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spacing for recessed lights

posted by: mcassel on 06.25.2007 at 05:25 pm in Lighting Forum

I was wondering if there where some resource that talked about bulb type, ceiling height and usage with regards to how far the spacing should between recessed lights?


clipped on: 06.27.2007 at 01:40 pm    last updated on: 06.27.2007 at 01:42 pm

CFL's vs incandescent bulbs

posted by: kitykat on 02.13.2007 at 02:45 pm in Lighting Forum

I'm slowly swithching to CFL's, but confusion abounds!!!

1. Bought a Sylvania 3-way CFL at Lowes. 12/19/28w (equiv to 30/70/100w) per the label. It works great for reading! The output in lumens is 600/1200/1800 with CT of 3000K (bright light). Checking, I have a 100w incandescent that only puts out 1690 lumens. Thought equivalent CFL output was generally less than incandescent?

2. Have a 15w CFL replacing a 60w bulb. It is so 'yellow' with a dim output. Can I use a higher wattage CFL in a recepticle that states no higher than 60w, or should I opt for 'whiter' light? Are the watt limitations based upon the heat generated by std bulbs?

3. Have seen CFL's shaped like a regular bulb and want to use one in a lamp with a typical cloth lamp shade, but has a clip that grasps the bulb. Can I exceed the 60w max to get good light on my desk?

...any and all help is appreciated.


clipped on: 06.27.2007 at 01:11 am    last updated on: 06.27.2007 at 01:11 am

RE: CFL's vs incandescent bulbs (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: arley on 02.13.2007 at 03:51 pm in Lighting Forum

This is one layman's understanding--lighting pros and sparkys are welcome to expand or contradict my thoughts:

As I understand it, the sockets in light fixtures are rated to withstand a certain amount of current, mainly because of the amount of HEAT that an incandescent bulb produces. (As you stated in # 2--An incandescent bulb is far more efficient as a heater than an illuminator.)

On a lumen-per-watt basis, fluorescents of any kind (including CFL's) produce far more lumens than an incandescent of identical wattage.

As far as I know, it's the ACTUAL wattage of the bulb, not the lumen-incandescent-equivalent, that matters to the fixture. So a 15 watt CFL is way under the rated limits of that 60 watt fixture. I'd have no hesitation to bump that up to a higher wattage CFL; what it's equivalent to as an incandescent isn't relevant. And try the whiter light; you may like it.

I don't see any reason why you can't use an enclosed CFL in a fixture with a clip that grasps the bulb, and use whatever wattage you want as long as it's less than or equal to the socket limitation. I wouldn't use one of those spiral CFL's simply because the clip might break the tubing.

In my office I have a halo light fixture that can take up to 100 watt bulbs. I have a 27 or 30 watt CFL (I forget which)that they say is equivalent to a 150 watt bulb. My staff likes it (nice bright light), and I like it (less $$ on electricity and less heat generated, lower risk of fire).


clipped on: 06.27.2007 at 01:11 am    last updated on: 06.27.2007 at 01:11 am

RE: My Recessed Flood Not Providing Enough Light (Follow-Up #2)

posted by: jon1270 on 02.16.2007 at 02:07 pm in Lighting Forum

How far from the couch is it? This is sounding like a tough situation to fix without moving the fixture, because the brightest spot will always be on the floor directly under the fixture, no matter what bulb you use, and the couch will inevitably seem dim by comparison. You could use a gimbal or eyeball trim to direct the light at the couch; it would make the couch look good, but be uncomfortable for anyone sitting on it. The widest beam-angle halogen I'm aware of would be a 50-degree wide flood, but I don't think that will accomplish what you're wanting. You could try a fluorescent bulb - they tend to be much more diffuse, so at least that might lessen the hot spot on the floor. Really, though: these are half-measures. I'd seriously consider biting the new-fixture bullet. It's not necessarily a big deal.


clipped on: 06.27.2007 at 01:06 am    last updated on: 06.27.2007 at 01:06 am

My Recessed Flood Not Providing Enough Light

posted by: alwaysfixin on 02.16.2007 at 01:46 pm in Lighting Forum

My living room has a 9' ceiling, and one 6" recessed light near the sofa, for providing light for that area. I also have a table lamp by the sofa for task lighting, and sconces on the opposite wall which are mostly decorative. The problem is that the ceiling's recessed light is near the sofa, but not over it, and I find that its light beam isn't quite wide enought to reach the sofa. It lights the floor under it very well though! I am not going to open up the ceiling to install another recessed light, so I am looking for suggestions here on how to get a broader beam angle for that one recessed light I have.

Currently the 6" recessed fixture has a GE 65W incandescent flood, BR40, 730 lumens. I tried replacing that bulb with a GE 90W flood, BR40, 1000 lumens, but all that did was make the area directly under it too ultra-bright, but no wider, so still not lighting the sofa enough. Then, I took out the trim, and checked the label on the housing which is Halo's H7T. The label specified bulbs as follows: 65W BR30, 75W R30 and 75W PAR30. I guess I shouldn't have been using the BR40 size, but it fit, so doesn't seem to have done any harm. Can anyone advise me on brands, styles of bulbs, given the 3 sizes the label says? Would changing the white baffle to something else help widen the light beam? Would halogen be an improvement? I do use the dimmer occasionally. Thanks.


clipped on: 06.27.2007 at 01:05 am    last updated on: 06.27.2007 at 01:06 am

RE: Juno Cone vs Deep Cone (Follow-Up #3)

posted by: dim4fun on 03.03.2007 at 10:58 am in Lighting Forum

Juno IC20 with deep #206 cone: When using the deep cone the lamp socket is fastened to the top of the housing and the cone shape allows the use of even short par 30 lamps so the lamp is deeply recessed. This is good for lamp concealment with high ceilings where 50 watts is enough. It might require using a narrow flood or spot to compensate for height. Yes, a small aperature opening and deeply mounted lamp will affect the beam spread.

