Fun fact: Kitchens need good light

Hope everyone enjoyed a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday! I gobbled down a couple helpings of my favorite broccoli bake, and may or may not have downed three (or four or five) little dinner rolls too. Although we love Thanksgiving around these parts, today is actually the most splendid of all days. Today, the day after Thanksgiving, is when my sister and I (and John now too!) celebrate the beginning of all things Christmas. We can now officially listen to Christmas music, watch Christmas movies and eat Christmas cookies – All of which we plan to do in the next 24 hours. We are putting up the tree and will be making DIY Christmas ornaments too, just like we did last year. Stay tuned next week for the recap, but until then, I have a little lighting update to share…

You see, many moons ago, John and I replaced the outdated fan/light combo in our kitchen with a modern circular track light fixture. Right away we could tell that the look was muuuuuuuch better, yet it took us almost a full year before we really noticed the lack of light. As today’s post title cheekily states, you DO actually need good lighting in a kitchen. I think you’re able to see in the photo below that the fixture is just a little too understated to provide any kind of adequate light in such a large space (although the natural morning light was more than compensating that morning).

Once we finally admitted the oversight to ourselves, we went ahead and picked out a replacement fixture within a couple of days. The one we chose came from Lowes and cost $89 (technically about $84.55 since I used my Lowe’s credit card and scored 5% off). The 4 new bulbs, as opposed to our 3 old bulbs, are a higher wattage guaranteeing a brighter room, and they also are spaced out enough to disperse the light more effectively. We also chose this particular fixture because of the modern shape and brushed nickel finish, which matches the over-the-sink fixture we already have in place.

Time for assembly. We have become what I like to call “amateur pros” at replacing light fixtures. We’ve done it about six times now and I’d say we’ve got it down pat – Although “it” is really simple and doesn’t require much problem solving. My advice to anyone who hasn’t yet tackled this is to FIRST AND FOREMOST turn off the power to the effected fixture. Then do what you need to to remove the old one (usually by twisting the fixture or loosening some screws). Then watch carefully as you disconnect wires so that you know what goes where with the new wires. It’s typically a white-to-white, black-to-black and copper-to-screw situation. If all else fails, call in the pros – It might cost you $100, but at least you know it’s done right and done SAFELY.

I think you can already tell the difference below, in both light amount and symmetry (the size of the new light actually FITS the size of the room). We could already sense the improvement, even in the strong day light, just by looking at the appliances – They literally looked whiter under the new lighting. Later that night when we got to witness the light’s REAL power, we were a little blown away. I now know just how dirty my kitchen is – The ample light gets into just about every little dusty nook and cranny. But it’s worth it.

Since you can’t really see the fixture itself with the light blinding it out, I also photographed it while it was turned off – Now you can see the lovely modern shape and finish. We’re kind of in love…

But we weren’t done there! Although the smaller round track light was taken down, we weren’t going to put it away in a box. Oh no. We decided to replace an outdated “boob light” from the upstairs hallway (seen below after the uninstall), which was another fixture that gave off a less-than-ideal amount of light. Luckily, the smaller space was perfect for the light we had just taken down in the kitchen.

I didn’t think to snap a shot of the old light doing its thang, but here’s the new light in place. Take my word for it – The “new” fixture gives off MUCH better light than the old one.

(Please try to ignore the unmade bed in the background – I swear we keep a neat home, just not on a Saturday morning)

The adjustable track light feature on the new light works so nicely with my gallery wall too – I can position a bulb right on the art to spotlight it.

But let’s snap back to the kitchen for the main star of this show…It really is so important to make sure you get a light fixture that fits the space. It has been a big lesson learned for us home owning novices, one we won’t soon forget.

Has anyone else replaced a lackluster light fixture lately??

Have a great weekend!

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