have had some seriously ugly and dated lighting in our dining room. It was so ugly, that two of the lamps tried to run away to hide. One got as far as the laundry room, but the other only made it a few feet away from the mother fixture. Operated by a different switch. On another circuit. Why? I don’t know.
With a new paint job, and reconfiguring this room a little (more on that later) the time had come to replace the lighting. Which is harder than it should be — lighting seems to fall into 2 categories, inexpensive and unattractive, or beautiful and wildly expensive. Naturally, I have an eye for the wildly expensive.
We thought we’d replace the runaway light with a recessed can light, to minimize the appearance. Either that, or make it go away all together. Wandering the aisles of Home Depot, we came across a knowledgeable employee, who introduced us to what we eventually selected — a retrofit LED can light. This light is an engineering marvel. It is a shallow fixture, designed for supremely easy installation into a standard 4-inch junction box. No cutting a bigger hole and all the rigmarole that comes with retrofitting a can light. The light is generated by a computer chip via the four tiny yellow diodes seen on the open lamp in the photo on the right. The computer chip is beneath, protected by the lamp housing. The plastic light diffusing lens snaps back into place following installation. It is amazingly bright.
Of course, in our situation it wasn’t quite that easy (because it never is). The junction boxes in our dining room were 3-inch boxes, sigh. This required swapping them out for modern 4-inch boxes, not difficult, just another step in what was supposed to be an easy task. Ah well, that’s how it usually goes. While Dan replaced the box, I painted the lights to match the new ceiling color. Soon enough the runaway was replaced. The other lamp, by the doors to the dining room/kitchen and the laundry room, is also in, but we still need to do a little ceiling repair to smooth out the ceiling where the old light fixture was. That fixture was not my favorite style, but OK, just a little big for the space, and several times suffered close calls with destruction when we were moving furniture, lumber, etc. So that light moved upstairs to a bedroom which needed an update.
Finally, we replaced the main light fixture. This was the difficult one, we looked and looked but could not find something we liked for less than $350, way over budget. Finally, Dan had a brilliant idea. We selected a basic boob light, and around it, we’ll stencil a subtle mariner’s compass. The boob light will become the center of the compass and will look far less boobish. We both love the idea. So for now, the boob light is installed, sans stencil. I hope we’ll get to it soon.
Overall, I’m really pleased. The LED lights use far, far less energy than conventional incandescent bulbs. The can lights really are not very noticeable in the ceiling, yet we have light when we need it. The light quality is not the same, even with warm LED bulbs — it is a little too reminiscent of the dreadful compact fluorescent bulbs of a few years ago that made us all look ill, but for lights that are primarily used for a purpose rather than general lighting, they work. I would highly recommend the LED fixture for anyone looking to replace traditional lighting with can lights, these are terrific.