The Best Lighting Ideas You Can Steal! (from me)

Hi Everyone,

This is a three-part post. (now FOUR parts!) I have not made a separate link to parts 3 and 4 because it gets too confusing, and part 2 is quite short.

If you have read Part 1, please click the link below to skip to Parts 2 and 3. If you’re landing here for the first time, please continue reading from the top.

 

Part 2 Begins Here

 

Hi Everyone,

For my Jewish readers, here’s wishing you a very healthy and sweet new year!

Before we get into the best lighting ideas you can steal from me, you can access a brief renovation update on the Renovation Diary post here.

The living room, den, and entry were relatively easy to figure out. We have already discussed the living room lighting here. 

 

However, the kitchen lighting has been a thorn in my paw for the last two years– at least, as you can see in this post from 2022.

 

Kitchen new floor September 5, 2023

 

I mean, the last thing I want is lighting that resembles what you see above. It looks like the room where they interrogate prisoners of war before waterboarding them.

 

Okay, let’s look at something very cool.

 

kitchen coming into focus

It’s like that scene in Titanic where the wreck turns into an elegant ballroom.

 

 

Kitchen superimposed over photo of demo

 

Don’t ask me how, but the rendering from six months ago fit perfectly into the photo I took recently.

 

The rendering was initially done by Susan Serra, a fantastic kitchen designer with her computer software. Then, I made a few changes and added the details on Picmonkey.

 

So, what’s the problem, Laurel? Your lighting ideas look great!

 

Well, that’s just the thing. I’m not 100% sure about them, and I can’t ask the architect who’s helping me. It’s not that he doesn’t know what he’s talking about. It’s just that this is an unusual situation.

 

Let’s look at the floor plan, and I’ll be able to better explain the options for the best lighting ideas.

 

my new kitchen floorplan

Right now, there’s the small six-arm chandelier. The architect centered it on the sink, but since the view is of the range wall and the range is now in the center of the space, I would center it on the range.

Currently (on the plans), there are three sconces on the sink wall.

 

There are also two sconces on the range wall underneath the hood.

 

range wall - pantry soapstone counter counter French hood with Victorian coving crown pantry and refrigerator on one wall new vent cover 3.8.23

I love them, but since there’s under-cabinet lighting over there, they are redundant. However, they might be nice if I don’t like putting on the under-cabinet lights or putting them on dim.

 

Hammersmith Philadelphia Carpenter's Hall Sconce
The ones I would do would be something like this. It’s called a Philadelphia Carpenter’s Hall Sconce. Hammersmith makes this one.

There is also a candle version. They aren’t made any longer, but a company named Homco made them in the 20th century. They can be found on eBay for from $50-$100 for a pair.

 

Let’s bring the floor plan down again to examine the best lighting ideas more closely.

 

my new kitchen floorplan

The chandelier will give off some good light. But, it will be a little darker by the fridge and the little wall adjacent to it. I’m also a little fearful there might be some shadows caused by the chandelier when it’s one.

 

So, I did what I always do when I need inspiration, in this case, for the best lighting ideas.

 

I got on Pinterest and looked at galley kitchens and butler’s pantries. Gosh, I could also look on this blog under those two links. Most gallies and pantries have two ceiling lights, either flush-mount or two hanging pendants.

A while back, we had looked at doing two milk glass pendants. As I recall, the consensus was that the two seemed  a little “busy.”

 

So, let’s look at the options for the best lighting for my new kitchen.

 

Best Lighting ideas for small kitchen

This is the original plan with the addition of one sconce on the right. Please note that these sconces must go quite high because of the glass door swing.

Number 2 has two pendant lights, not the one you’ve seen. I found one I like that’s 13.5″ in diameter and not expensive.

Lighting ideas for small kitchen #3

Best Lighting ideas for small kitchen #4

 

I think I like these best in reverse order from 4 to 1.

 

What do you think?

For Monday, I’ll respond to your ideas and answer any questions.

We’ll also touch on recessed downlights.

Gil Schafer - Sexy Square flangeless recessed downlights

Pretty sexy, huh? These are by Gil Schafer. The way I present the images, I will not discuss them at this time.

But, yes, those cool square holes in the ceiling are recessed downlights. There are so many fantastic options that are quite beautiful. You can find them at Visual Comfort in their Architectural Lighting Department.

I hope you enjoyed part 1 of my best lighting ideas. Maybe you have some better ones?

*********************************************************

Part 2 Begins Here

Hi Everyone,

This is a very short part 2. First, thank you so much for all the fantastic comments! You guys have some of the best lighting ideas!

I have answered some of them so that I won’t be repeating too much of that here. If I missed yours, it’s not because I didn’t like the comment.  I appreciate all of them!

 

But, Dar made an excellent point that I fully realized yesterday when I visited.

 

If I don’t put the black chandelier in the kitchen, it’s going in the entry, so there really can’t be two chandeliers.  It’s too much and would mean they all should be the same piece; otherwise, it’ll look odd.

Could I go without any ceiling fixtures in the kitchen? Yes, but then it means doing mostly recessed lighting and under-cabinet light on the range side. Of course, I could do two or three sconces on the sink side, ala Jean Stoffer. (below)

 

jean stoffer design instagram

 

Many of you will be relieved that I’ve decided to leave out the historic Philadelphia Carpenter’s Hall sconces on the range wall. As for getting dirty, I like them dirty. ;]

I’m leaving them off because they are redundant, and that money can be better spent elsewhere.

 

Okay, so where does this leave us?

 

Well, yesterday, I spent a good hour looking at dozens of DeVOL kitchens. Shaking my head. I get that they’re trying to recreate, at least, the feeling of a kitchen from 100 years ago.

 

However… Some, or all of these can’t be real working kitchens. In almost all of them, huge swaths of kitchen real estate would be so dim that it would be difficult to work in. It would be fine if it were a dining room, but two or three light sources in a 250 square kitchen make for insufficient lighting.

 

But, even this lovely little galley kitchen, below. Where are the freaking lights? (Other than over the range)

 

Georgian-apartment-Bath-DeVOL-Kitchens-Small-Kitchens

via DeVOL Kitchens

Maybe they only use this lovely during the day. That must be it.

 

But, as I believe, I said earlier. I think it’s quite possible that they photoshopped out the recessed lighting for the images. It’s super easy to do.

 

Still, I do love to have a touch of atmosphere in my lighting, even in the kitchen, however, with the option of being able to blast the space if necessary.

So, for my little galley (which is losing 13 inches in length), I think a combination of one lovely hanging piece, plus a few of those way cool recessed lights, and… well, you’ll have to wait until Wednesday morning to see what I’ve been working on.

 

Speaking of gorgeous hanging pieces. One of my pet peeves amongst hundreds with Google is that he shares dozens of images of exquisite fixtures that no longer exist.

 

In addition, he often doesn’t say so until one goes to the website. Sadistic freak. Over the past two years, I’ve seen so many exquisite fixtures under $1,500 that I would adore, but they aren’t available.

The only good thing about it is putting those images into Google Lens and maybe finding something like that elsewhere. Or, there might be more fabulous fixtures that are no longer for sale! haha.

Thanks again for all of your terrific comments! They were very helpful.

 

***************************************************

Hi, Everyone, and welcome to part 3 of this post on the best kitchen lighting.

 

But, before I show you what I’m 99% sure I should do, this is a gentle reminder for a few of you that this is an oooooold home built in 1880.

There is an inherent grandeur that will be there no matter what. And while I’m in no way a formal person, there are certain elements that will look silly here, such as anything super cottage-y.

There’s a post on this site about 19th c. Butler’s pantries. And, although mine is painted and most were not back then, my goal has been to give my kitchen the essence of a 19th c. butler’s pantry.

 

One other point I want to make, and I will probably have to say this several times.

