Do you have a kitchen with 8-foot ceilings? Changing the height of your ceiling is not an option, but you CAN give your kitchen an updated look by updating the light fixtures. Even if the ceilings are at the low end of the normal range, eight feet, lights can make any room feel light and open.
Recessed lighting is a very popular light source for a kitchen, and it works well in rooms with lower ceilings. But if you’re looking for something to give your kitchen an updated feeling, recessed lights aren’t enough. Can lights are a great way to get a lot of light, but they don’t add style. So let’s look at some kitchen lighting ideas that can make a big difference in a kitchen with low ceiling height.
Types of Lighting In a Kitchen
What types of light can you use in a kitchen? There are there main types of light in all kitchens: task lights, ambient light and accent lighting.
Task lights are directional lights and shed light on a specific area, like a countertop, cooktop or sink area. Ambient lights are more general and light up the whole space. Accent lights usually highlight a certain feature.
Most kitchens have recessed lights as the ambient lighting. Pendant lighting and under-cabinet lights can be used for task lighting. Accent lights are more like a wall sconce or sconces over shelving, interior cabinet lights or chandeliers.
Use All Three Light Sources
If your kitchen ceilings are standard 8-foot ceilings, which was common in houses from the 50s to the 80s, a good rule of thumb is to use of all three sources of light. Here are possible lighting combinations you can use to meet your lighting needs in a kitchen:
- Recessed lights (ambient), pendants over a counter, island or sink and under-cabinet lighting (task)
- Recessed lights (ambient), wall sconces (accent) and a pendants over the sink or island (task)
- Recessed lights (ambient), wall sconces (accent) and under-cabinet lighting (task)
- Recessed lights (ambient), a floor lamp or a table lamp (accent) and pendants (task)
- Track lights (ambient), pendants and under counter-lights (task)
Layering the light makes a kitchen lighter and gives the appearance of being larger.
Here are two examples of kitchens with 8-foot ceilings where they have used at least three types of lights. . Even this small space has three light sources. The recessed lights are ambient lighting, and there are pendant lights and under-cabinet lights for task lighting in the work areas.
As these pictures help illustrate, it’s even more important when you have lower ceilings because the lights help to lift your eye giving the illusion of more space. Both of these have used pendants, recessed lights and under-counter lights.
Now that you have an idea of what types of lights you need, here are 4 ideas for how to update lighting in ways that work better with lower ceilings.
1. Replace Fluorescent Lights
If your kitchen space has any kind of light that has a fluorescent tube, replace it. This will make a big impact on how your kitchen feels. These are outdated.
This type of light was installed frequently in kitchens because it puts out a lot of light, but it has had its day.
2. Use Flush Ceiling Lights
There are more modern light sources that can make a design statement in your kitchen. Here are my favorite flush mount lights and semi-flush mount lights that can be used instead of recessed lights. You can even swap out existing recessed lights without an electrician using a conversion kit.
- AFX wide flat brass light – This pendant light comes in two finishes.
- Crawford flush mount – This comes in brass, nickel and bronze
- All Modern flush mount
- Cruz flush mount from West Elm
- Glass globe flush mount – this one comes in 5 different finishes, including brushed nickel and polished nickel.
- Milk glass globe flush mount, comes in three finishes.
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The best way to find a flush mount light that fits your style is to make your search really specific. For example, “modern flush-mount antique brass lights” or “traditional flush-mount bronze lights”. Be sure you use the type of finish and your style in the search and at least one style cue.
2. Add Pendant Lights or A Chandelier
Recessed lights are practical, but if you have lots of them you might want to replace a few with pendants even small-scale chandeliers. You can convert any recessed light fixture to a pendant or chandelier using a conversion kit. The electrical skills required are minimal.
This is a great tutorial that illustrates how easy it is. Try swapping out a few recessed lights for pendants over an island or over the sink. Pendants or chandeliers over a seating area feels much more intimate if your kitchen has a table.
3. Use Clear Glass Lights
Glass lights are a popular choice to give your kitchen a more open feeling. Glass pendants don’t interrupt the space and can be hung a little lower over a kitchen island. Here are a few of my favorites.
- Lamps Plus Glass pendant
- Kitchler Everly Pendant
- Bronze mini pendant
- Henri Pendant – This glass pendant comes in three sizes up to 16 inches. It also comes in two finishes
4. Take Advantage of Wall Sconces
Wall sconces are an ideal choice for over the sink or on any blank wall space. You can get them in any finish that coordinates with your kitchen.
- Halston wall sconce comes in two finishes
- Modern wall sconce – this one comes in green, black and white
So as you can see it is important to take into consideration the height of your ceilings when planning your lighting scheme. I hope this helps you narrow down your lighting options and choose the type of lighting that will be the best for your kitchen area.