The regular cone #216 has a socket mount at the top so you relocate the socket from the top of the housing to the trim. The cone is shaped so that a short par 30 will not fit without a socket extender. These trims work well with par 30 long neck wide floods 75W Par30L WFL. With non IC housings standard A lamps can also be used since #216 is a reflector cone. And that is also why the short Par30 will not fit because the cone is shaped to project the light from an A lamp.

A long neck par 30 is a bit shorter than a BR30 and the Par30L looks OK in these trims with 8' ceilings but I don't recommend you use this trim and R or Par lamps for higher ceilings.


clipped on: 06.27.2007 at 12:59 am    last updated on: 06.27.2007 at 01:00 am

RE: Juno Cone vs Deep Cone (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: jon1270 on 03.03.2007 at 09:28 am in Lighting Forum

"...centered on the edge of the counter top, and spaced about 3' apart; will a 50W par 30 flood have enough light?"

Yes, that should make the counters quite bright. Make sure you get normal PAR flood bulbs, not spots or the tighter "narrow floods."


clipped on: 06.27.2007 at 12:59 am    last updated on: 06.27.2007 at 12:59 am

Juno Cone vs Deep Cone

posted by: svwillow1 on 03.03.2007 at 08:51 am in Lighting Forum

What is the difference in appearance and performance between these two? I assume that the regular cone allows the use of a 75W par 30 while the deep cone uses a 50W par 30. I would prefer not to see the light source, so do I use a deep cone? On an 8' ceiling, with 5" IC Juno cans and a Haze finished trim, centered on the edge of the counter top, and spaced about 3' apart; will a 50W par 30 flood have enough light? Will a deep cone restrict the spread of the beam hence lessening the amount of light falling on the countertop?

Thanks for any help


clipped on: 06.27.2007 at 12:57 am    last updated on: 06.27.2007 at 12:57 am

RE: How to calculate needed lumens in a room? (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: jon1270 on 03.05.2007 at 07:41 am in Lighting Forum

Hi Kate,

I saw your question addressed to me on Dinger's thread, too, but the weekend's been busy. The method I've used is something I came up with on my own, and I'm just an enthusiastic amateur; I'm sure a degreed lighting engineer would have a much more sophisticated approach. I think lumens are primarily useful for gauging ambient light, and that task lighting on countertops is better addressed with footcandle calculations. Anyhow, I think of ambient light as the light bouncing randomly around the room from one surface to another, illuminating the whole, general space rather than a particular surface. I estimated the surface area of the walls, floor and ceiling of my own little galley kitchen (450 square feet) and the nominal lumens generated by the half-dozen 50PAR20 bulbs that I've got in the ceiling (3300 total) and came up with a figure of 7.3 lumens per square foot (walls and ceiling included, remember; this is not just floor area) as a data point to describe my own kithen. Since I sometimes wish I had a bit more light in my kitchen, I figured it might be good to shoot for a bit more than 7.3 lm/sf, so I started using (in a purely intuitive, guesstimate sort of way) a figure of 8.5 lm/sf as a target when suggesting lighting arrangements for other people who asked.

This is a blunt and highly subjective instrument, meant only to avoid ending up with a room that resemebles a cave or an operating theater. As you said, surface reflectances, personal preference and the age of the viewer (I'm 36), not to mention other issues like fixture efficacy and available natural light, can play significant parts, and none of these are mathematically accounted for in this approach. But, then, to account for them mathematically would require a lot of data that isn't typically available in the context of these online chats about particular rooms in distant parts of the country or world.

So, your 10' by 12.5' by 8' kitchen has a walls/floor/ceiling surface area of around 610 square feet. My little 8.5 lm/sf target suggests you might want to build in the capacity to generate at least 5185 total lumens. A basic 50 watt PAR 30 lamp produces about 660 lumens, so I'd think in terms of using about 8 of them to light up that room. This would you give you more general light than I've got, and most of your surfaces are lighter than mine (I've got a lot of earth tones), so that's probably still a decent number despite the fact that you're "getting older."


clipped on: 06.27.2007 at 12:55 am    last updated on: 06.27.2007 at 12:55 am

RE: How far must my ceiling be lowered for recessed lighting? (Follow-Up #4)

posted by: davidr on 03.27.2007 at 03:44 pm in Lighting Forum

Cans are fine for highlighting certain areas, but they're actually pretty inefficient for general lighting. They create pools of light and shadow - especially with a low ceiling.

I can't imagine going to that much trouble to get uneven light. If I were you, I'd drop the ceiling just enough to fish cable and mount boxes, and then install good quality surface-mount fixtures.

Some day this silly fad for recessed lights will abate. They'll become unfashionable, and houses will finally have good, efficient, reasonably priced lighting again. People will come to your house and say, "Oh, cans, those are so nineties!" ;-)


clipped on: 06.26.2007 at 09:01 pm    last updated on: 06.26.2007 at 09:01 pm

RE: lighting art in an entry way, anyone like the apurure style t (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: dim4fun on 03.28.2007 at 09:40 am in Lighting Forum

Hi Spencer,

A Par 20 lamp is too long to be aimed at wall art in a 4" housing. It won't pivot enough without hitting the side of the can. How did you aim at the walls with what you have now? Nora must be including a short whip with the slot aperture trim to convert to a line voltage GU10 base MR16 because that type of slot aperture trim only works with small lamps like the MR16.

Check on the adjustment range for the trim and wattage limit with the combination. You may be limited to 35 watts. To dramatize and call attention to something accent lighting needs to boost the lumens on the subject well above the surroundings to bring your eye to it. You may need to dim the center fixture to help compensate so that the art stands out if I understand the look you want of spotted paintings glowing more intensly than the surroundings rather than the general wash of light you have now.