 

If you are trying to irritate the crap out of me, use the term “aging in place.”

You are free to do so, but I am absolutely 100% NOT aging in place. It is fine if that’s what you’d like to do. I don’t even use the word aging. I don’t call myself a senior citizen, either.

My philosophy is this: I don’t ascribe 100% to the whole “what you manifest” thing. In this case, yes, if we tell ourselves we can’t do something because we’re too old, it’s too late, it’s too this, too that… then I guess it’s true.

 

But, what if we tell ourselves that we’re getting more youthful, vibrant, and healthier as time passes?

 

We all have our afflictions, but I refuse to be ruled by them. If I did, I’d be in bed all day long. Now, let’s see how that works out.

Still, I won’t pretend it doesn’t hurt when I walk up the hill. So??? It hurts. Thanks for letting me know. But, pain is not deadly; it’s only a symptom of our nervous system with a warning that we might be overdoing it. In my case, I know this pain is good for me. The associated discomfort from the exertion is helping to slow down the deterioration of my bouncy bones.

So, yes. I take the stairs and walk up and down Beacon Hill at least three times a week, sometimes more.

Please make no mistake: I can flop around like a rag.

Okay, end of sermon. We will now return to the topic of lighting, not deteriorating eyesight. I am not designing my home for someday that might never come. However, I’m also trying to make it comfortable, no matter my condition.

So, now, we’ve come full circle.

I was at the apartment today. And I looked closely at the current situation with the two chandeliers in the entry and kitchen.

 

First of all, I rarely notice the kitchen chandelier, and unless one is standing at least ten feet back, you can’t see both. But, who will stand in the middle of the living room staring at the light fixtures? And look what I’ve been living with?

BTW, I just got my new Bertazzoni fridge, mini fridge, kitchen sink, and Kohler Memoirs toilet, all within 24 hours.

The entry will once again have the Regency-style black and antique gold chandelier.

This is it. I thought I had a better pic of it, but I can’t find it, and it’s not on the Internet either. Pretty much, it’s going to blend into the wall mural.

 

For the kitchen, I would love to do one of these vintage milk glass chandeliers below.

 

Beautiful milk glass shades

However, I can’t because none of them are available. There are some other options.

 

So, coming up are two new lighting schematics with variations.

Lighting ideas for small kitchen #5 one sconce recessed lightsAbove, we have four square recessed lights and one sconce over the sink. There are no other sconces. There is under-cabinet lighting on the range side and soft, subtle lighting behind the glass doors.

I’m not 100% sure of the placement of the recessed lights. It depends on what type they are.

Lighting ideas for small kitchen #6 two sconces recessed lightsThis is supposed to say #6, but fine, it’s #56, lol. As you can see, we did two flanking sconces and now have only two downlights.

We will see the variations in the renderings.

 

kitchen render my new kitchen perspective milk glass pendant light Revival Lighting single Katie Sconce copy

I love this one, with the one sconce. This is plan #5.

The sconce is the lovely Small Katie Sconce from Visual Comfort. It comes in several finishes, and is an immensely versatile fixture.

 

Yes, the chandelier in the entry is there, camouflaged by the wall mural.

 

Please also remember that they’re way above eye level. This is why nothing can be selected in isolation. Decorating is not easy.

 

kitchen render my new kitchen perspective milk glass pendant light Revival Lighting 2 sconces

Above is plan #56 with two sconces and two recessed lights. I could live with either of these plans, but I think there’s something so charming about the single sconce over the single sink and faucet. Oh, and a single piece of art, too.

Incidentally, many of the DeVOL kitchens have two sconces flanking the sink. One thing I love about translucent shades with space all around them is that the light has a chance to bounce in every direction.

Laurel, did you get rid of the shelf?

 

Very observant! I did remove it for now because it was tripping me up.

 

Now, for some experimentation.

 

kitchen render my new kitchen perspective milk glass pendant light Revival Lighting single no sconce
What if we remove the sconces in favor of more downlights?

It’s not terrible, and many will like this one because this is what they’re used to seeing. That’s precisely why I don’t want it. It’s too contemporary for my 19th-century home.

 

Lighting single no kitchen chandelier

What if we eliminate the chandelier, as one or two of you suggested? This one also requires more downlights. Again, it’s not bad, and I’m sure some of you will prefer this because you’ll see it as less “busy.”

kitchen render my new kitchen perspective milk glass pendant one Katie sconce

However, I don’t find it busy; I think it’s beautifully layered white-on-white and full of vintage, neo-classical charm. Just now, the butler (a dead ringer for Hugh Jackman) ;] is going to emerge from behind the wall.

“Madame, I’ve just finished polishing all the silver; what time would you like tea served?”

Silver, what silver? When did that get delivered? ;]

Lighting ideas for small kitchen #5 one sconce recessed lights
Above is the same floor plan you saw earlier.

The last piece of this puzzle is looking at the other lighting in the adjacent rooms. It appears some folks forgot; not looking at the big picture is a mistake waiting to happen.

Parisian Fireplace Mantel - new fireplace wall rendering
There’s the repetition of the milk glass but in a new design.

 

Anglo-Indian Sconces black shell backplates

 

The Anglo-Indian sconces are also glass but clear or lightly tinted. Every fixture also has a continuation of organic forms, curves, and circles. And, while none of the pieces match, they speak the same language.

Okay, I think we’ve looked at my best lighting ideas. That is the best for me and my unique situation. Thank you for sharing yours!

In closing, yes, everything will be on a dimmer, and on multiple switches for greater flexibility. There are also several picture lights I’m using as sconces instead of the track lighting, in the living room.

I will be going over light bulbs in another post.

 

***********

 

September 21, 2023

Guys, some of the comments after Wednesday’s update were very interesting. No further comment, now. However I can see there will be more lighting posts in the not too distant future.

It’s a complex topic, made all the more difficult by the vast number of bulbs that can go in most fixtures, especially recessed downlights. There are wide beams, medium beams, and narrow spots. There are flood lights, and wall washers, all with varying size beams. I could keep going…

 

However, I have some great news.

 

Right after publishing, I must’ve put in a new keyword on eBay or something, because I found one of the chandeliers I had seen two years ago, but was sold.

 

Beautiful milk glass shades

It’s the one in the middle. So, I pondered it for about 24 hours and then got it last night.

 

Ebay ceiling lightKitchen Lighting for a small galley kitchen

Oh, I love this! I still have to get a holder kit for it, but that’s not too difficult.

Okay, I was still debating whether it should be one sconce or two sconces. With two sconces, I might be able to eliminate all of the recessed lighting.

I said, might. Please don’t argue with me.

Thank you. :]

I mean, this is not Yankee Stadium. Most of you have closets larger than this kitchen.

 

The chandelier, alone, will light up the entire kitchen.

 

However, that wouldn’t be very interesting or versatile enough. So, as it stands, there is also nearly six feet of under-cabinet lighting, the two sconces, and the soft, tasteful, dimmable lighting in the back cabinet.

Ala Minne Peters.

minnie peters tall-glass-cabinet-doors-flank-butlers-pantry

 

So, I realize I never did an updated rendering after the big kitchen design change last March.

 

Sink wall and pantry rendering with pocket doors and 18" dishwasher

Ahhh… Remember this design with the pantry and fridge facing each other, in front of the glass cabinet?

If the room were one foot wider, this would’ve been a lot better. However, being there’s only about 42″ between the two big cabinets, I felt after all, that it would feel a little congested in that area.

Anyway, I redid the sink wall today with the new chandelier.

First, I tried it with one sconce. It looked silly on the drawing.

Thank you for not gloating. ;]

Would it look silly when IN the kitchen? If it was up fairly high, I don’t think it would.

 

However, I tried it with two sconces.

