Drop ceiling ideas for proper kitchen lighting illumination

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Drop ceiling ideas for proper kitchen lighting illumination
Ceiling lighting is particularly important in kitchens. (kitchen image by Rich Johnson from Fotolia.com)

For reasons of aesthetics or heat retention, some kitchens have dropped ceilings. These are ceilings that consist of a series of panels that are held in a metal grid suspended by wires from the original ceiling above. Lighting is usually provided by bulbs or fluorescent rods that are suspended behind translucent panels within the grid.

Translucent Panels

The advantage of translucent panels that are inset into the dropped ceiling is that they can be used in conjunction with the original ceiling light fixture in the kitchen. The lights simply shine down through the translucent panel and illuminate the kitchen. While this is usually effective, it is not always the most aesthetically pleasing method. The light from the fluorescent rods behind the panel can be harsh, and doesn't always diffuse effectively throughout the entire kitchen. This type of lighting is used most effectively as ambient lighting that is augmented by spotlights mounted above work counters.

Pot Lights

Pot lights are small round spotlights that are recessed into ceilings and provide focused light on specific locations in the kitchen. In order to mount pot lights into a lowered ceiling, you will have to cut holes into the panels at the right size for the lights. Try to position the lights in the centre of the panels in order to make the ceiling look symmetrical. If there are pot lights in the existing ceiling that will be obscured by a new dropped ceiling, you will need to take the pot lights out of the existing ceiling and remount them into the dropped ceiling.

Track Lighting

Track lighting is probably the easiest option to install onto a dropped ceiling. Track lighting consists of metal tracks three or four feet long with a series of small, movable spotlights mounted onto the tracks. The spotlights can be directed to the areas of the kitchen that require the most light. The advantage of track lighting is that it can be mounted onto the face of a dropped ceiling without needing to cut into the panels. All you need to do is run the wire from the track lighting above the panels and wire it into the lighting outlet that is in the original ceiling.

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