Different brands and styles of trims have different ranges of adjustments. Normally the slot aperture has the largest of the adjustment ranges and may go to 40 or 45 degrees without blocking the lamp so this should be a good choice. Other trims claim 35 or more degrees but may partially block the lamp.


clipped on: 06.26.2007 at 08:54 pm    last updated on: 06.26.2007 at 08:55 pm

RE: Low voltage MR16 VS line voltage PAR20 or 16, for recessed li (Follow-Up #13)

posted by: jon1270 on 03.31.2007 at 06:14 am in Lighting Forum

"my island is 18' long and the ceiling height is 10'...I could do 4 cans over the island and it should work OK."

18' is a long surface to cover with only four cans, even with 10' ceilings. What sort of bulbs are you basing that idea on? It certainly won't work with PAR20s, and I'm very doubtful that MR16s would work either. 75 watt PAR30 floods, maybe, but even then you'd be better off with five.


clipped on: 06.26.2007 at 08:50 pm    last updated on: 06.26.2007 at 08:50 pm

RE: Low voltage MR16 VS line voltage PAR20 or 16, for recessed li (Follow-Up #8)

posted by: mcassel on 03.28.2007 at 10:10 am in Lighting Forum


you hit the nail on the head. Thanks for seeing that I needed to go back to bulbs 101 to more understand these differences.

So let me do a quick recap. Both MR and PARs are halogens and providing the wattage is the same produce the same amount of "total" light. The main benefits from MR16 is the variety of beams and bulb lenses, there are also more adjustable trim kits for the MR16s because of its small size... PARs can still be spot or flood but are not as focused light and does not have as many options for beam and lenses, also most trims are limited to 30 degree adjustability. One other big difference is the cost of the housings with PAR housing being considerable cheaper.

So for me if I am wanting more kitchen island task lighting and wall washing/art accenting but am not looking for "spot" lighting and unfortunately I need to keep cost in mind, would you say PAR20s with an adjustable gimble trim is the way to go for me?

Also thanks for spending the time helping me. I know all the noob questions must get old.


clipped on: 06.26.2007 at 08:48 pm    last updated on: 06.26.2007 at 08:48 pm

RE: Low voltage MR16 VS line voltage PAR20 or 16, for recessed li (Follow-Up #6)

posted by: jon1270 on 03.28.2007 at 06:57 am in Lighting Forum

mcassel, I think part of the info you're missing is this:

The MR in MR16 stands for Mirror Reflector.

The AR in PAR stands for Aluminized Reflector.

Highly polished mirror reflectors are able to direct light in a very focussed, controlled way, so the light the bulb produces can be directed to in a very specific direction (yielding a high candlepower in that direction but throwing little light off to the sides. This effect is increased with low-voltage bulbs because the filaments are smaller. However, the tightly controlled beams that are native to these bulbs can then be softened and adjusted with optional diffusing lenses that dim4fun mentioned.

Aluminized reflectors are much less polished and tend to scatter the light, so less of the light is concentrated in the middle of the beamspread, and more is sent off to the sides.

If you want dramatic, spotlight-like effects then the MR bulbs are the way to go.

If you want softer-edged light, or if you're trying for even lighting, where the pools of light from adjacent fixtures can blend together somewhat seamlessly, then PAR lamps are probably the better choice.

If you want soft light but need especially small or versatile fixtures then MR-types with diffusing lenses might be the solution.


clipped on: 06.26.2007 at 08:46 pm    last updated on: 06.26.2007 at 08:47 pm

RE: Up or downlight over a kitchen table? (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: davidr on 04.06.2007 at 12:58 am in Lighting Forum

Style aside, indirect lighting is always better where the source is a near point source such as an incandescent lamp or a compact fluorescent. Indirect lighting means that the light is directed upwards; it's reflected and diffused from a white ceiling. This lighting is always more even, more efficient, more effective, and easier on the eyes than any kind of direct lighting except possibly linear fluorescents.

Indirect lighting's benefits were discovered and promoted at least 60 years ago. Americans were more thrifty - and perhaps more practical - in those days, so it was an easy sell. ;-)

The current fad for almost 100% direct lighting from cans and pendants is, in terms of functionality, a throwback to the plain steel reflectors used in the early 20th century.


clipped on: 06.26.2007 at 08:19 pm    last updated on: 06.26.2007 at 08:19 pm

RE: Light bulbs for Specular/Alzak trims? (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: ilitem on 03.29.2007 at 08:15 am in Lighting Forum

Any A19 bulb works with these trims. Most individuals will use a frosted bulb so that there isn't as much glare. Others have used Neodymium (true daylight) bulbs so that the colors are better. It is simply a matter of trial and error. Everyone is different and likes certain lighting.

We installed the Alzak trims in our home over 20 years ago and have been using the true daylight lamps, only because if you look at one of them along side the regular bulb, you can see a difference in colors. You may want to try this to see which you prefer. The true daylights are more expensive than the regular 60A19 bulb.


clipped on: 06.26.2007 at 08:17 pm    last updated on: 06.26.2007 at 08:17 pm

RE: Efficient Kitchen Lighting Plan -Help! (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: midwestlori on 04.04.2007 at 07:56 pm in Lighting Forum

So you're looking at four areas: overhead can lighting, under-cabinet lighting, island lighting, and cathedral ceiling lighting.

Regarding dimmable compact fluorescent lighting: GE Lighting has a good Q&A page that includes dimmable fluorescent info. Type in 'dimmable compact fluorescent' and it will take you to a page with links to information. One thing I noted on the site is that, apparently, dimmable CF requires a special dimmer.

