Kitchen Light Spacing Best Practices, How to Properly Space Ceiling Lights

67 thoughts on “Kitchen Light Spacing Best Practices, How to Properly Space Ceiling Lights

  1. What problems did you see with your kitchen lighting, and what type of kitchen lighting spacing did you use that worked for you? Let us know in the comments below, and we'll also answer your questions.

  2. Would you recommend to always stick with 3 feet from wall? I am currently under remodel and the contractor who is also my neighbor recommended to go further out by the fridge because how close it is.  The setup is similar to your but we also have a pantry next to the fridge which is about 18 inches so the light in front of fridge may not shine any light on the counter anyways.  My concern is that the other light which does light up the cabinet will also be 4 feet away from that same wall to keep things in line.  Will 4 feet away be ok to light up or will the counter also be dark on the other side of the room?

  3. We're currently laying out the recessed lighting in our new construction kitchen. We will not have upper cabinets. L shaped 12'x14' w/ 6'x5' island. Sloped ceilings are 8' to 11' high. We're using 6" cans. I'm more concerned about my body creating a shadow when at the counter working. What's your opinion on where to place the perimeter or task lighting when there's not going to be upper cabinets?

  4. Jeff, you explained the absolutely WRONG way to place your lights. The thing you aren't factoring in is that by having the light out 36" puts the light source behind the head of the person working at the counter. So when that person is standing next to the counter doing their prep, they will have diminished light from the shadow they cast over their work space. By having the lights in closer, as was the case in the first example you said was wrong, you get maximum and direct light to the area you need it which is right in front of you NOT towards the back of the counter. If you are concerned about the shadow the cabinets create by having the lights in closer, you install under cabinet lighting which is actually what you had in your remodel but didn't comment on their purpose. I hope this helps some people…especially those cooks that are 6' plus.

  5. 🐬🐬Hello,
    my facebook:Jjc Lighting
    I want to ask if you could do me a favor to test our LED Lighting and kitchenware samples, Because I have watch your youtube video and really appreciate it.
    We have a factory producing LED Lighting and kitchen supplies, we would like to provide some free samples to you for testing if you like.
    Looking forward to work with u

  6. I disagree with the 3ft rule. You'd create a shadow. I'd do 2ft from wall (1ft from cabinets)

  7. No i definitely disagree, putting lights that far back means that you ALWAYS cast your own shadow when working at your counter and that is just plain annoying, have you heard of under cabinet lights? they look fantastic and make an even better worklight.

  8. This is completely incorrect!!! People please do not follow this if you are remodeling a kitchen. This design is for "general area" lighting and not kitchen task lighting. This would be how you design a den, livingroom, bedroom where you want even lighting throughout the room. A kitchen is designed for work and those work areas are the areas that need to be focused on. There may be shadows if not enough lights are installed and if they are installed incorrectly. BUT PLEASE DO NOT EVER PUT YOUR LIGHTING BEHIND YOU IN A KITCHEN! This kitchen may look "lit" up in a picture as there is no one working in this kitchen but if you were to put 2-3 people moving around helping make Christmas dinner it would be horrible.
    I am a Master Electrician and also own a separate lighting company which we install designs in art galleries, salons, and other high lighting focused areas.
    My apologies for saying you're wrong but I want to save diy'ers the not so happy outcome in the end!!!
    As for me I would have had a couple more down lights in completely different locations on the counter tops and also under cabinet lighting and then this small kitchen remodel could be in a magazine!!!

  9. ✅ WATCH Our SEQUEL to this: How to Measure LED Kitchen Lighting, Best Design Practices
    ✅ Lithonia LED wafer lights we used for this kitchen lighting remodel design project:

    ✅ Klein Tools 53731 Adjustable Hole Saw we used to cut round ceiling holes for the LED wafer lights:

  10. I don’t like it. They don’t line up with the cabinet spacing. Draw the cabinets on that sketch you made then sketch the light placement

  11. Anytime someone says "I've never seen it done right, but I know how to do it right!" Runaway. Quick as possible. I am 6' 2" and if you put a light behind my head, in a kitchen, I'll be rather pissed off.

  12. During my next kitchen remodel, I'll make sure to consult an IALD Professional Lighting Designer

  13. It took you 20 minutes to say "36 inches off the back wall", and it turns out you're wrong

  14. Jeff, all can say is wow! I followed your lighting spacing recommendations and it completely changed my kitchen lighting dynamics a very significant improvement. My counters are now flooded with light with no shadows. You can stand anywhere at the counter and your body does not cast any shadows any where.  I personally seen the bad lighting you talked about in my relatives homes. Mine is so much better thanks to your recommendations. Thank you Jeff for your recommendations.

