Have you ever stepped into your kitchen and thought it was missing some shine? A simple lighting upgrade could be your ticket to transformation, particularly if you’re still utilizing fluorescent lighting in your kitchen. 

These lights, over time, can lose their brightness, start to flicker, or simply fail to complement your kitchen’s overall design. This comprehensive guide will walk you through ‘how to update fluorescent lighting in kitchen’ — a task that can enhance your kitchen’s look while boosting energy efficiency and saving costs. 

Join us as we delve into the myriad benefits of such an upgrade, weigh up your lighting options, and provide a step-by-step guide to ensure a smooth and safe transition.

Understanding Your Current Fluorescent Lighting System

how to update fluorescent lighting in kitchen

Fluorescent lighting has been a popular choice for kitchen lighting for many years due to its energy efficiency and longevity. A standard fluorescent light system in a kitchen typically includes one or more elongated tubes in the fluorescent light boxes mounted under cabinets or in a central fixture. 

These lights within the fluorescent light fixture operate by passing an electric charge through a mercury-vapor-filled tube, which in turn excites phosphor particles coating the tube, causing them to glow.

However, like any other lighting system, fluorescent lighting has its issues, particularly when it’s old or outdated. Over time, these lights can start to flicker or hum, which can be quite distracting. 

They may also lose their brightness, leading to inadequate illumination in your kitchen. Furthermore, older fluorescent lights tend to consume more energy than their newer, more efficient counterparts, such as LED lights.

Choosing the Right Lighting for Your Kitchen

When it comes to choosing the right lighting for your kitchen, there are several alternatives to traditional recessed fluorescent lights, each with its own set of advantages. A few prominent ones include LED lights, halogen lights, and compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs).

Here is a quick comparison of these three types of lights:

Lighting TypeEnergy EfficiencyLifespanBrightnessCost
LED LightsHighLongHighHigh
Halogen LightsMediumShortVery HighMedium
  • LED Lights: These are highly energy-efficient and offer a long lifespan, often exceeding that of traditional fluorescents. They provide excellent brightness and are available in various color temperatures to match your kitchen’s aesthetic. However, they are typically more expensive.
  • Halogen Lights: These lights provide excellent brightness, often outshining LEDs and CFLs. They create a warm light that is often appreciated in a cozy kitchen setting. However, they are not as energy-efficient as LEDs or CFLs and tend to have a shorter lifespan.
  • CFLs: Compact fluorescent lamps are an improved version of traditional fluorescent lights. They are more energy-efficient and can last longer. They offer decent brightness and are usually cheaper than LEDs.

The cost comparison goes like this:

Bulb TechnologyPrice per Bulb (Est.)Watts (Varies by Mfr.)
60-Watt Incandescent$0.41-$1.0060
LED (60-Watt–Equiv.)$1.50 and up9-12
CFL (60-Watt–Equiv.)$1.50-$7.0013-15
Halogen (60-Watt Equiv.)$1.00-$2.7543

This table offers a quick comparison of different types of lights that can replace traditional fluorescent lighting in your kitchen, focusing on price and power consumption aspects.

How to Update Fluorescent Lighting in Your Kitchen

Once you’ve decided to upgrade the fluorescent lighting, including any accent lighting in your kitchen, the next step is the installation process. Don’t worry; we’ve covered you with a step-by-step guide on ‘how to update fluorescent recessed lights in your kitchen.’ 

Please remember, if you’re not comfortable doing this yourself, it’s best to hire a professional electrician.

Materials Needed:

  • New light bulbs (LED tube lights, Halogen, CFL, etc.)
  • Screwdriver
  • Wire cutters
  • Wire nuts
  • Voltage tester
  • Ladder


  • Safety First: Turn off the power to your kitchen lighting circuit at the main electrical panel. You can confirm the power is off by flipping the switch to see if the existing recessed light turns on.
  • Removing the Old Fixture: Use your screwdriver to remove the screws holding the old fluorescent light fixture in place. Be sure to hold the fixture as you remove the last screws to prevent it from falling.
  • Disconnecting the Wires: Before disconnecting, use the voltage tester to ensure there’s no electricity running through them. Then, disconnect the wires by unscrewing the wire nuts.
  • Connecting the New Fixture: Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to connect your new light fixture. Generally, you’ll need to connect the black wire from your house to the black wire from your fixture (hot wires) and the white wire from your house to the white wire from your fixture (neutral wires). Use wire nuts to secure these connections.
  • Installing the New Fixture: Once the wiring is secured, align your new fixture with the screw holes and secure it using the screws provided.
  • Final Checks: Restore power from your main panel and turn on the kitchen lights to check if the new fluorescent light fixtures are working correctly.

And there you have it! You’ve successfully learned how to update fluorescent recessed lighting in your kitchen. Remember, these steps can vary slightly depending on the type of new light fixture you’re installing. 

Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions, and don’t hesitate to call a professional if you’re unsure at any point.

Safety Precautions When Updating Your Kitchen’s Fluorescent Lighting

Updating your kitchen’s fluorescent lighting can be a rewarding DIY project, but it also requires careful handling due to the electrical aspects involved. 

Here are some essential safety precautions to keep in mind when updating your kitchen lighting:

  • Power Off: Always start by turning off the power at the main electrical panel. Confirm that the power is off before proceeding.
  • Use a Voltage Tester: A voltage tester can confirm if the wires you are about to touch are live. Never skip this step.
  • Proper Tools: Use insulated tools for added protection against electrical shocks.
  • Ladder Safety: If using a ladder, make sure it’s secure and on even ground. Never overreach; move the ladder as needed.
  • Handling of Wires: Never force a wire into a terminal or a wire nut. They should slide in easily.
  • Protective Gear: Wear safety goggles to protect your eyes from dust or debris. Also, use gloves to protect your hands while handling wires and light fixtures.
  • Follow Instructions: Carefully read and follow the instructions that come with your new light fixture. If there’s anything you don’t understand, consult with a professional.


Upgrading your kitchen’s fluorescent lighting can not only improve aesthetics but also enhance energy efficiency. The process involves choosing the right replacement option, safely removing the old fixture, and installing the new one. You can also remove fluorescent lighting from your kitchen with easy steps whenever you want.

Remember to prioritize safety throughout the process, and don’t hesitate to seek professional help if needed. Brighten up your kitchen and enjoy the fresh new atmosphere it brings!


Eliza is a culinary maven with an undeniable passion for the art of cooking and a deep understanding of all things kitchen-related. She is a renowned kitchen expert and a source of inspiration for aspiring chefs around the world. With years of hands-on experience and a knack for creating delectable masterpieces, she has established herself as a leading authority in the culinary industry.

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