 

Please note I didn’t spend time dolling it all up like I usually do.

 

My Kitchen - Sink Wall Design September 21,2023

I really like this! I love how the Katie sconce gives the feeling of a by-gone era without it being too fussy, and letting the gorgeous chandelier be the star of the lighting.

Incidentally, I found another shade earlier on Tuesday and it’s still available. I love this one too, and if I hadn’t found the one I got, would’ve gotten it.

 

But wait! Oh, no!

 

I forgot something important.


There, that’s better. ;] ;]

I need constant reminders!

xo,

 

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123 Responses

  1. I’m loving your kitchen and that mural is to die for.
    I’m having difficulty with lighting meaning light bulbs. How on earth do you know which LED light bulb to use? I find them too yellow or too blue or not bright enough. A lesson on bulbs is greatly appreciated.

  2. Oh please, aging in place does not mean focusing on getting old. It can, and should, mean making thoughtful decisions that include integrating items or features that would allow you to stay in your lovely home during that in-between time when knees and hips start to go (or some other limiting ailment) and being full on decrepit. Getting old is a gradual journey and I intend to enjoy every single minute of it in my dream home with my dream garden without me or my kids having to worry about my living situation. I am investing in my home, knowing I can enjoy it for a long, long time.

    It’s just one more set of items on the function side of design, just like 100’s of other decisions. If it is done correctly, nothing should be obvious.

  3. Robert Kime. He’d like your vibe. I just finished going through the 2 auction
    catalogues of his personal items from both UK and France houses. So many found treasures from all over.
    Whatever you do is going to reflect how you feel about the way you want to live. I bet he used ebay and etsy too :)) I love it all!

  4. Laurel, you have such gorgeous taste! And the training and eye for what works (and doesn’t). I adore what you’re doing and wish you still did client work. Would hire you in a second. And thanks for the education you provide. I studied some of this long ago But I so appreciate being reminded. Best of luck going forward with the reno. lighting is harder than anyone ever imagines!

  5. You just can’t go wrong with Visual Comfort for your sconces and /or recessed lighting. I worked for them during Furniture Market in High Point for over a decade and loved every minute of it. Did you ever come through in the C&D building? Love your posts.!
    PS: do you really need the shelf in the kitchen? It looks great without it.

  6. I have a feeling your last rendering may have shown your chandelier centered over the sink just so we could see how the chandelier and sconces look together, but I agree with Dan. Your chandelier is the centerpiece of your room, so it should be in the center of the ceiling, giving even light to the entire room. I wouldn’t worry what it lines up with on the walls. Unlike a rendering, when you are in a room, you can’t focus on the sink, the chandelier and the stove all at the same time. After studying all your drawings, I looked at my kitchen. My sink and stove are positioned almost exactly like yours and I have never realized or thought about the fact they don’t line up, because I can’t look at both of them at the same time. My ceiling light is in the center of the room which gives even light to all of the kitchen, which is its purpose. I would definitely keep the recessed lights on either end of the room. Proper placement of them will provide good task lighting to those areas and will eliminate any shadows from your chandelier, just as your under cabinet lights will. I like the two sconces over the sink. Having two sconces allows them to be lower than a single one over the picture and with two you’ll no longer need the two recessed lights on that wall. Mounting them on either side of the picture also looks more decorative and enhances the un-kitchen character of the room.

    1. Hi Susan and Dan,

      Yes, the chandelier will be centered in the room over the range. Like I said, the view I was depicting doesn’t exist because I would need to be standing a few feet into the next building, with no range wall to be able to see all of that. You know if I had put it a few inches over where it belongs, someone would’ve asked me why it wasn’t centered on the sink. haha.

      I do like the idea of the recessed lights being focused on the pantry and fridge cabinets.

  7. The recent elevation rendering of the sink has your new chandelier centered on the sink. Personally, considering the view from the LR, I would center it on the range ala plan #5 and use only two recessed somewhat tighter together than plan #5 where you have them centered on cabinets #9 and #18. If you pull the two recessed somewhat closer together, you may have better illumination of the work surfaces and inside your pantry. Maybe experiment with them centered on the inside wall of boxes 9 and 18 rather than on the cabinet doors? Hopefully that would eliminate any need for for than two.

  8. Laurel, I trust you to do the very best for your space. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts, sources, etc. for all of us who love your insights!! I’m not equipped to respond to your choices other than to say, I know what you decide will be the very best for your space, and will inform all the rest of us to your thinking and design process!

    Regarding your “aging in place” comments, THANK YOU so much for that sermon! I am several years older than you, but don’t feel “old”. Having observed some in my immediate family who focus on getting older, it seems to make them “older”! On the other hand, Iknow I am aging and will die in the Lord’s time, but I plan to keep active and as healthy and youthful as possible, and doing my yard work and house work and decorating, and playing with grandchildren, etc. as long as He gives me breath. If He chooses to take my strength, then that is His choice and I will have to find some help. I just love continuing to think “young” thoughts!

  9. Whew! A barrel of information. Jonathan Stone, #1 comment is the best. I’ve had 5 really great kichens, 3 were custom. Keep it simple and elegant. Light it well with 4 canned, dimmable lights and the white decorative chandelier. The down lights are mainly invisible except when you REALLY need good lighting, like trying read pt.6 instructions in a recipe or finding those little picks for the turkey. Looks fabulous. If you must have sconces, say no to clear globes at eye level (glare). Too restricting when you need light above your work.

  10. So beautiful!
    Stop overthink it.
    Chandelier and 4 can lights with a dimmer switch. Move in and if you need additional light over the sink do the artwork with art lighting of sorts with a dimmer switch.
    It will be beautiful no matter what you choose- as you have fabulous taste!!

    Congratulations on your project. I’m looking forward to doing a new build soon. Have the initial plan- with ideas!!

    Best,
    Jonathan

  11. Yes, you got it — with these 2 round sconces and where they are located. It’s like having 2 beautiful hanging pearl earrings and a necklace.

  12. It’s coming along so beautifully, Laurel. If you hadn’t already purchased the milkglass light for the kitchen, I would have suggested a similar design but in alabaster.

  13. Hi Laurel, I love how tenacious you are! Your research, patience and expertise are paying off. The last plan is exquisite! I notice a shelf with brass rail on the sink wall…where do you find one that is so long? Is this in the plan? Will you be discussing it? Thanks for years of great ideas. It is wonderful to read a blog from someone who is not swayed by trends…you are great!

  14. Oh Laurel, you’re a hoot. If you can’t find the EAT Pray Love signs, you can always fall back on Live Laugh Love.
    I’m so glad you find your chandelier. It’s beautiful. And I love the idea of the 2 sconces on your sink wall.

  15. Dear Laurel,
    I want to caution you about the bowl fixture you have chosen. I have dealt in antique lighting for years, and that shade you have chosen may not be Milk Glass, but have a frosted type finish over an opaque glass. The problem that can occur, if that is indeed the case with the frosted finish on old shades, is that dirt and soot become embedded in the finish and doesn’t seem to be removeable without damaging the finish. I would ask the seller if the glass is indeed milk glass, and not an applied finish. Lots of the old shades are indeed milk glass, but I do remember having this one with an original applied finish.

  16. Love the new milk glass light. One sconce just looks off. Two look better to the eye (in my opinion)!

    My mother had a smaller version of your new light hanging over her sink and I really would have liked to have it but alas it went with the sale of the house!

  17. So glad for you that you found the leaf shade for the kitchen. It is wonderful. Still chuckling at the “word art” in your last kitchen rendering…

  18. Hi Laurel,
    I really like the milk glass chandelier, one sconce over the sink and the under cabinet lighting with the two recessed lights, just as you have it. It gives you nice options of lighting for different times of day and the milk glass is perfect with the style of your kitchen. And that chandelier in the entry is going to look great with the wall mural. Lighting can be a real headache for most of us so this is great inspiration. Can’t wait to see pictures.

