Kitchen: Replacing the “Korean Restaurant” light.

As part of our “home enlightenment” plan, we wanted to change the light in the kitchen area. Our kitchen area is a bit of a unique one, as it used to be this house’s living room but was changed by the owner at some point in the past (for some reason I can’t fully comprehend). They built the kitchen right in front of where the living room windows facing out to the balcony used to be, and that was that. You gain a (bed-)room, but lose the living room. Hum.

Anywho. Light! This room was lit up by a cross-shaped light that holds four phosphorescent lights (those relatively small ones that plug in only on one side, you know the kind) that looked god-awful. It did its job of brightening up the place alright, of course, perhaps too much so. So that thing had to go.

Unfortunately, in most local light shops here in Seoul you can only choose from two kinds of lights;

  1. Cheap, super bright phosphorescent lights like the one we want to get rid of (20-40.000 Won)
  2. Super expensive, overly kitsch lights made of millions of tiny fake diamond stones and faux golden stuff and things (300-500.000 Won. I’m not even joking)

Needless to say, neither were particularly attractive options. Lucky for us though, a while ago we visited what I dubbed as “Fake Ikea” — somewhere in Incheon is a store that bulk imports real Ikea furniture from China and sells it here at a (sometimes slight, other times more than slight) markup. Great for us who like good furniture at decent prices and enjoy DIYing (that is, until the first real Ikea opens up this very month!). This particular store also had a few other smaller shops inside its building, one of which sells great looking lamps at very affordable prices. So this is where we got a few of our lights, including the one for the kitchen area. Score!

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When removing light fixtures that have been on a wall or ceiling for a longer while, you’re going to run into some typical issues. Discoloration of the wallpaper is one, broken/damaged/undone wallpaper another. We had both, of course. So to fix this without having to redo the entire wallpaper on the ceiling (our house —like so many here— has wallpaper on the ceiling too), Younhee got the idea to use stickers easily found at Daiso (and similar shops) that basically is designed for this very purpose (or to pretty up your kitchen doors, for example). We picked up a few rolls of this stuff and she got to cutting. Because I can’t cut very well. Delegation.

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After cutting it to size, Younhee carefully attached it to the ceiling while I stood by snapping photos, letting her do all the work. After this it was an easy task of attaching the wires using those little push-hold-thingies that were already on there (and I bought a few extra at a local store), and attaching the lamp fixture to the metal bracket I previously screwed in place.

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Normally you’d want to use special plugs for this sort of stuff, but it seems like these are not at all common here in Korea. When we tried to get them at a local “screws and cables and such” store, all we got was weird, confused looks while they kept trying to give us wall plugs instead. Oh well.

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Looks pretty good, right?

Other chapters in this series
  1. Kitchen: Adding some light below the closets.
  2. Kitchen: Replacing the "Korean Restaurant" light.