  15. Thank you for educating me on the LED Wafer lights. Now regarding putting them 36" from the wall. I installed three windows in my shop. I am planning on building a soffit along the window wall and install the canned or wafer lights in the soffit – one above each window. Should I still install them 36" from the wall or can I bring it in to 24"? I am planning on putting in moveable workbench / carts along the wall. These will be primarily accent lights as I will be installing LED main lights in the shop. Thanks!!

  16. some can lights can be use in contact with insulation too. With this light, If you have loose insulation type you will have to push them out before pulling your light down right? Or else it will fall all over you.

  17. Loved the video. These lights are awesome. What would you suggest for a ceiling that is slightly angled/sloped? Are there adapters for these that retain that C1rating for contact with fiberglass?

  18. Looks good for photos, but not for working, on a counter, with the lights behind you.. there is no need to have the back wall lit up.. no one is working on the back wall….other than that, nice video

  19. I have tell to tell, I bought the suggested lights and install per your instructions and we were extremely please with results. Little to no shadows and we added a dimmer, those small lights are powerful. Thanks a million.

  20. I am sitting in my kitchen watching your video thing you are dead on.more builder's and electricals need to watch this video

  21. Coming from a design builder, I understand your point of view and frustration with incorrect installations. The AEC industry is plagued with incorrectness in every area (structural, electrical, plumbing) but what’s worst is the arrogant finger pointing “I’m better than you attitude” and unwillingness to make our fellow contractors better by taking a leadership approach instead of referring to their work as “stupid” “no idea what they are doing” etc. As a general contractor I have made mistakes in lighting but I learned because I wanted to do better. There is no one way or universal master guide to learn the hundreds sometimes thousands of scopes of work that encompass every aspect of building a Decent building. or in this case, optimize lighting design. So, from what I see/hear in this video, You’re knowledgeable, like what you do, and seems like you do good work. so don’t belittle others work but maybe point out why you would do it differently, inspire people to do better work by showing them a better way. That’s the only way this industry is going to change for the better.

  22. sorry jeff but you are wrong , i was always taught ,and by more than one lighting designer that you place your lights so that they shine down on the counter and floor in front of it "usually 2 feet from the wall", this is general lighting which when you walk into the kitchen will provide sufficient general lighting not only for cleaning but also will light up the work space on the counter. The space under the cabinet is not really ever used to work on , more so to place a cook book perhaps which then would be illuminated by undercabinet lights . In this day and age very few people dont want under cabinet lights especially with the newer led tape lights that install so easily and inexpensively. The system you are using is more for a living rm , den, or playroom. And by the way the recessed lights installed in an insulated attic space must be type IC these are used for "in contact" with insulation and are code compliant. The "firestarters " you mentioned were most likely installed by some handy man or diy'er who didnt know what he was doing. All this being said a lot of times the old style recessed with the cans could not always be installed symmetrically as you can now with the wafer lights due to the structural barriers present in ceilings and or attic space.

  23. thanks for the tips. I am laying out my lighting plan for a new kitchen you helped a lot.

  24. People stop taking advice from a handyman. This guy is bashing professionals while giving horrible advice. If you do general lighting in a kitchen and the light is behind you, you will have shadows on your work surface. Take a licensed professionals advice or some handyman who is getting called out for his ignorance by every other comment.

  25. Your spacing parameters are 100% right on! Have you considered these lights as they are best in my opinion.:)

  26. If this is the correct way, I don’t like it… I like when everything is evenly spaced, the lights don’t look right??

  27. They did this for task lighting. It's a kitchen, brother. A lot of times people will supplement lighting out in main area of kitchen to remove that shadow you mention.

    Also – who uses those types of potlights anymore? Use 4" slims.

  28. Hi Jeff,
    I am so glad I found your video which gave me a lot of ideas about the positioning of downlight . I am building a new home I have an electrical plan but I want your advice to pinpoint the positioning of my down lights. If you can do that I will very thankful to you.

  29. I've found in a lot of houses there are beams in the ceiling that are 3 feet from the wall.

  30. Great Video. I am about to start our project today. I hooked up a light with a 6' pigtail and moved it around to check for shadows as you are showing here. Watching your video beforehand would have been much easier!

  31. What if you have deeper upper cabinets, such as 15” deep? I assume you still put lights 24” in front of the cabinet, thus placing them it 39” from the wall?

  32. Great video. Do you recommend a light be installed over the sink for good light when working at the sink?

  33. I put my lights too far from the cabinets and when I’m using the sink all you see is a huge shadow from my head lol

  34. Saying this method is wrong is an opinion. I've used this method for years in the electrical field running my own company. Never had a complaint, always turned out great. There are multiple ways to get the lighting you desire.