  19. Hello Laurel, I’ve enjoyed reading and seeing and understanding your design process, which is so much more difficult for one’s own self. I’m an interior designer, hire all of the trades/craftsmen on my jobs, and manage the projects. Of course, I’m very careful with my client’s projects, but for work for myself is almost torture! Interestingly, we’re waiting for our permit to begin an addition on our historic 1938 home where we’ve lived since 1980 in Denver. Our daughter, husband, young children, nanny, and cat moved here to live with us almost two years ago from the Bay Area. We’ve discussed this arrangement for several years. They have big careers and all of us living together has been wonderful. Although we’ll all still be living together, we’re adding an addition for my husband and me, which will essentially be an apartment. Our architect has gotten the design just right and will continue the Georgian architecture inside and out. I’ve planned a kitchen somewhat similar to yours with a beautiful stained island that opens to the living room, which will have a quiet Susan Harter (Are you familiar with her work?) “wallpaper” mural on one side and a bay window and French doors on the other side. There are so many possibilities that narrowing down the options is difficult. I congratulate you and look forward to how you finalize your lovely project and home!

  20. Take 2 sconces and call me in the morning… hehe.
    I love the pair of sconces with the little shelf above sink. Plus Katie or something overhead.
    more is more for me 🙂
    and I am with you, live for NOW.

  21. Hi Laurel,
    So fun to read, as always. I love the single sweet sconce over the sink, it’s just perfect! Do you have a plan for the lovely vintage chandelier that is coming out of the entry? Personally – I’m a crystal chandelier girl and feel you can (almost) never have too many!

  22. I have followed your incredible renovation with admiration and enjoyment. Thank-you for sharing your expertise and humor. My reaction to the kitchen lighting is to install the chandelier and one sconce above the sink. When looking into the kitchen, a single sconce provides a distinct shape, whereas, a second, farther sconce could give the visual illusion of a higher or lower shadow and distort the actual sconce form. Also, two sconces would provide peripheral lighting with a dimmer middle work area. And, depending on size, it seems like three fixtures would be overkill and guests would be so busy looking at the lighting that your gorgeous cabinetry would become background for it.

    Next, the square, recessed lighting seems too modern for the building and space, and I wonder whether it is a trend, rather than timeless. More importantly, I think the sharp angles would fight the round chandelier canopy and take away from the painstaking cohesiveness you are creating. Overall, I have no doubt you will make decisions that best reflect your desired outcome, and the finished product of your labor of love will be amazing.

  23. I’ve been doing some reading today about recessed lighting. I have a feeling you already know all this, but if not …. They recommend placing recessed down lights 12″ to 18″ away from any cabinets to illuminate counter areas.

    If a room has 8-foot high ceilings, recessed lighting should be spaced roughly 4 feet apart. Similarly, if the ceiling is 10 feet high, the lights should be spaced about 5 feet apart. This should help you determine if you need more than one on each end of the room, like RMDC suggests. Two might give more even lighting.

  24. I prefer two sconces…more light, more charm and likely fewer shadows as the single sconce will be above your head at the sink.

    1. Hi Brenda,

      Yes, maybe if the only lighting was a single sconce. However, that’s not the case. The sconce is over and in front of my head unless I decide to crawl into the sink. ;] In addition, there will be lights surrounding my head at all angles. lol

  25. Currently, working on my 1890 kitchen renovation, and really enjoy reading your renovation logic and ideas. Can’t wait until you discuss doors, hinges, and door knobs, hopefully from Rogue Valley Door.

    My suggestion is plan #5. A single sconce would not provide enough light for the adjacent counters. Chandelier on a dimmer, sconces on a second dimmer, and recessed on a third dimmer. My preference is for LeGrand Adorne or Radiant touch wireless dimmers and corresponding wallplates. For the recessed lights maybe the WAC Lighting Aether 3.5″ LED Square Flangeless model which does not need a trim plate. WAC also has the Ocularc LED Module – Driver Recessed, needing no housing. Halo and Lotus have the same, but with trim plates.

    One of the island lights being considered for me is the Bedford Neo-Classical Bowl at WaterGlassStudios.com. which might also work for you. Another consideration is the Recreated Victorian Rod Hung Ceiling Bowl Kit at VintageHardware.com.

    1. Hi Larry, the adjacent counters are getting recessed downlights, plus, there’s the ambient light from the ceiling fixture, and light from the range. There are eight sources of light for this small kitchen, including direct light on all work areas. But, thank you for the other information. I love the flangeless square recessed lights.

  26. I agree with you that recessed lighting often looks out of place in a historic home, especially one with nice molding. To me that combination often looks like a display in a museum with an utter disconnect between the walls and the ceiling. I will be interested in seeing how the small square ones work out. They are certainly less obtrusive.

    Speaking as a photographer, smaller light sources tend to diffuse light less, so you might have more defined shadows, even with multiple light sources and diffusion lens covers. Might not be that noticeable on a dimmer though.

    Sorry you had so much trouble finding a neoclassical milk glass pendant bowl light fixture. I love that style for a vintage house. What particular light fixture did you end up choosing?

    It has been an interesting journey to read about your apartment and the care you have taken with its renovation!

    1. Hi Kathy,

      Right after publishing, I found one on eBay that’s like the one with big leaf motif embossed on the bottom. I do need a hanger kit for it.

      As for the recessed lights, the options are in the thousands, these days. There are numerous sizes and “trims” that go in the inside of the can, we’ll call it. These control the size of the beam from wide to narrow and some control the direction, as well which is changeable.

      These are the things I’ll be discussing with my electrician, but if lighting design isn’t his thing, I’ll contact my architect. The thing with the flangeless recessed lights is I don’t have to turn them on, or they can go on as dim or bright as I need for any given situation.

  27. I like #5, #6 and #56 😃. I don’t think you can go wrong with any of those. Those light fixtures are beautiful and perfect for the space. As far as Hugh Jackman goes…I hear he is soon to be single. Perhaps he is looking for a butler job in Boston.

  28. Yes, the hanging milk glass or alabaster fixture is great style-wise, as is the VC sconce(s) over the counter. Whether to use two recessed lights over the sink counter, or not, …before becoming wedded to the recessed concept you should determine where the joists are and be sure the recessed lights can actually go where you prefer. The architectural recessed lights you love from Visual Comfort require a fairly large box that must be mounted between two joists. Many times you can simply move the light to accommodate the existing joists but there may be less leeway over the counter. Having great light over the sink counter is imperative. The architectural recessed lights are exceptionally nice and add a modern touch. A concern is having a constellation of them, especially if close together.

    1. Hi Dan,

      Excellent point. I did see those big boxes. It’s a completely different technology. I do not want more than four recessed lights! No constellations; couldn’t agree more. In my case, assuming the ceiling joists run the same way as the floor joists, they run perpendicular to the sink and range walls. I think that’ll be helpful as we can run the boxes anywhere along the counter, limited only by how far in or out they can go.

  29. Oh my, I Love your kitchen! Thanks for bringing us along for the ride as I am enjoying every step of the way! Perhaps reconsider the 2 sconces over the sink, allowing your single art piece to be the center of attention and adding more balance to that side of the kitchen as you removed the brass shelf, which was a good thing. Love the milk glass chandelier and agree with you to omit the Philadelphia sconces over the cooktop! Looking forward to seeing the finished look; but are we ever really finished when it comes to decorating? 🙂

    1. Hi Gina,

      Two sconces might be better. You know, I never did a wall elevation and I have to do that because it’s an important element. I might bring back the shelf; not sure. However, the perspective was never right on it and for the purposes of this exercise, I didn’t want to cloud it with the shelf.

