rail/track lighting for kitchen


Does anyone have suggestions for specific rail or track systems/ fixtures for lighting a kitchen?
I am interested in replacing my current fluorescent fixture and installing a curved rail/track system (mainly for esthetic reasons), but I am concerned that it won't provide enough general light. I have seen some kitchens with track systems that look dark. It has been suggested that I use wall washer fixtures and fixtures with a metal interior to redirect light. The kitchen is 9-10 ft long and I do not need pendants.
Also, I thought that a fixture with transformer that could be mounted anywhere would be best because the hole for the wiring is off-center in a concrete ceiling. That way, the track could be centered and the transformer could be placed slightly off to the side. I can't think of any other type of fixture that would address that irregularity with the wiring and still be centered in the room.
Low voltage or line voltage? Halogen bulbs?
Any suggestions on brands, types of systems, heads are greatly appreciated. Thanks.
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Take a look at the Halo brand of track. It is line voltage, but you can get low voltage heads for it. They have plenty of fittings and accessories to accommodate any configuration. The brand has been around for many years and many electrical supply companies and lighting showrooms sell it. They have other brands owned by the same company that are less expensive and are compatible with the Halo track. You may find that everything that you need is not in stock and will take about a month to receive after ordering. Thanks to the price of gas the company (As others) raised their minimum purchase for free shipping to the supplier.
I'm not a big fan of low voltage only because some of my past customers have told me that the transformer hum annoys them. There are however some low voltage heads with solid state transformers. Also dimmers can be a problem with low voltage. I do like the look of the MR-16 halogen bulbs.
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Thanks. Great info. Will check out their website. Also, good to have the info on low voltage issues.
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I haven't seen every track lighting installation on earth (yet), but most of what I've seen leaves me unimpressed. The lighting is uneven, and depending on how they're located, people see the light bulbs, which at least to me is a sin. I want to see light, not bulbs. I'd rather have light reflected onto surfaces by closely mounted pendants or wall sconces.
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For what it's worth: I too am not a big fan of track lighting. Depending on how high your ceilings are, halogen track lighting might be too bright and blinding for you. Some track lighting relies on odd bulbs that end up costing a lot, or put off too much heat for smaller kitchens. (Some halogen bulbs realllllly heat up) In my kitchen I have counter top lighting which use par halogen bulbs (they can be dimmed and don't use much wattage while still giving me good light), and a ceiling fan with a dome in the middle of the kitchen that use the energy type, but can't be dimmed) Go into your kitchen and figure out where you need to see what you're doing and where that light needs to come from. If you have very bright lights that are slightly behind you, you will end up casting a shadow on what you really need to see. The wall lights might give off too many shadows or not provide you with enough light if the ceilings are high and the light doesn't bounce around very well. Most people I know have gone with layered lighting to address each area they need lighting in, and then general/mood lighting. Keep in mind that some bulbs do not allow for dimming devices, and find out how easy it is to replace bulbs in your fixtures as some really are a pain in the ass. If you have lower ceilings, get multi-light fixtures that bounce the light up and if possible, you can put them on dimmers so they become general/mood lighting as well. When getting a multi- light fixture, or fixtures with smaller glass shades, try to pick up an extra shade just in case you ever break one.
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Great suggests. I am planning to also install a few recessed light fixtures and undercabinet lights over work areas. A friend has the halogen lights under the cabinets and says that she rarely turns them on because it makes the area so hot. I am thinking about going with the Xenon lights under the cabinets for that reason.
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This is my concern as well. My problem is dealing with this off- center wiring...not sure what other type of fixture I can use. Perhaps there is a track head that covers the bulbs in some way?
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Nobody here can tell you what options are available from all track light manufacturers.
As far as the off-center problem, you could use surface mounted wire channel to bring power to the center of the ceiling, where you'd install a surface mounted box to hang a fixture.
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Obviously I don't expect information on all options from all manufacturers. That is what you ask expensive lighting designers that I can't afford. Was simply wondering if anyone had suggestions about products that had worked for them.
I had thought about the surface wiring, but that has esthetic issues. If the fixture was large enough, though, it might hide it. I have seen others do that with ceiling fans in the bedroom and it never looks right.
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I suppose you could sand off the glossy finish from the surface channel, and give it a coat of flat spray paint. Less reflection, less visible, maybe.
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Good idea. Plus the distance between the hole for the wiring and the center of the ceiling is not that great. A big enough fixture might also hide it. I may try that if I can't find a suitable track system.
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