  35. At 10:23 – the electricians should have used IC-rated can lights. Anything painted white is non-IC rated. But to minimize the fire risk if such cans already exist, use an LED trim; those won't get hot.

  36. GUYS – a lot of negative comments here.  I have 25 years of experience in the Lighting Industry.  I’m an Engineer, I’m Certified in Lighting, a member if the Illuminating Engineering Society, I have industry-related patents, and I hold internationally recognized awards in Lighting.  Believe me when I tell you – lighting is specialized branch of Engineering, and it can be extraordinarily complicated.  This video is an excellent overview, and it’s MUCH more informative than your average YouTube video about kitchen lighting. 

    The lights in this video are marketed as a “general purpose” recessed light. From the Amazon link, you can find a link to its technical specs.  The light comes out of this fixture at about a 45° angle (from the ceiling.)  He did a good job spacing them out, maximizing the output, and minimizing the shadows.

    I would have personally supplemented the area with under-counter lights for task lighting.

    Use this video as a guide.  There are thousands of different light fixtures on the market and therefore, thousands of ways to light your kitchen.  Cheers,

  37. Good advice. I'm thinking that a strip of led lights on the top of the cabinets would have been nice (getting rid of the shadow).

  38. Wow, this video “dropped the ball” (I figured I may as well use that overused saying too, since this guy likes to deflect).

    This is not a good SOP for kitchens. He even dismissed his mistakes as “meh, nothing you can do about that” – he lied to you viewer.

    Absurd amount of pre-work for a task so simple. Next time you do a kitchen video, remember that you should account for the person working in your path of light. Ceiling lights are not the suggested or common way to light up “under the cabinet” – I think you need to go back to the drawing board with this video. Next time, explain why people purchase and install under cabinet lighting.

  39. Why not just space them like a normal room and then use pendants/track lights/undercabinet lights or even directional trim if the can is too far out? The recessed cans are for general lighting. Task lighting is for tasks. Imagine that. This guy is quick to dog on “builders” but I can tell he’s just a DIYer tryna be an expert

  40. You are so full of it man. You don’t know what the hell youre talking about. There are insulation and non insulation rated cans. And they’re by no means out of style just bc leds are available.

  41. Seems you have dropped the ball.
    Your downlights are too close together and looks stupid.
    1 decent size 20w led oyster light in the middle wouldve been heaps better!

  42. And one more thing… the ceiling height effects how far away your lights can/should be from the cabinets.

  43. Jeff I took your advice and mounted my lights 3 feet from wall. I wanted to say Thank You! They look and respond Great.

  44. Thanks for the video! Anyway is the distance can be also applicable for a narrow beam angle downlight (36 degree)?

  45. The actual problem is trying to use ceiling lighting as an all-in-one source for kitchens. Kitchens require multiple light sources specifically designed for task working, not just general needs lighting like other rooms. There are a lot of factors to consider with setting up kitchen lighting, however technological advances make it easier to complement general area lighting in a kitchen, such as under/over cabinet lighting, accent lighting, decorative lighting, etc..

  46. The problem with this is explained below. 3ft out creates a shadow when you're standing at the counter prepping food.

  47. Super well done man thank you since love doing remodeling but doing my own house and want it to be perfect for years to come not the way the home owner wants lol right but this is what I needed to do this week woo since getting ready to do the lighting in my kitchen remodel

  48. Jeff…enjoyed your video(s). They helped me a lot to plan out my kitchen lighting project. The Amazon link that you provided for the wafer lights is for a 4" wafer but they sure do look like they are 6" in the video. What size wafers are in the video?? Thanks.

  49. I get the reason why you have the 24 inch rule. However, can it create the situation when you are standing at the counter your body creates a shadow covering the spot on the counter you are working over?

  50. I wonder if the shadow cast because of the 36" rule caused the banana drop at 9:38. In other words, let the application and the homeowner preference dictate the specific "off the wall" location. No such thing as my way and everyone else is wrong. Why can't it be something entirely different than 36", or 24". I believe a larger refrigerator is needed as well.

  51. "We call these lights fire starters." 😂😂😂 Ever hear of Insulation Contact rated light housings??? I guess not

  52. A little to far back no shadows looking from a distance. Watch videos when he stand in front at edge his shadow makes the countertop dark but when he stepped back it gone. So work at your counter from a distance . But the other house bad show he can work on counter top and see what he doing. Your not working at back of your cabnet your working on front of the cabnet. And so his shadow not blocking the countertop. I put rock wool light cover over old recessed cover. And install hard wire Under cabinet lighting with switches.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *