How to Update Old Kitchen Lighting

When it comes to updating the look of your kitchen, lighting is often one of the easiest changes you can make. By upgrading your kitchen lighting from the outdated and traditional lights that have been around for years to something more modern, stylish, or simply new – you can totally transform a room.

Even if you don’t feel up to replacing all of your fixtures with brand new ones – there are plenty of creative ways that you can update old lighting without breaking the bank!

How to Update Old Kitchen Lighting

From making over a set of existing pendant lights to using vintage pieces in fresh and exciting new ways – this guide will give you all the tips and tricks on how to update old kitchen lighting into beautiful showpieces that brighten up any space!

What are the Benefits of Updating Kitchen Lighting?

Upgrading your kitchen lighting can be a great way to completely change the look and feel of an old, outdated room. It can make a space brighter, lighter, and more inviting – for cooking meals or entertaining guests!

Not only that, but old kitchen lighting is also much more energy-efficient than the newer models available. By switching to LED or CFL bulbs in your fixtures, you can save a bundle on electricity costs while also helping reduce your environmental footprint!

What Will You Need?

The materials and tools you will need could vary depending on what kind of project you’re undertaking. However, some items that are generally good to have on hand when it comes to updating kitchen lighting include:

  1. Screwdrivers
  2. Wire cutters/strippers
  3. Light bulbs or LED strips (depending on your needs)
  4. Tape measure and level
  5. Electrical tape and wire connectors

Once you’ve gathered the necessary supplies, it’s time to start updating your kitchen lighting!

10 Easy Steps on How to Update Old Kitchen Lighting

1. Change the Bulbs:

This is a quick and easy way to give an old set of lights a modern twist without having to replace the entire fixture. Changing out CFL bulbs for LED ones can help reduce energy costs, while different colored bulbs can also change the atmosphere of an entire room. If you have track lights, consider swapping in fun Edison bulbs with exposed filaments that give off a unique and cozy glow.

2. Paint or Respray Fixtures:

Changing Out Cfl Bulbs for Led Ones

If you’re feeling adventurous and have time to spare – painting or re-spraying existing light fixtures is a great way to give them a fresh new look. Be sure to use a primer and paint that is specifically designed for metal surfaces! Don’t forget to use a drop cloth and work in a well-ventilated area to avoid fumes.

3. Add New Shades:

Adding shades to your existing lights can instantly change the look of any room in seconds. From colorful glass lampshades to vintage wire cages – there are plenty of options out there that will liven up even the most tired looking fixtures! Also, be sure to consider the shape and size of the shade in relation to your existing lights, as this will affect how much light is emitted from them.

4. Install Under Cabinet Lighting:

This is one of the best ways to add extra brightness to a kitchen without taking up too much space. It’s also incredibly easy to install and is perfect for illuminating the counters while cooking or prepping food. You can choose from different types of lighting systems, such as LED strips, puck lights or even fluorescent fixtures.

5. Replace Track Lighting with Pendant Lights:

Pendant lights are a great way to add style and character to any room, especially kitchens – but many people don’t realize that you can actually replace old track lighting with them! Just be sure to check out your local hardware store for the correct wiring and fixtures. Try to find pendant lights that fit well with the existing décor of your kitchen.

6. Hang String/Fairy Lights:

If you’re looking for a more creative way to add light to your kitchen – hanging string or fairy lights can be a fun option. These work best over an island or a dining area, as they create a soft, intimate atmosphere. Another great thing about these is that they’re easy to install and can be taken down without much effort.

7. Install Wall Sconces:

Wall sconces are perfect for brightening up dark corners and providing additional lighting in places that may be hard to reach with ceiling fixtures, like behind the stovetop or sink. Be sure to check out your local home improvement store for different sizes and styles! As a bonus – these can also look great when paired with dimmers for increased control.

8. Add Accent Lights:

Accent lights are great for adding extra drama and emphasis to certain areas of a kitchen. A row of recessed spots over a countertop or some wall-mounted lamps by the sink can make all the difference when it comes to making your kitchen pop! These can also be used to highlight artwork or other decorative elements you may want to display.