Regarding compact fluorescent ambience: we're testing two types of compact fluorescent lights in our home. In our living room lamps we are using the traditional CF, which creates a cool, bluish light. This works well with the white walls. In our Mahogany-colored, two-column wood archway, we are using the CF that creates an orangish light. It looks great and creates the mood we want. So, when determing which CF to go with in the kitchen, test the two types and see which one creates the light color that best fits your kitchen color.

Regarding the undercabinet lighting: if you're only using it for task lighting, then maybe dimming isn't a necessity. Again, check into whether or not a special dimmer has to be installed.

You'll also want to think about the cool and warm light options. In our kitchen, which we recently renovated, we are testing blue incandescent lights in one set of pendants and regular incandescent lights (which create the orangish glow) in another set. You can really see the difference when the lights are on. So whatever type of CF you pick for the can lighting, you might want to go with the same CF for the under-cabinet area.

Regarding island lighting and cathedral ceiling lighting: how many circuits do you have for the kitchen lighting? We have three circuits; one powers the four pendants that create the task lighting for the countertops, one powers the stove hood fan that has two 40-watt Halogen spots, and one powers the 6-light overhead fluorescent fixture.

If you have only three circuits (one for the can lighting, one for the undercabinet, and one for the island/ceiling lighting) then you could look at a monorail system as a solution for the island/cathedral ceiling. Monorail is powered by one junction box but, because it's low voltage, it can power three to five lights. You could use one or two pendants to provide downlight to the kitchen island and one or two adjustable spots to highlight the cathedral ceiling.

There are a few companies that make monorail. LBL Lighting and Tech Lighting are good. Besa Lighting also offers monorail. All three have websites with URLs that incorporate their names.

Pendants and spots for monorail usually use halogen or xenon lamps.

Also, if you go with pendants with glass diffusers, the color of the glass can complement the CF color you choose.

Here is a link that might be useful: Cool use of monorail in kitchen


clipped on: 06.26.2007 at 08:15 pm    last updated on: 06.26.2007 at 08:16 pm

RE: What color cans and what type of bulb? (Follow-Up #2)

posted by: ilitem on 04.09.2007 at 06:59 am in Lighting Forum

You are both right about the black and white trims. Black trims were the first on the market. However, most homeowners have switched to white trims for the interior. I would probably put the black ones outside because they show less dirt.

Check the trims that you are purchasing to find out which light bulbs they will take before worrying about PAR and regular flood lamps. Some trims will not take both. don't mix the light bulbs in one room. Decide which lamps you want in which area and stay with it. If the recessed light you are using can use both types of bulbs, then you can decide if you want a warmer light or a brighter light in the area.

At times we have mixed these by putting the brighter, whiter PAR lamps in task areas (i.e., kitchens) and the more yellow incandescent bulbs in the living areas (living room, dining room, etc.) depending on the colors that were being used. If you are contemporary, the PAR lamps are wonderful. If you are traditional we have used the regular reflector lamps.

This is all a personal choice and I would suggest that you look at how both lamps would look in your home. Remember, you can always dim the PAR lights down and even though they will be white looking, they won't be as bright.


clipped on: 06.26.2007 at 08:07 pm    last updated on: 06.26.2007 at 08:07 pm

RE: What color cans and what type of bulb? (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: formulaross on 04.09.2007 at 12:11 am in Lighting Forum

We used Juno white baffles from Lowe's because 1) black wasn't available, and 2) black, in our opinion, would probably stick out like a sore thumb on a white ceiling. We used the bulbs spec'd by Juno (which essentially recessed them a couple inches behind the ceiling surface) and the look is non-glare and quite pleasing. All are open baffles in the whole house except for 2 spots. PAR means Parabolic Aluminized Reflector and is the shape & coating of the reflective glass at the back of the bulb. Most halogens are PAR's, but I think some regular tungsten bulbs can be PAR's as well. Halogen is a whiter ligh because the halogen cycle (google it for more info) allows the tungsten filaments to burn hotter and thus more white without sacrificing life. We used halogens in recessd cans in all living and task areas - kitchen, family room, baths, den, bedrooms, etc. and regular tuingsten in hallways. The candelabra bulbs in chandeliers are regular tungsten as are the regular screw-in bulbs over the dining room table and kitchen island pendants.


clipped on: 06.26.2007 at 08:06 pm    last updated on: 06.26.2007 at 08:06 pm

What color cans and what type of bulb?

posted by: brutuses on 04.08.2007 at 11:03 pm in Lighting Forum


I'm back!!!! We are ready to pick out our recessed lights and have decided on the 6" recessed eye ball. Those of you who know this lighting stuff, tell me, what are the benefits and drawbacks of either the black or the white inside baffle? Am I calling that the right name? My husband says the black will cut down on glare and wants to put those outside in the porch ceiling and in the house. I told him I don't think I want the black in the house because it won't look as nice as white. Which do you have and why? Also, PAR means a light is halogen, is that right? Is it correct that the halogen light is a brighter, whiter light? Do you use halogen in all your recessed lights or a mix of incandescents also? In which applications do you use each. We will have recessed lights throughout the house, both as wall and kitchen cabinet accents and room ambient lighting so I need to know which lights to use for each application. I hope I'm not asking too much. Thanks for your help.


clipped on: 06.26.2007 at 08:06 pm    last updated on: 06.26.2007 at 08:06 pm

RE: Too little Kitchen Light with 4' cans (Follow-Up #9)

posted by: bj_inatlanta on 03.27.2007 at 06:18 am in Lighting Forum

Everyone is struggling with these cans. One long rectangular fluorescent fixture overhead gives such superior lighting. Why not look for an attractive one? After all, the kitchen should be functional first and foremost. Don't be bullied into this latest fad in lighting.