  30. The black Regency chandelier, the gorgeous scenic wallpaper, the Hugh Jackman butler, all the milk glass fixtures, the tall glass-fronted cabinets, the pretty cutout vents, the curved cabinet at the kitchen opening! My mouth drops open at every part of this reno! Thanks for taking us along for the ride!

    1. Hi Laura,

      It sure has been a ride and it’s only just beginning. The electrician and plumber are coming next week and the framing is about to commence. Finally! Thank you for your kind words. I’m actually in a bit of a state of shock!

  31. Laurel,
    Your kitchen design is beyond stunning!!! Thank you for letting us share in the process. I love the single pendant above the sink, it will be functional and beautiful. You mentioned that the placement of down lights was not determined yet, but maybe consider having the back two straight across from each other in order to not detract from the lovely focal point lighting. The other thought I wanted to throw out there is I think the back right cabinet is a pantry. If so, had you considered having a plug and or a light put in there if your code allows it. That way you can hide and use the toaster or microwave in place of whatever is stashed in there.
    With your expertise, , we all know it is going to be beautifully done when completed. Enjoy!

    1. Hi Tracey,

      As RMCD pointed out, below or above your comment, the two sides of the room are not symmetrical to each other. I know it looks odd in plan view, and I would agree if the lights were at eye level, but they are going to be 10′-3″ off the floor. No one, not even me will ever notice that they don’t line up with each other. However, they might notice if the light is hitting the wall off-center to it’s cabinet.

      There is a method to my madness– usually.

  32. I love the single sconce over the sink, and the milk glass chandelier plus the other chandelier for the hallway. Here’s why: I live in a house where NOTHING is symmetrical. Nothing. I’m always trying to figure out how to ground space when opposite long walls are different lengths, doorways aren’t centered in their walls, don’t match up with opposite walls (think open doorway that doesn’t line up with the fireplace on the opposite wall — which itself is not centered on its wall, etc.) You’ve got lovely symmetry on each wall in your kitchen, and it adds up to a lovely symmetrical feel, but your sink and stove appear to be slightly off center from each other, and one long wall is of necessity longer than the other. So that one gorgeous statement chandelier in the middle grounds it all — two smaller chandeliers or pendants would be fighting it out over what to line up with. And if you’re only having one chandelier, then there is a symmetry of sorts in having only the one sconce on the sink wall — again, grounding that wall, and repeating the “pattern” of one. If you were doing two chandeliers/pendants, then I’d say two sconces; but one and one is such a clean and look — they reinforce each other. As for the recessed ceiling lights: I hate ’em too, but put them in my new kitchen — even with my painstakingly chosen fixtures, there simply wouldn’t be enough light without them. Having bitten that bullet, may I suggest that you actually consider having 2 more than you’re showing in lighting plan 5? I’m assuming you’ll be using small diameter [or whatever the square equivalent of diameter is…I failed geometry 🙂 ], and after trying to get away with as few as possible I discovered that they don’t throw light as widely as we think they will, and they can throw funny shadows if there are too few of them. I’m not sure how to explain this, but if you did 4 recessed lights in the open part of the ceiling instead of 2, in a sort of a pattern like the dots for the number five on dice — four recessed as corners of a square with the chandelier in the middle? Also, fwiw: the electrician who did my kitchen had to special order recessed lights in 2700k — the default was 3000k and my project manager would have just gone ahead and had the electrician put those in if I hadn’t spoken up. The picture you showed of the hallway chandelier is to die for!

    1. Hi RMCD,

      Oh, I like your thinking! It’s like the earth and the moon! Eight years ago, I was at a client’s home. They never discussed lighting with me. Well, coincidentally, when I was there with my installer to hang the drapes, (after everything else had been delivered) the electricians were there with I don’t know how many big boxes FILLED with LED light bulbs. I’m guessing they were at least 5,000 Kelvins. When they turned them on, it looked like Walmart in their beautiful living room!

  33. With every reiteration, your kitchen gets better and better. I love following how your mind works and it helps encourage me to evolve and change. You and I are the same age and yea, there is no way I’m going to let stereotypes of old people interfere with my desire to have an incredible home sans grab bars. I know you were resistant to recessed lighting, but I agree that it might be the best look. As for lightbulbs, you will be pleasantly surprised. I will allow you to do the research for me, as I’m sure you will find something that I had no idea existed. Your home is going to be stunning!

  34. Hi, Laurel!

    Congratulations on Christmas in September…how fun to get all your new fixtures so fast! 🥳🥳🥳

    I’ve been looking and reading all the posts and comments, and keeping mum bc I’m no lighting expert (I just hate daylight bulbs & florescent lights, but you aren’t doing those, of course!)

    But I see exactly what you mean about the front hall fixture & the kitchen center fixture, and in your current renderings, I love them. They do not clash, bc they each belong to their own sphere, and it is perfectly lovely!

    With regard to the sconces, I like 2 above the sink, bc combined with the center fixture in the rendering #56, the trio of lights seems “right”. Only one sconce looks lonely, but as you say, no one will be standing there looking from that angle very often, if at all, so what looks right facing the sink will make the most sense.

    And though I don’t have them, my mom installed under cabinet lights and absolutely loves them, and her kitchen always looks inviting bc of them.

    On “A-i-P”….why is it that we never call costly gems or creations from the past anything but valuable? Could it be we need to re-visit the beauties of maturity? I certainly don’t want to go back to any time in my past. I like where I am, with the good and bad having made me who I am today. Maturity has made me more fully human, not less. Thank you for not only educating all of us on design, but also on perspective. You are truly a gifted teacher! 😉

    Happy Fall!

  35. Laurel, I’ve left comments before but this is my first question and I hope it’s not ridiculous.
    I have a lampshade question. I have a lovely black gold-lined shade on a lamp near my window.
    I have an inside of an eggshell gray on the wall facing the lamp with a rather large oil painting
    hanging on it. I am not going to “light” the painting. I have two sconces I’d like to flank it with
    and I purchased simple white shades (linen) to flank it. I purchased white shades because the painting is greens and blues (Impressionist, French landscape) and I didn’t want the shades to eclipse the painting. I need a small sconce nearby so I purchased a simple one with a white shade with a black “ribbon” around the bottom. Is mixing shade colors OK? I’ve seen it both ways and it works for me when they are mixed but I very much value your opinion. Thanks so much in advance~! xox Carol

  36. Bravo! I love #5. It is classy and functional but not too modern. The milk glass pendant and fixture are beautiful together and fit the character of the kitchen and the period of your home. Your lighting will make your kitchen a joy to work in but none of it will be begging for attention. Next, you might become a master chef because you love being in your kitchen so much! Your un-kitchen is all coming together. I’m amazed how the chandelier you chose for the foyer disappears into the wallpaper. It’s genius, but why am I surprised? I’ve learned to never doubt you. Your attention to details is what will make your home a masterpiece. It might end up being featured in a magazine like those of the masters you admire. I hope you took plenty of “before” photos.

  37. Hi Laurel. When I saw plan #56 aka 6, my immediate reaction was love. Then you showed all the lighting plans and their renders and that clinched it for me. Did you notice in plan #5, the single light, picture and faucet neck are all in a vertical row?

    Looking at the fireplace photo, #6 makes even more sense to me. It is elegant and balanced, and will not inspire anyone with a quirky eye to noticed the vertical alignment of the fixtures insinuated with one sconce. The repetition of two sconces and a chandelier in both places just feels right. The eye just flows over the spaces and it feels good.

    They all look lovely, and I’m sure whichever you choose will be stunning.

    All the best,
    Anne

  38. Just read your posts and of course running out the door! I just have to let you know that I completely feel that beautiful design is about layering and interest. Your lighting plan addresses task, ambient and overall lighting in a beautiful way! The colors and finishes look beautiful and most importantly you love it! You go Laurel!!