Adding shades to your existing lights

9. Refresh Chandeliers:

Chandeliers can be a great way to add a touch of sophistication to any kitchen. If you’re lucky enough to have one in your home, give it some love by replacing the bulbs, cleaning, or even repainting it! Be careful not to overload the wiring though, as this could lead to a potential fire hazard.

10. Switch Out Fluorescent Lights for Natural Light:

Fluorescent lights are often used in kitchens, but they can leave the space feeling cold and clinical. To warm things up, consider switching them out with natural light – whether that’s through windows or skylights! This will instantly lift the mood and create a much more inviting atmosphere.

Updating old kitchen lighting may seem like an intimidating task at first, but with the right tools and knowledge, anyone can do it! Be sure to use proper safety measures when dealing with electricity, and don’t be afraid to get creative – the possibilities are endless! 

5 Additional Tips and Tricks

1. Think About Energy Efficiency: When replacing light fixtures, make sure to look for ones that are Energy Star certified. These will help save money on electricity bills, last longer, and provide better lighting quality.

2. Consider Bulbs’ Color Temperature: Different bulbs emit different levels of light in terms of brightness and warmth. Warmer colors (like yellow or red) create a more inviting atmosphere, while brighter whites tend to be more suited to workspaces. Consider which one best suits your needs before making a purchase!

3. Utilize Dimmers: Dimmers can be great for controlling the amount of light you have in a space and creating ambiance when needed. Make sure to get a dimmer that is compatible with the type of bulbs you are using.

4. Install Motion Sensors: Motion sensors are great for saving energy and increasing safety, as they will automatically turn on when someone enters the room. They’re especially helpful in places like closets or pantries, where constant lighting isn’t always needed.

5. Add Layers of Light: It’s important to think about different types of lighting when it comes to kitchen design – don’t just settle for one fixture! Layering lights (like ceiling fixtures combined with wall sconces) can help create a more inviting atmosphere while also providing functionality.

Different Bulbs Emit Different Levels of Light

No matter what type of lighting you choose to install, always remember to practice safety and measure twice before making any cuts or purchases. With some careful planning and a few simple steps, you can quickly and easily update the lighting in your old kitchen – creating a much more inviting and functional space.

5 Things You Should Avoid

1. Don’t Overload Circuits: When installing new lights, double-check the wattage of each fixture and add up all fixtures in the same circuit. This will help you avoid overloading a circuit which can be a potential fire hazard.

2. Avoid Using Too Much Recessed Lighting: Recessed lighting can be great in small doses, but it’s easy to go overboard when it comes to this type of lighting. Too much recessed lighting can make a space feel sterile and cold – try mixing it with other types of fixtures to create a more inviting atmosphere.

3. Don’t Use Harsh Fluorescent Bulbs: Fluorescent bulbs are often used for energy efficiency but can also make a kitchen feel sterile and cold. If you’re looking to light up your space while still being efficient, consider LED bulbs instead.

4. Don’t Forget About Task Lighting: For tasks that require more precision or accuracy – chopping vegetables, reading recipes, etc. – it’s important to have adequate task lighting in the kitchen. This can be accomplished with under-cabinet lights or wall sconces near counters and islands.

5. Avoid Using High Wattage Lamps: High wattage lamps are not recommended for kitchens as they generate too much heat, which can damage delicate appliances such as microwaves and refrigerators.

Avoiding these common mistakes can help ensure that your kitchen lighting is functional and aesthetically pleasing.

High Wattage Lamps Are Not Recommended for Kitchens


How to update old kitchen lighting doesn’t have to break the bank. With research and know-how, you can make an informed decision that’ll brighten up your space and fit within your budget.

With a range of choices on the market, there’s something for everyone, so don’t be afraid to investigate beyond traditional sources – from modern lighting options at big box home improvement stores and online retailers to specialized lighting stores and independent craftspeople for custom fixtures.

Once you’ve done your research and dreamed up creative possibilities for what life could be like with new lighting – get started! You won’t believe how fun it can be to transform an otherwise dull and outdated space into a light-filled home ready for many happy years ahead.

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