clipped on: 06.26.2007 at 08:04 pm    last updated on: 06.26.2007 at 08:04 pm

Followup (Follow-Up #5)

posted by: jon1270 on 03.26.2007 at 03:32 pm in Lighting Forum

Michaelli, sorry but you're stuck. Six feet apart is much too widely spaced with 8' ceilings; you would have had problems even with the 6" cans. With 4" cans they should be spaced no more than three and a half feet apart. Since the ones you've got are six feet apart, I'd keep them and add more cans in between for 3' spacing - with the right bulbs, that will give you plenty of light.


clipped on: 06.26.2007 at 08:02 pm    last updated on: 06.26.2007 at 08:03 pm

RE: What Wattage for Can Lights? (Follow-Up #2)

posted by: dim4fun on 04.15.2007 at 11:03 am in Lighting Forum

A lighting designer typically uses different types of lighting fixtures in a space to achieve the desired illumination level. You may have plenty of light but it may be directed to the wrong places. An example is a room with reading levels of light over the seating area using recessed fixtures but no washing of the walls creating a "cave" effect. Though the meter says the lighting is OK at the couch people see the room as dark because the walls are dark. Recessed fixtures are often overused. They should not usually be the only source of light in a room. Over a seating area they often create dramatic shadowing on the people seated and we dont look very good displayed that way. Eyebrows can create shadows and large bags under the eyes. Table lamps at the seating area are often used to fill in and light peoples faces from a horizontal direction to reduce shadows. Table lamps also direct light at the walls as do pendants and chandeliers. To sum up: in a typical bedroom you may have to put in four 65 watt recessed fixtures to replace a single 120 watt pendant in the center to make the room feel right even though a meter under a single recessed fixture will say its plenty of light.


clipped on: 06.26.2007 at 07:59 pm    last updated on: 06.26.2007 at 07:59 pm

RE: Energy efficient AND easy on the eye living room lighting (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: jon1270 on 01.27.2007 at 04:54 pm in Lighting Forum

Last question first: no, low-voltage lights are not especially efficient. The lowered voltage is traded for increased amperage to achieve the same wattage, which is the real measure of power consumption.

That said, "easy on the eyes" generally means indirect lighting; you don't want to see the bulb, you don't want there to be extremely bright spots anywhere in your field of vision. Achieving that means that you use fixtures that bounce the light off of room surfaces, such as cove lighting illuminating the ceiling, or track or other aimable lighting pointed at the walls, artwork, etc. Depending on what your walls and ceiling are made of or what color they're painted, they will absorb some amount of the light rather than reflecting it back out into the room, so you need to generate enough light that the amount bounced out into the room is sufficient. Fortunately the living room probably doesn't need extremely bright ambient light.

There aren't a lot of good alternatives to fluorescent for doing this efficiently. Fortunately fluorescents have come a long way, and don't deserve the bad rap they get from people who developed prejudices based on older technology. Older fluorescents used magnetic ballasts that cycled on a relatively low frequency, causing flicker that many people could see and found uncomfortable. Most newer fluorescent fixtures have electronic ballasts which cycle at a much higher frequency so the flicker, while technically still there, is so fast that almost nobody can see it. The other reason fluorescents get a bad rap is that older bulbs, and the cheaper bulbs sold today, have really lousy color resolution, making it hard to tell one color from another, which also makes your eyes have to work harder. There are now much better bulbs available, the best of them coming very close to the quality of incandescent sources. They're also available in a wide range of color temperatures, to suit many tastes.

There are two significant things fluorescents still don't do well. Very few of them can be dimmed economically, and they are by nature diffuse so they can't be focussed into a tight spotlight-like beam the way incandescents can.

My suggestion would be to look for ways to use fluorescents for indirect ambient lighting, and supplement that with some table lamps and/or small halogen spotlights (recessed, track, etc.) for reading and accent lighting.

That's the background theory. I'm not, unfortunately, all that well-versed in particular fixture choices.


clipped on: 06.26.2007 at 07:57 pm    last updated on: 06.26.2007 at 07:57 pm

RE: Please, explain the proper recessed placement (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: ilitem on 04.17.2007 at 09:00 am in Lighting Forum

One-half of the can should be over the counter while the second half is over the floor area. This allows you to get lighting on the counter and down the cabinets and the floor. Depending on which fixtures you are using you then space them as needed (75 watt floods are usually every 4' on center) around the counter area.

After you have configured this, you go to where they are then needed in order to illuminate the rest of the kitchen. Is there an island? Are you hanging pendants or a fixture that will illuminate the rest of the kitchen, etc. This is all pertinent information as to how many more recessed lights you will need.


clipped on: 06.26.2007 at 07:45 pm    last updated on: 06.26.2007 at 07:45 pm

RE: Under Cabinet Lights (Follow-Up #6)

posted by: dmlove on 04.30.2007 at 12:12 pm in Lighting Forum

buzzz (cute screenname in connection with this question) fluorescents with I think they're called electronic ballasts do not hum (old ones did, new ones don't). They also don't flicker and they're instant-on.


clipped on: 06.26.2007 at 07:30 pm    last updated on: 06.26.2007 at 07:30 pm

RE: Under Cabinet Lights (Follow-Up #4)

posted by: remodeler_matt on 04.19.2007 at 05:54 pm in Lighting Forum

I've not used the Counter Attack, but they do claim to be cooler than other similar fixtures (xenon or halogen) because of a proprietary cooling system. I've heard they do run somewhat cooler than most, but have no direct experience.

I also like T4 or T5 fluorescents for under counter. Very versatile. Pegasus has good UC fluorescents. Check the link below.

Here is a link that might be useful: Under Cabinet Fluorescents


clipped on: 06.26.2007 at 07:27 pm    last updated on: 06.26.2007 at 07:27 pm

RE: Under Cabinet Lights (Follow-Up #2)

posted by: davidr on 04.18.2007 at 06:11 pm in Lighting Forum

Halogen, xenon, etc. are just different flavors of incandescent lamps. The difference between one incandescent lamp and another is really just a matter of degree. They all produce heat as their main product. The light is secondary. Some produce a little more light, some a little whiter light, some last a bit longer; but none is very good at providing light efficiently without melting your chocolate chips in the cabinet above.

