Need to brighten up the heart of your home? Check out these easy, inexpensive lighting solutions.
By Lisa FrederickMore in Kitchen
Quick: What's in your dream kitchen? Odds are, your mind jumped straight to custom cabinetry, pro-grade appliances or pricey stone countertops. But a well-layered lighting plan is the ingredient that ties all those trappings together. Not only is it essential for optimum function, it also creates an aura of warmth and coziness that fancy finishes can’t match.
In the average kitchen, though, a standard ceiling light — plus a couple of smaller ones above the sink and stove — are about as good as it gets. The good news? Your rescue strategy doesn't have to break the bank. Focus on light sources that don't require electrical work, and install fresh fixtures in the same spots that are wired for the existing ones. Check out these picks for affordable solutions.
Add stick-on lights.
It doesn't get easier than this: Just peel away the backing and press the puck-style units into place. They're especially handy beneath cabinets to brighten countertop workspace, above a sink that has no light source or to cast a glow into dark drawer and cupboard corners. Best of all, the price gives you a reason to stock up. $10 for three; Bed, Bath & Beyond
Use a portable fixture with customizable function.
The battery-operated Rite Lite 9-Light LED Accent Light, available through Home Depot, crams a whole range of options into one compact package. Each of its trio of light heads pivots independently; you can tone brightness up or down by clicking a switch; and an optional motion sensor adds convenience. It would be perfect for a dim pantry or a deep cabinet. $14; The Home Depot
Install LED rope lighting.
Flexible and easy to attach, this unobtrusive device provides a continuous stretch of gentle light. The 48-inch Utilitech Incandescent Clear Rope Light from Lowe's, shown here, is a great choice for adding extra dimension to a kitchen lighting scheme. Try it to illuminate cabinet toe kicks or above upper cabinetry for a soft top note. About $25 (pricing may vary by location); Lowes
Swap a plain ceiling light for one that multitasks.
Instead of a traditional overhead fixture that beams straight down, try a more updated approach: an adjustable model that allows you to guide light exactly where you need it. IKEA’s Tived light features half a dozen arms, each with a bulb at the tip that you can aim toward countertops, an island, an eating area or anywhere that suits the task at hand. $70; Ikea