Kitchen Soffit Lighting with Recessed Lights

Kitchen Soffit LightingKitchen Soffit Lighting with recessed lights is a great look that’s popular in updated homes.

Many homes built during the 70’s and 80’s came with soffits built in to the kitchen ceiling. They usually housed fluorescent tube fixtures that were covered by plastic lenses.

A popular update to this type of lighting is to remove the old fluorescent lighting and install recessed lighting inside the ceiling of the soffit. This is a great look, especially when it is finished off with crown moulding.

Here’s a few things to consider for this type of retrofit:


  • Kitchen soffit lightingThe inside of the soffit will need to be resurfaced by a drywall professional and then painted. You have to remember that  the inside of the soffit was never meant to be seen, so it was usually only taped and not textured like the rest of your kitchen ceiling.In the picture to the right, we have installed crown moulding inside the soffit, and then coated and re-textured the entire ceiling.


  • LED lighting is highly recommended, and required by code in most areas. Use lights with wide beam angles for the general lighting  when possible.


  • Depending on the size of your soffit opening in relation to your kitchen, you may need to install some additional recessed lights around the perimeter of the soffit directly over your work areas for task lighting. Remember that the light coming out of the original fluorescent tubes is omnidirectional and diffused well by the plastic lenses.
    On the other hand, the light coming out of a recessed light fixture is directional. So as you can imagine, if you only install recessed lights in the center of your kitchen soffit, you may end up with a bright floor and dark counter tops (where you need the light the most).


Although the open soffit look is great, it’s not for everyone…

Another option is to frame and patch over the soffit opening, and then install recessed lighting. This may seem a bit boring, but in reality it is actually a more modern look because it is how new homes are being built.Kitchen soffit lightingThe process for patching the kitchen soffit includes:

  1. Removing the existing fluorescent lighting.
  2. Framing the soffit opening.
  3. Attaching drywall to the framing.
  4. Taping the new drywall and texturing the entire ceiling.
  5. Installing the new recessed kitchen lights.
  6. Painting the ceiling.