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ceiling lights-how many, what kind??


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#1 of 5 paul koster

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Posted December 24 2006 - 12:32 PM

I have read many threads on this subject, but no one (that I can find) has touched on this topic. A lot of light topics but what is the lighting really like? I'm curently in the process of updating a room that has been setup for entertainment by the previous owner. The room is 12'x18' and currently has no lights except a floor and table lamp. The room is painted a dark maroon color with is actually pretty nice. This room is used for watching tv, movies, reading, etc. It's basically an entertainment room (allabit small) but good enough for us. I am considering placing 8-4" recessed eyeball lights with dimmer switches that would control 2 lights per switch from home depot. These light are basically lights that call be rotated or positioned to fit various functions. They take up to 50W halogen lights. The lights will be installed by me but wiring done by someone that can do it.

I am thinking that the placement will be 4 feet from sides across the width and every 4.5 feet legthwise.

So, My questions are:

1) Will this be enough light? I don't want a room that looks like the sun sitting in it, but I also don't want to have to grab a flashlight to look for something I dropped on the floor.

2) If not bright enough, what do people recommend?

3) should I get 5" lights and have only 6 not 8?

4) Would stationary lights with covers be better then the more direct light of the eyeball lights?

5) Does the lighting placement/positioning sound ok?

I know there there are a million configurations and everyone's tastes are different, but for those of you who have recessed lights are you happy with them? If not what would you do different?


Thanks in advance for all the input.

#2 of 5 Stephen Williamson

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Posted December 24 2006 - 01:38 PM

It all depends on the spread of the light, you can get halogens with a 20 degree spread upto 45 degrees. Normally you calculate the square footage that the plamp will cover then plan how many you need for your floor plan.

I would also look at wall lighting as well as ceiling, your idea of separating the lights into different cicuits is a good one as you only turn on or dim the lights you need.

You can also switch the wall sockets that the floor lamp plugs into so you don't need to get to the light to turn it on.

#3 of 5 paul koster

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Posted December 24 2006 - 03:02 PM

Stephen- Wall lights are not an option b/c one wall has 2 windowa and the rear wall has 1 window and the longest wall will have recessed shelves 4 the DVDs and CDs. I would also like to eliminate the floor fixtures for a cleaner look.
Didn't think about the light cone. I'll look into that.

Thanks

#4 of 5 Wayne A. Pflughaupt

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Posted December 25 2006 - 04:17 PM

Paul,
Quote:
I know there there are a million configurations and everyone's tastes are different, but for those of you who have recessed lights are you happy with them? If not what would you do different?
Simply put, recessed lights rock. The lighting is so much softer and dramatic than surface-mounted lighting. If I had my druthers they’d be in every room of the house.


I researched long and hard before installing recessed lighting in our other house (intend to do it here at our new place someday). Took me quite some time to figure out which kind to use, placement, etc.

For instance, I worried with a small room, or with low 8’ ceilings, that the big lights would be – well, too big. Or the small lights, I noticed they top out at around 50 watts, so would that make me need more lights? Stuff like that.

The conclusion I came to is that in most cases, there’s no good reason not to use cans that take the large R-40 bulbs. There are several good reasons:
  • For one, I found out by checking out other installations that they look just fine in both smaller rooms and with 8’ ceilings.
  • They are the cheapest. I noticed that both cans and baffles for smaller lights, especially the little R-20s, are ridiculously more expensive.
  • The R-40s come in the widest variety of wattages, from 50w up to 120w.
  • Since the R-40 bulbs are so large, the filament ends up being way up high inside the bulb. This cuts down on glare to your eyes considerably, which to me is very important, especially if we’re talking about low 8’ ceilings.
So – I wouldn’t fool with the little bulbs. And you really want to take a pass on those eyeballs you’re considering. Those are not for room lighting, like you’re talking about. They severely restrict light output and dispersion. As such they are mainly for highlighting something, like a picture on the wall, or a vase on a stand next to the wall – stuff like that.

Quote:
The room is 12'x18' and currently has no lights except a floor and table lamp. The room is painted a dark maroon color with is actually pretty nice. This room is used for watching tv, movies, reading, etc. It's basically an entertainment room (allabit small) but good enough for us. I am considering placing 8-4" recessed eyeball lights...
First, like Stephen mentioned, how many you use depends on the spread of your bulbs. The height of your ceiling also matters; obviously, the higher the ceiling, the wider the light spreads (i.e., covers more square footage of floor).

That said, you don’t need that many lights for a room that small, even with an 8-foot ceiling. If you want it really bright, use six; otherwise four cans will do fine. Either way, I’d use the incandescent R-40 or R-30 flood bulbs, like these:

Posted Image

They have the best dispersion and lowest glare. The R-30 and –40 halogens have a much tighter beam pattern, even the so-called flood lights, and will look like “spots.” With an 8-foot ceiling, they only cover about a 5-6 ft. diameter of floor – no kidding. So unless you have really high ceilings, you won’t want to use them.

Quote:
...with dimmer switches that would control 2 lights per switch from home depot
I really can’t see any reason to do that, especially in a room that small. If you had a 30-40 ft. room and envisioned say, having a card table at one end of it - maybe then. But a 12’ x 18’ room is not really big enough that you would be using only a small section of it.

If you do use multiple switches/dimmers, what I’d do is put the lights close to the screen on a seperate switch. That would allow you to keep that area as dark as possible, while allowing dimmed lighting at the seating area, which would make it easier to find your drink or use the remote.

As far as placement, take a look at this picture of a multi-use theater room:


Posted Image


You can’t really see it here, but the room has six cans (see here for other pictures). The cans here are well placed as far as front-to-back goes. However, I would have brought them into the room (i.e, away from the walls) at least another foot. See how dark it is above the screen? That means there is not enough coverage in the center of the room. Someone standing up in the center of the room will have his head in the dark, which will look really strange. This guy has them spaced to where they light up the side walls really well – what good is that? You primarily want the room bathed in light, not the walls at the expense of the middle of the room. Make sense?

A few more considerations:

If you want the lights more recessed (further up) inside the cans (as opposed to having the bottom of the bulb flush with the ceiling), you can use the big R-40 cans with smaller R-30 bulbs. If you go that route, there are different baffles to use that are narrower at the top. And, since having the bulbs futher up inside the can will restrict the spread, you might want to go ahead and use six cans for sure.

You want to use air tight cans. Trust me on this! Regular cans have holes in them for the springs for the baffle, and other stuff, and the air conditioner will suck dust right through them and into the room, from your attic or whatever is above them.

Also – since the bulbs are so expensive, you’ll definitely want to use dimmers, which will make them last longer. Also look into long-life bulbs (i.e. over 2000 hours) or commercial 130v bulbs. They may cost a buck or two more up front, but they’re cheaper in the long run.

Hope this helps at least a little.

Regards,
Wayne A. Pflughaupt

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#5 of 5 paul koster

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Posted December 25 2006 - 04:24 PM

Wayne- Thanks a bunch. That really helped!! I have those R-40 lights in the bathroom (Not heat lights-I checked) and Yes, they would actually work quite nicely. I am going to put the lights on different switches b/c if I want to read, I can dim or turn off the lights in front of the tv and not waste money.

Thanks!!





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