  39. I must say all the renderings in this post are beautiful. I love listening to your thinking process. I found the thinking about formality to be very interesting. I have to keep that in mind. I’m curious if you would ever consider a post on formal vs less formal design items. Can less formal still be classic?

  40. Coming together so beautifully. Number 6 seems the most balanced to my not-professional eye, especially if I try to visualize an elevation of the sink wall. Gives a pair of sconces for symmetry, and then from the living room view, you get a pleasing odd number of 3 visible fixtures.

  41. I read through the comments and was somewhat surprised to see such variation in the responses. When I saw the #5 plan, I thought, this is it! I love the single sconce over the sink. I think it looks elegant, and adds a touch of flair when seen from the living room with the glass doors as a backdrop. I didn’t think anyone would think otherwise. Guess I was wrong.

  42. Love plan 5. The balance is perfect. I love the white in the chandelier and single sconce. It blends beautifully with the glass front cabinets. Two sconces would have been overdone. No sconce felt naked. This is elegant. The best part will be Hugh Jackman serving tea! 😉

  43. Love your kitchen Laurel and Thank you for taking us through your journey. Lovely timeless design. Happy to see that your passion for life in a beautiful space eliminates the “ aging” aspect. 100% with you on that! In case if you count the votes 🙂, I like your 2 sconce option with the chandelier centered with the sink. I think that will give you that repetition from your great room on a smaller scale and will balance that wall. Look forward seeing the final result!

  44. Regarding plug strip under the cabinet to avoid plugs in your backsplash. The upper strip worked beautifully in my old kitchen with inherited dark mottled granite backsplash. I did it again in my new kitchen with a light backsplash and UGH, now black toaster cord hangs down screaming at me. Given the vast array of light switch and plate colors and textures to help it disappair, wish I had gone with in-the wall.

    Also, when you are researching, check out the American Medicial Association opinion on color temperature. Not just a matter of aesthetics, but potential adverse impact on circadian rhythms and therefore human health.

  45. When we remodeled our kitchen, I wanted to avoid wall outlets interfering with my backsplash. I had all outlets installed under my cabinets. So happy I did! I was working as a consultant at a custom, tile, granite and marble business, at the time. It would break my heart, when clients came in to show me pictures of their finished kitchen with those clunky (non-matching) outlets breaking up the pattern on a $$$ backsplash. I am LOVING following your journey to the perfect home!

  46. Hi Laurel,
    As always, your ideas are spot on and beautiful! I have learned so much by reading your blog.
    Sorry to be a late commenter, but I wanted to put my two cents in. I know you love Gustavian and neoclassicism, but I think your floor gives your kitchen a bit of a French flair, so maybe a simple Parisian (if there is such a thing!) small chandelier. I find lighting to be one of the hardest things I do- don’t want matchy-matchy, but it must work together- always a challenge.
    There’s a pendant that I think is so pretty and would blend with whatever milkglass and brass sconces you chose that is on the Lumens website called Fior Di Pizzo -it is white pierced with antique gold in 3 different sizes. I know it’s a downlight which may not be appropriate, but I think it would still have charm but not compete with that beautiful black and brass chandelier nearby. Just an idea! Again, LOVE your work and always look forward to seeing your progress on your beautiful Boston apartment!
    Thanks for sharing with us,
    Dee-Dee

  47. Great post and close to my heart, as I want to completely renovate the lighting in my kitchen — everything else is fine. Two questions, however: 1) you have talked all about location and hardware but, as far as I can tell, not a word about the bulbs. The bulbs are key to the light cast by the lighting and it makes a huge difference in the ambience. I have low-voltage halogen, which creates a beatiful light, but they are hot and, alas, were improperly installed. I am looking for the same ambience without the finickyness. Second question: you are going with a gas stove? I had a gas stove for years, but switched to induction two years ago and will never go back.

    1. Hi Arquatus,

      You are so right. I am going to be researching bulbs and experiment with which ones will work best for me, and of course reporting back with my findings. The technology is changing so fast and the options have grown exponentially! I could most likely write a month of blog posts about light bulbs, alone!!!

      Re: stove. No, I am not doing gas because I am not allowed to run a line to my unit. It’s not going to be induction, either. Oh, I know. I’m going to get massive amounts of push-back. However, I’m getting the new-ish radiant electric with convection oven from Bertazzonni.

      I can’t wait. The fridge arrived this morning!

      I’m thrilled there will be a glass top. So easy to clean, and great-looking, too. Plus, with the 10% discount I got it is very reasonably priced for a high-end range.

  48. Your renderings are stunning. I would forget the sconces too. I would love to see the floor lightened a bit. For me, it’s a bit distracting. It’s beautiful but would love to see a lighter shade. Not too light.

  49. I would put hidden strip led light strips on top of your upper cabinets and under the lower cabinets, as well as motion activated strip lights under kick plates. The up lights are great for bringing light to dark spaces and the motion activated floor lights are smart for aging eyes/aging in place. You can get warm lights, and use small amounts to create the effect of a hidden “candle”.

    1. Strip lights? Like an airplane? 😂

      The cabinets will be built up to the ceiling culminating with a Victorian style crown— a baby version of what’s in the living room.

      I am not aging in place.

      Since there is no one to care for me, If I become so decrepit that I need floor lights to find the kitchen, I’m going into a nursing home.

  50. Your kitchen is going to be simply beautiful and worth the wait! Because the kitchen is seen from the living area I would vote for the chandelier and put sconces in the entry for light. I’m not sure if you said there is room in the entry for a table but that would offer lighting via a lamp. I have been fascinated by your attention to even the smallest measurements along with the architectural detailing you have explored. You are a great designer Laurel!

    1. Hi Sharon,

      I would love a table or sconces in the entry, but it’s only 4′-8″ wide by 6’6″ long, with a three-foot door that swings into the wall opposite the closet. So, a chandelier, it is. Fortunately, you can’t see both chandeliers from any point at the same time because of the walls.

      What I have now is a small vintage crystal chandelier in the entry, and an odd contemporary piece in the kitchen.

  51. My 2 cents: I would say #4 with changes:

    1) yes, the main light — the chandelier — in the middle;
    2) downlights like Gil’s instead of sconces by the sink
    3) under cabinet lighting by the stove (not sconces)
    4) no need for light by the fridge

    I think there are too many hanging lights in the small space and your kitchen is already very pretty. Like they say, “less is more”. The chandelier, the jewelry.

    Anyway, I believe whatever you decide will turn out fine!

    Thank you for letting us join in your wonderful journey and letting us dream with you.

  52. I hope you live forever, to enjoy your wonderful creation! Just tossing this in: as we get older, most of us need more light to see as well as before. It’s easy to underestimate the importance of this if it doesn’t apply to you yet. So along with the great choices about placement and appearance, I would encourage you to have more/brighter light than standard guidelines would suggest, and as few shadows as possible. You can leave some off, or dim them, but IMO if you like to cook even a little bit, you’ll be happy to have brilliant light to do it in.

  53. (I’m not good at visualizing in 3D, so take this fwiw.) The plans with many sconces feel too busy to me, the way overly elaborate earrings distract the eye from a statement necklace. The sconce near the fridge seems unnecessary, since the fridge has an interior light. So I like #2 best, and I would even consider replacing the one sconce with a recessed light.

  54. I prefer #4. I like a recessed over sink. Have dimmers on sconces by sink area – we have those and turn them low in the evening so if you enter the kitchen you can see, but it is warm and cozy. Recessed aren’t always attractive but they are great for practical light. No sconces on stove area – hood probably has lights built in for cooking.

