How to step out from under ‘cloud’ lighting

Q. When I renovated my kitchen, I planned for recessed lights. However, they could not be installed because the ceiling has two vents and water pipes running through it. I selected a “cloud-type” fluorescent light instead. Now I don’t like it. It’s too big for the ceiling in my small kitchen. Can you suggest another type of light fixture that will illuminate the space, which is approximately 9 by 13 feet? This is the main source of light in the kitchen work area.

Burke

A. For a simple swap, consider replacing the current fixture with a round, flush-mounted fixture that has a bit of trim on it to keep the lamp cover from looking so big.

Kichler Lighting makes an Energy Star-rated 16-inch round fixture with two metal bands around the outside. So while the fixture extends 31 / 4 inches down from the ceiling, the lamp itself looks thinner. The trim is available in brushed nickel or antiqued bronze. The fixture works with two 26-watt pin-type fluorescent bulbs, so you get about the same amount of light as with 200 watts of incandescent bulbs. The list price is around $220, but some Web sites are selling it for less.

Lithonia Lighting’s Saturn fixturelooks similar and uses the same bulb, but only one. So although the price is appealing — about $60 at Home Depot — it might not give you enough light. Efficient Lighting makes a similar fixture. The 16-inch-diameter model, which uses a spiral-type compact fluorescent bulb with the light output of a 100-watt incandescent, sells for about $50.

Whatever ceiling fixture you install, also consider adding a strip of lights under the upper cabinets. There are lots of good LED options for this.

How should I deal with a large, fixed, double-glazed window over the front door that has collected moisture and water vapor? The window is about 48 by 60 inches and was installed about 25 years ago.

Vienna

Call a glass company and arrange for the glass unit in the window to be replaced. A spokesman at Sterling Glass (703-430-2388

), which sends repair people throughout Northern Virginia, said the replacement, including labor, could cost about $1,000. But the labor cost depends on access and other issues, so he suggested getting a free, on-site estimate first.

Have a problem in your home? Send questions to localliving@washpost.com . Put “How To” in the subject line, tell us where you live and try to include a photo.

The Checklist Read Jeanne Huber’s roundup of home-improvement tasks you should tackle in December, such as disconnecting hoses.

 
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