourself, make sure your new rings are produced by the same company that manufactured the recessed can housing and that the trim is compatible with that specific “can.” You can get the manufacturer’s name and the model number by looking inside the can light.


So now you have five good options for improving kitchen lighting in your home or office. If you need any help with the one you choose, or if you want more ideas for a larger project, we are always available. Please contact us — we guarantee your satisfaction with our work.

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