  55. I think the sconces by the range will be beautiful, but I agree with the other “cooks” about the horror they would be for anyone who cooks, so if you ever have an eye toward resale, I would skip them unless you are not putting tile on the backsplash or are going to save extra tiles for the repair. Also, at your advice, I added a table lamp to my kitchen, which I adore. Where is yours in your new design??? Just sayin’ . . . . 😎

    1. Hi Susan,

      Well, with this configuration the only place might be flanking the range instead of sconces, but it’s a little tight. On the other side, there’s a sink in the middle of two counters about 42″ each. However, I need to allow 19″ to get the left side door open. Plus I am still thinking of doing the little shelf. So, there isn’t the opportunity. However, sconces act a lot like table lamps do on a kitchen counter.

  56. no. 4 with the addition of one recessed light directly over the sink where it is always needed.

    under cabinet lighting wherever it can be logically fit in.

    except for one caveat: those sconces next to the stove are going to be problematic. I understand that you do not cook a lot, but even so, they will be a pain to clean. something much simpler needs to take their place

  57. A bit of humor. I have a dear friend with a lovely home but she never cooks. She eats out, has delivery or snacks. When I commented on her beautiful kitchen her reply was “It is, isn’t it. It came with the house”.

  58. Lighting Plan #4 and #1
    as long as you’re on dimmers to enhance atmosphere – should be two or three separate lighting zones with their own controllers…
    Lookin’ good so far…

  59. You have been my guru on lighting being essential to good design. In our home we have brought in more lights lower down, in corners and throughout the room. We have made it warmer, dimmable and focussed it to reduce glare and remove unwanted shadows. As well we have focussed lighting at time to increase drama or better perform tasks. Because the kitchen is central to our living, we tend to keep the warm, recessed under-cabinet lights which are on a searate switch on most of the time. This facilitates stepping from our cozy living room to grab a snack or a glass or puting an item in the diswasher without stepping into a brighter room. We also have several overhead lights that brighten the kitchen area but seldom use them, preferring the under-cabinet lights. Yes, the one above the sink is a Godsend. Spreading the lighting out to get better coverage and reduce shadows is a good idea, as is dimmables. Not sure if the recessed downlights reduce shadows but likely will light the corners well. Keep the 2 stove sconces if you like them, they are nice. Lastly, I think Plan 2 is best and enhances a beautiful design.

  60. I’m another vote for #2, at least based on the floor plan (I know it could look quite different in real life or even a mockup). But the balance of the two ceiling lights feels better in the long space, both aesthetically and practically.

  61. I like #4 the best. It appears you will be entering the room by rounding the corner into the galley. Given this approach, having one large chandelier centered between the two long walls will make for a great statement. If you have two smaller ones as you enter you will see one first then the other and that might appear to be out of alignment at first which would take away from a top notch first impression of the room. You have plenty of other lighting so I wouldn’t worry a small shadow. I’m sure the range hood has a light so that will take care of that. As for sconces on either side of the range, I do like the way that looks but I get comments about keeping it clean. If you have a super powerful range hood that could mitigate that issue. Another thing you could do is remove the glass from the sconces so at least you wouldn’t have the glass to clean. I did that with a light fixture on a lanai because it was becoming a graveyard for flies. Problem solved.

    1. Hi Dar,

      You are so right! And, there’s another problem. There’s a ceiling light in the entry a few feet away. So, while two ceiling lights sounds like the right thing to do in theory, when standing in the space as I did yesterday, I realized, no way should there be two ceiling lights, unless very close to the ceiling. However, I don’t want that, either.

  62. After many years of reading your blog, I know you’re not normally a fan of recessed down lights. However, your final comment gives me hope that you might consider them in your kitchen. I did them (very strategically and judiciously) in my kitchen in my 1911 house. I loved them. I had one over the sink, and one over each workspace. Only four in total in a much larger kitchen than yours. I also had two beautiful antique school house semi flush mounts on the ceiling and sconces flanking the stove. Based on your sage advice, I had both task lighting and ambient light. I had the down lights on a dimmer. Their placement insured that I always had excellent light with no shadows. When I had them off, and just had the ceiling lights and the sconces on, the kitchen looked lovely, but it was not comfortable for working in. Mind you I like bright light when I’m cooking.
    One other consideration is that sconces flaking the stove get greasy. Especially when they are as close and low as yours. The ones you’ve chosen with the mirror backing, although lovely, may show the grease easily and be finicky to clean.
    I’m really enjoying watching your process. Good luck with the final plan to keep the updates coming.

  63. For what it’s worth, I think that #2 would offer the best lighting. With only one ceiling light in the others, I am afraid a shadow would be cast when you are working at the stove. your kitchen is going to be lovely, and I have enjoyed reading about all of the steps you have taken to create it!

    1. Hi Penny,

      The light will be way over my head but never far from it, that it should make shadows. I am thinking, like in the summer when the sun is almost directly over head. Besides, there will be lights under the hood and flanking cabinets. The current centered light doesn’t make shadows. However, it does make me nauseous. lol

  64. Wall #3 issue: Remember to align pendant(s) with the vertical line where cabinets meet. In your “photo” there is non-alignment; that would drive you nuts.

    1. Hi Camilla,

      It sounds like you missed the part that said I think the center light might be better centered on the range side. However, we also have vertical lines on the sink side as there are lower cabinets, a sink that’s centered and I’m planning on doing panel moulding on the wall.

      This is the problem. However, I think I’ve worked it out. One thing we all need to remember is this is a high ceiling and any ceiling lights are going to be above the line of vision. I find in cases such as that, the centering is not as important as when the lighting is at eye level or just above.

  65. Light Plan #2. Not only for aesthetic balance but also when working you don’t want the light only behind you (think bathroom mirror frustration).

  66. I’m torn between #2 and #4 but with some modifications for either of them. I prefer having two chandeliers because they balance the room better and you’d have less shadows. Using two, you aren’t trying to line up with either the stove or the sink. If you do #4, I would center the chandelier in the room, so actually it would line up with the stove. Having it centered, distributes the light evenly in the room.
    With either plan, I’d consider using recessed lighting over the glass fronted cabinet and maybe also add them at the other end of the room by the refrigerator if doing #4, with two ceiling lights (#2), you probably don’t need them there. Using recessed lights, you also don’t have to worry about them clearing the doors. They’d give great lighting without being obtrusive. The main problem I have is with the light over the sink. The sink light seems to detract from the chandelier and it looks very industrial. Mixing the two styles looks like you can’t decide if you want the lighting in the kitchen to be functional or elegant. It also seems to be too high. I think I’d prefer a pretty brass picture. If you stay with the style you have chosen, lowering it on the wall would make it more of a task light. Then your eye wouldn’t be drawn to both it and the chandelier at the same time. Another option would be to use the recessed lights above the sink, too. Then the only light your eyes are drawn to is the beautiful chandelier. I agree with others, the sconces by the stove aren’t necessary, since you have under cabinet lighting and probably one in the range hood, too. They put the light where you need it. The ceiling light is just for show.

  67. Hi Laurel. From what I have observed watching this renovation unfold is that you seem to like symmetry. You’ve done a beautiful job achieving that with the cabinetry. I also like symmetry when the space allows. I am drawn to Option 2 because I love how the lights are balanced in the space. It is a small space with a lot of beautiful details.

    While I love the fixture you have over the sink, it will be very close to the pendants or chandelier. Perhaps two lovely pendants or small chandeliers in the open area and a recessed light over the sink would be enough. In a smaller space, recessed lights can provide the brightness without detracting from the other details.

    I do love under-cabinet lighting. I finally did my own kitchen last year, and am so happy I added them. I chose not to make them dimmable and I do not regret my decision.

    I’m sure whatever you decide will work in the space. Good luck!