If you want cooler, more efficient undercabinet lighting, T4 or T5 fluorescent is a better option. Specify electronic ballast and 3000K CT, 82+ CRI lamps for a pleasant light which will blend with incandescents.


clipped on: 06.26.2007 at 07:07 pm    last updated on: 06.26.2007 at 07:26 pm

RE: Which is better -CFL or Flourescent Cans for Kitchen? (Follow-Up #5)

posted by: davidr on 05.10.2007 at 02:56 pm in Lighting Forum

Screw-in CFs have another downside for those who have something of a "green" attitude, and that's the amount of additional waste generated by replacing the ballast when the lamp only fails. With dedicated CF cans, when the lamp fails, that's all you replace.

OTOH, the flexibility of screw-in CFs is hard to resist.

I wouldn't use cans for general lighting (I think they're about the worst fixtures for room lighting). However, if I did, I have to admit I'd be tempted to use incandescent cans with screw-in CFs.


clipped on: 06.26.2007 at 07:03 pm    last updated on: 06.26.2007 at 07:03 pm

RE: Which is better -CFL or Flourescent Cans for Kitchen? (Follow-Up #2)

posted by: jon1270 on 05.10.2007 at 05:31 am in Lighting Forum

I've read, and it makes sense to me, that dedicated fluorescent cans have an advantage in that they can have reflectors specifically designed to work with fluorescent bulbs whereas screw-in CFLs used in fixtures intended for incandescent bulbs may waste some of their output. I don't have any numbers to back that up, though.

If you need to be able to dim them, I think it's still much cheaper to buy screw-in dimmable CFLs than to buy dedicated fluorescent fixtures with dimmable ballasts.


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RE: What brand Fluorescent Undercab light did you use? (Follow-Up #2)

posted by: dmlove on 03.06.2007 at 12:15 pm in Lighting Forum

We used Juno - got it at Galaxy in Cupertino. We mounted it in the front. We had been forewarned (by catluvr I think) that if we mounted it in the back, we'd see the fixture. It was true - when seated on the couches in the family room the fixture was visible when mounted at the back, but not so when mounted against in the front against the light rail. The light is good, and it reflects against the backsplash, lighting up the decorative glass tiles. We like it.


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RE: Pendant Light Placement Over Island (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: remodeler_matt on 05.22.2007 at 04:30 pm in Lighting Forum

Depends. If the lights are for specific tasks, such as illuminating a work area, it should be as close to directly above the work surface as possible. An eating area does not need such direct light, so I would tend to make sure you have sufficient light on the areas where you will be working -- food prep, cooking, etc. -- and not worry too much about the eating area. If they are dim-able (which I highly recommend) I bet you find you will turn the lights up for cooking, and down for eating.

On the other hand, if you don't plan to use the counter top as a work area, I'd probably center the lights on the overall structure, as I think that would look better.

Don't worry about what's "generally accepted." If you like how it looks and works, it's good.


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RE: Uba Tuba Granite / Kitchen Lighting (Follow-Up #5)

posted by: andee on 05.23.2007 at 11:20 am in Lighting Forum

I have recessed halogen flood lights over my Uba Tuba counter and it makes the granite look (more) gorgeous!


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RE: Uba Tuba Granite / Kitchen Lighting (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: bestvalue on 05.19.2007 at 07:29 pm in Lighting Forum

Using under cabinet fluorescents, I found that my Sapphire Brown granite looked best when I mixed a warm light and a cool light. Others may tell you that halogens are best (white light, excellent color rendering). Take a sample to a lighting store and experiment. Good luck!

-- Amanda


clipped on: 06.26.2007 at 06:39 pm    last updated on: 06.26.2007 at 06:39 pm

RE: Uba Tuba Granite / Kitchen Lighting (Follow-Up #4)

posted by: mpwdmom on 05.21.2007 at 10:21 pm in Lighting Forum

We have halogen puck lights over a linen hutch in our bathroom with a strip of Verde Labrador and the colors of the granite do pop. I just wish I could have them all around, but the GC they are too hot for all over use.
Susan ~


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RE: plugmold (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: jamesk on 06.05.2007 at 11:37 am in Kitchens Forum

Plugmold is a brand name. I think it's available in ivory, grey and a brushed aluminum finish. Other brands, however, are available in a wider range of finishes, including white. If your electrician shops for another brand he can probably come up with a substitute in white.

I have the brushed aluminum finish in my kitchen. Because it isn't really visible unless you look up under the cabinets, it works out just fine.

If you want to look at the spec sheets for Plugmold, the link below will take you to them.

Here is a link that might be useful: Plugmold spec sheets


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RE: Undercabinet Lights Needed with Can Lights? (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: formula1 on 06.26.2007 at 10:45 am in Lighting Forum

We just finished our new home, with multiple 'layers' of lighting in the kitchen - round center fixture, assorted cans spaced over the countertops, 2 pendants over the island bar, and xenon puck lights under the cabinets. Due to the location of the can lights, there will be a little shadow under the cabinets and I often turn on the undercabinet lights as I'm working because of this. It would frustrate me NOT to have the undercabinet lighting.


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RE: Built in Microwave Issue-Please HELP!! (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: lascatx on 06.09.2007 at 12:17 am in Kitchens Forum

Now you can understand the popularity of the GE Spacemaker microwave (fits into a 12 or 13 inch deep cabinet and holds up to a dinner size plate) and the Sharp microwave drawer (fits in a 24 or 30 inch wide base cabinet and holds a 13x9 or larger -- costs more too).