  68. I’m for #2 also. The sconce by the refrigerator looks odd though I might like it in another rendering.
    I understand we’re talking lighting now but I’ve been needing to say this. Your entire home design is gorgeous and magazine worthy. I’d love to live there and soak it all in every day! I recognize that you’re at a different place in life than I. However, for me, aging, with arthritic hands and hoping to stay for life, I unfortunately have to be practical. For example, I can not use knobs on drawers and cabinets. I could not use your bolts though I understand their purpose. I do a lot of sautéing and stir frying in oil. Hubby does a weekend breakfast of bacon and eggs for us. No matter the working hood, pan or tools used, everything in the room gets a light grease residue. I can’t imagine having to clean mirrored sconces, hanging pots, chandeliers, a painting and glass cabinets. Actually I can. I have two small top glass cabinets, several antique pitchers, plates and a painting on display on open shelves. I have hanging glass pendants over the island. I am reluctantly thinking of removing the open shelves. I am simply no longer able to do the room justice and it’s been hard to hire someone who would be willing to clean it thoroughly.

    I’ll just have to live vicariously through yours! Isn’t that what blogs are for? 🙂

  69. I can’t decide on any of these plans but will offer this — under cabinet lighting is really very very useful. It does not get in your eyes nor does it cast shadows on your work space but lights up counter tops so nicely and makes using the kitchen very nice. Without under cabinet lighting, the overhead light casts shadows on my range top which I find irritating. I would not put sconces over the stove because of how often they would need to be taken apart and cleaned — but I typically cook at least two meals every day — but the under cab lighting on either side should light up the surface nicely. You have probably already thought about the shadows from the chandelier when working in the kitchen — your body will cast a shadow on the work areas which needs to be countered by sconces or under cabinet lighting. It is so very interesting to read all your thoughts as you take us through your renovation. It is educational and inspiring and I can’t wait to read your updates.

  70. You created great options. I think it looks odd to have the scones higher than the chandelier. Could they go lower in any of the options? I also think the sconce alone on the small end wall looks odd. I would love to see the pendant lights you are picking.

  71. I really love #2. It feels the most balanced to me. A light directly over the sink would be a priority for me. This is probably the light I use the most for task specific lighting in my kitchen for what that’s worth. I cannot wait to see the finished renovation. Thank you for including us on your journey!

  72. Plan 4 works best if you lose the pendant over the refrigerator and add the recessed lighting ala GS. We used them in our renovation and are so thankful; you will be too especially since there are no windows in your kitchen. I promise you will use them way more often than you can imagine.

  73. Happy New Year! Hope it brings much happiness and a stunning new home.

    I’m with you on #4. Two pendants seem busy; three sconces on the sink wall seem busy too. Wish I could see how the sconce near the frig really looks?? Not keen on recessed ceiling lights, but the one you show is the best I’ve ever seen.

    Completely trust your decision and many thanks for sharing your thoughts and the process with us. Most fun I’ve had in years!

  74. I wish I could offer some advice but kitchen lighting is one area that I have no expertise. And my new kitchen proves it. My contractor tried to convince me I needed recessed lights & I said “absolutely not”. Those are my least favorite of all lighting options.
    My kitchen is small. I went with 4 sconces & an overhead light that’s centered to the room. Most of the time the lighting is sufficient. But there are times I wish the space was brighter. If I had known about Visual Comfort’s small version of recessed lights, I would have had those installed also.

  75. My first thought is that your kitchen is such a jewel box with the cabinetry and millwork and hardware that I don’t want the lighting to be the only thing that I notice. I suggest doing some of those ceiling inset lights like in the photo you showed for the overhead and not have a chandelier. Then do a pendant (s) over the sink and sconces elsewhere. Let your chandeliers be in the foyer and in the living and dining areas.

  76. I like number 2. I love the idea of sconces over the stove but Im a messy cook so the idea of cleaning them would drive me crazy. Do you consider foot candles/lumens when figuring out lighting?

  77. The lighting choices are beautiful. I like rendering no 3 best, and then no 2. Having two lights over the sink too closely mirrors the two sconces over stove and looks contrived. Like you’ve chosen symmetry over task. I think one light over sink looks good while also being functional. (I’ve often seen articulating cone shaped lighting over sink—which may be interesting too!). The option with the two chandeliers is unexpected. It may also give the impression of having a longer length “and bigger” kitchen or it may look like too much of a good thing. Hard to make that call. I’ve not seen sconces over stove in person. I like the look and mostly the function. I use my hood light when cooking and it’s like cooking under stadium lights. I Would love to have sconces.

  78. I like # 4 (without the sconce on the right).
    I’m not a big fan of using overhead lighting and # 4 has lots of ways to have different levels of light.
    I only use my overhead lights when cleaning.

  79. I would consider adjusting plan 3. Ceiling light centered to stove not sink. Eliminate the sconce near fridge/little wall. I prefer a single light over sink to reduce the matchiness/busyness of 2 by stove and 2 by sink. To help with enough light while working in kitchen, I would add a dimmer to chandelier & play with led 3000 – 3500k bulbs and ramp up the wattage until bright enough for you. Make sure you can return bulbs as it is possible to light it up like a runway!

    1. Hi Ann,

      Oh, I know. I prefer 2700 kelvins at not any higher. But, there’s the factor of Lumens, as well. Whatever, I prefer warm lighting that holds its color when dimmed.

  80. Hi Laurel,

    I vote for plan number 2. Not centered over anything and I think it will give you great light. Most of the time overhead lighting is likely what you will use. I agree with Louise that the sconce sticking out might get a bit irritating. Good luck with the discernment.

  81. My preference is #2. Mostly because of the 2 ceiling lights and therefore not needing the one at the fridge.
    However I am not keen on the sconce over the sink. It detracts from the ceiling lights. Unfortunately I also do not like the sconces at the stove, again they detract from the fabulous look of the stove, they are too busy and fussy, (in my opinion).
    If you could include a couple (or 3) of those itsy bitsy downlights over your sink wall and one at your fridge you could get away with just one ceiling light.
    I’m not loving the one ceiling light you have chosen, would love to see the other one that you mentioned.
    Otherwise, love everything else in your kitchen, especially cabinets, millwork, floor and counters.

  82. So many factors! In thinking about my own kitchen, I am finding the best layout also depends on the fixture type and shade/globe types. And which fixtures are doing the “heavy lifting,” and which are mainly eye candy! If your sconces have metal shades versus glass (clear or opaque) for instance. If metal, light only is directed down for task lighting, whereas glass allows some to go up and reflect off ceiling to add some ambient effect. And how does that “play” with the chandelier(s)? So you might get away with fewer fixtures depending on how they put out their light. Such a challenge! Fun to go along for the ride with you.

    1. Hi Kristi,

      For that very reason, I usually prefer shades that are translucent, and next,is transparent. The new LED bulbs don’t even need a shade, so that makes a clear shade, or no shade doable.

  83. I absolutely love everything about your kitchen with the exception of the sconce over the sink. I find the height of it on the wall a bit jarring. Could you do a slim, horizontal, brass picture light in its place over the panel with artwork?

  84. Hi Laurel – your reno posts are my favourite. I love the way your place is shaping up, even if it is running slightly behind (don’t they always!), and watching your reasoning unfold makes me feel more normal. 🙂 I think you’re right to spend so much thinking time on the lighting. We are having to rethink ours mid project. Our kitchen run is part galley and part open to the dining room. At the galley end there’s a run of just over six feet that has no window. It’s too late to add a window but so dark that even with two ceiling fixtures on the kitchen run I’m ditching the idea of counter space down there in favour of a storage galley. That will work for us, and thanks for the reminder to add under-upper lighting at the working end. Kitchen lighting is a make or breaker.

  85. I’m really loving lighting plan #2. It just looks really clean and updated. I just redid my kitchen last year and the lighting was the toughest decision. Not sure why, but now that it’s done I love it. Good luck!

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