Moving the microwace from its position around the island from all the other activity in our kitchen and wanting to clear the counter below enough to be able to use it were prime goals of our kitchen update. We had a micro that stuck out 21 inches and dropped down below the rest of the upper cabinets. The space below it was unusable except to catch clutter. The space beside it was too small to work at. We did rememdy the problem, but we wound up gutting the kitchen instead of updating. Microwaves can be surprisingly difficult. LOL

We got the drawer, by the way. Works well. Expensive, but it didn't ruin the layout. Good luck with yours.


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RE: Perhaps I was wrong about granite. (Follow-Up #15)

posted by: bellamay on 04.30.2007 at 11:05 pm in Kitchens Forum

This is a well established thread and you have received lots of good advice. I would like to add this to what everyone else has said. I agree that granite has become overused at all levels of housing and many of us are looking for an alternative. There are so many interesting stone products out there. We are in the midwest and there is a fabricator who uses is wonderful. Personally I have honed marble on one side of the kitchen and granite (boo, I am tearing it out) on the other. Look around and find something that expresses your taste.

My final design advice it to stay away from the big we call them in the industry. Absolute black, Uba tuba, The pink and speckled gray (many names) and Azure brown.
Lastly....don't use stainless steel appliances...

Take care.


clipped on: 06.26.2007 at 04:48 pm    last updated on: 06.26.2007 at 04:48 pm

RE: Order to remodeling a kitchen? (Follow-Up #2)

posted by: carrie2 on 06.12.2007 at 09:00 pm in Kitchens Forum

We didn't gut the kitchen to the framing, but we made some significant changes. Here is the order:

Kitchen demolished -- all appliances and cabinets gone.
Floors ripped out to subflooring.
Framing changes were made in three places, including moving pantry.
Plumber put gas line in.
Electrician made needed changes and additions.
Repairs were made to subflooring.
Window over kitchen sink was changed.
New sheetrock was hung where needed.
Ceiling and walls were primed.
Wood floors were installed, stained and given three coats of polyurethane.
The cabinets were installed.
The granite countertops were installed.
Plumber installed faucet.
Electricians installed outlets, switches and lighting.
Soffits were built over cabinets and primed.
Appliances were installed.
Trim work was finished.
Shelves were installed in pantry.
Backsplash was installed.
Kitchen was painted.

Gee, it sounds so fast and easy when I make a list like that.


clipped on: 06.26.2007 at 03:36 pm    last updated on: 06.26.2007 at 03:36 pm

RE: what kind of UC lights when valance for framed cabinets is 1. (Follow-Up #2)

posted by: svwillow1 on 06.15.2007 at 03:36 am in Kitchens Forum

Our light Valance measures just about 2" There is also another 1/2" recess under the cabinet. (The bottom on most cabinets is not flush with the frame.) We purchased Xenon line voltage fixtures by American Lighting in a mocha bronze finish. They are about 1 1/4" thick, and even before we attached the light valance, they could barely be seen, and the color blends in well with the cabinets.

Because they are line voltage they are fully dimable, but they already have a hi/lo switch so a dimmer isn't really needed. Purchased on the net at Pegasus Lighting.

Here is a link that might be useful: Xenon Fixtures


clipped on: 06.26.2007 at 03:15 pm    last updated on: 06.26.2007 at 03:15 pm

Amazing lighting deal and more

posted by: dianalo on 06.13.2007 at 09:01 pm in Kitchens Forum

Hey all,
I was peeking at Home Decorator's sale page at the over 80% off items. There are some lighting options that are dirt cheap. I will link below. If anyone is looking for some bar stools or seating, there are some good deals under the item of the week title.
Good luck!

Here is a link that might be useful: 80% off items


clipped on: 06.26.2007 at 03:12 pm    last updated on: 06.26.2007 at 03:12 pm

? about granite tile around stove

posted by: mommyniki on 06.18.2007 at 01:26 pm in Kitchens Forum

How did you do the edge piece around your stove? We planned on finishing it just the same as the rest, with a piece going vertically and butting up against the top piece, just not out as far. Problem is that our stove won't fit with how they put the cabinet in. The didn't allow for anything to go there. The cabinet guy came over today to look at it and he told me that I shouldn't put anything there. When I said that then the plywood and backerboard would be exposed he said that we wouldn't be able to see it anyway because the stove will be in the way. I told him that I wanted it there because from the front you will be able to see that it isn't finished. He then said that we would need to put a trim piece in so there isn't a gap between the cabinet and stove. Fine with me. I would just like to know what is proper way to do it. Am I out of my mind or is he?


clipped on: 06.26.2007 at 02:50 pm    last updated on: 06.26.2007 at 02:51 pm

Sea Gull lighting (Follow-Up #16)

posted by: jamesk on 05.21.2007 at 07:33 pm in Kitchens Forum


My electrician obtained all the necessary fixtures, transformers, etc. for my kitchen. I think perhaps they needed to be ordered, but I don't think it took long to get them.

For the angled plug mold, as I recall, an angled strip of wood was installed along the underside of the cabinets. The plug mold is attached to that. I really didn't pay too much attention when they were doing it -- but that's my recollection.



clipped on: 06.26.2007 at 02:48 pm    last updated on: 06.26.2007 at 02:48 pm

RE: lights + plugmold = big light rail? (Follow-Up #14)

posted by: sombreuil_mongrel on 05.21.2007 at 06:55 pm in Kitchens Forum

I'm gonna cry now. Why did you have to show me the picture of your switches undermounted in a shallow plugmold box, Sweeby? Huh? Why? You ruined my day. Ugh! Now I have switches in the backsplash for absolutely no reason. I never ever thought of undermounting them! I'm an IDIOT! ;-)


clipped on: 06.26.2007 at 02:46 pm    last updated on: 06.26.2007 at 02:46 pm

RE: lights + plugmold = big light rail? (Follow-Up #11)

posted by: jamesk on 05.21.2007 at 05:42 pm in Kitchens Forum

I have the Sea Gull linear strip lighting that Jeri mentions above. It's under the cabinets at the front edge.

At the back of the cupboards is angled plug mold. Naturally, the wiring for the lighting an plugmold was installed before the backsplash went in, but the plug mold wasn't installed until after the soapstone backsplash was in place.

The angled plug mold makes it possible to plug in appliances without having to crane my neck to find the outlets.

The upper cabinets have a about a 1-1/4" recess under them which is sufficient to hide everything. Here's a photo looking toward the cabinets.


clipped on: 06.26.2007 at 02:45 pm    last updated on: 06.26.2007 at 02:45 pm

RE: Illuminating wall art with recessed halogens (Follow-Up #3)

posted by: remodeler_matt on 06.25.2007 at 05:06 pm in Lighting Forum

Track lights are much easier to aim, and all of the light they produce is directed where you need it. Recessed lights have a lot of reflection coming out of the can, which is why they work better as general illumination.

Personally, recessed lights to me look like just a bunch of holes in the ceiling, and the more holes the less attractive. In other words, I'm a can hater. But even if I wasn't, I'd never recommend them for artwork. You'd have to spend about twice as much to get the same light quality as a good track fixture, and then you'd have higher operating costs and, if in an insulated ceiling, holes where heat can get in in the summer, and out in the winter.

It also depends on the size and type of art pieces you have. Bigger pieces benefit from ceiling-mounted fixtures, but smaller ones do better with dedicated picture lighting. Track lighting offers the flexibility to change your artwork layout occasionally as you acquire new pieces or want to move the old ones around. That's why we have them for our great "wall of art" (about 12' square) and our main hallway, which we have set up as a gallery space. We change the artwork about once a year.


clipped on: 06.26.2007 at 02:33 am    last updated on: 06.26.2007 at 02:36 am

Illuminating wall art with recessed halogens

posted by: joelmr on 06.25.2007 at 03:30 am in Lighting Forum

We're doing some remodelling and are adding recessed lighting in several areas of our house, mostly to illuminate artwork on walls or shelves. I've never lived in a house with recessed lighting, so I don't have much experience with it and I'm looking for some advice. I did some research here and elsewhere and decided that for maximum flexibility, I'd go with low-voltage cans. There appears to be much more variety in the low-voltage MR16 bulb than line-voltage. Also, my wife and I agree that we don't like the sort of trim where the bulb comes out down below the ceiling level, either the chameleon eyeball shape or the right-angle sort of adjustable thing. We prefer the sort that have maybe 30 degrees of adjustment, but where the bulb itself is completely recessed in the fixture.

So, here are the questions, well, #1 primarily:

1) How far from the wall should the fixture be?

2) What beam spread is best?

I actually dusted off my high school geometry and tried to figure out, given a particular painting size and height and possible aiming angle, how far away the fixture could be from the wall. Because we like the kind with less adjustment, if we want the light to cover a painting, it seems it actually needs to be rather close, like in the 18" range. I have seen very little in the way of suggestions on the web about this stuff, and what I've seen suggests 24" plus.

As for beam spread, it seems like I'd want one that isn't too narrow, and doesn't have really harsh edges, but that still highlights what it's pointed at. I have a cheapie Ikea torchiere that has a regular incandescent bulb pointing up, for washing a ceiling, and another bulb, a (line-voltage) halogen, pointing down at an angle for reading. I took the incandescent bulb and shade off, and just held the whole torchiere up as best I could to the ceiling, and pointed the halogen at a blank wall to see how it looked. There was quite a bit of banding in the light pattern, which was noticeable on the blank wall but I'm not sure it would be as visible on a painting. I figure the bulb that came with the (cheap) light would be a low-quality one, can I expect a higher quality bulb to give a nice even wash?

Speaking of "wash"ing, I also don't much like the "wall-washing" trims, which seem to be just a little eyelid sort of thing that covers up half of a regular trim. This seems like it would just waste half the light emitted by the bulb.

So, have any of you out there used recessed lighting for artwork on walls? Did you think about where it should go, and are you happy with the results? Thanks for your help.



clipped on: 06.26.2007 at 02:35 am    last updated on: 06.26.2007 at 02:36 am

RE: What do we chose!!!! - recessed lights (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: dim4fun on 06.24.2007 at 10:23 am in Lighting Forum

Lighting design is both science and art. Choosing a designer means finding one that creates a look you like. If this stuff is important to you then you need to interview designers to discuss your project and hopefully see their portfolio. You can get a pretty good idea of what you are going to get by looking at and discussing past projects which are similar to yours. If you are the interior designer then it is your responsibility to create the furniture plan and overall look of the home and find a lighting designer to carry it through with the end result of having enough light where you need it and for your art and furnishings to be well presented without the lighting becoming the star performer, good or bad.

When you walk into a retail store for a design you typically have just reduced your options to whatever it is they sell by whoever was available. The person helping you may be a very talented expert with extensive product knowledge and design skills, or not.

Lighting plans rarely make it into the home unchanged. Something will be in the way such as plumbing, ducts, beams. Unless you fully understand how these changes will affect the end result your designer should be consulted on any changes.

All fixture types have properties that make them good for some things and not so good for others. Recessed lighting is only one tool. The designer that wanted floor or table lamps in the living rooms knows that point source light from directly above casts shadows which is dramatic and great to show textures but terrible for lighting human faces. You and your guests would have lots of dark shadows. Recessed fixture(s) over the coffee table in front of the group of guests can work with another ring out further over the couches and chairs. Table lamps fill in with light from the side reducing the shadows from above. Lighting designers tend to blend different types and sources of light to achieve the goal. Halogen low voltage accent lighting is good at putting a punch of light on an object to pull your attention to it. It is not as good at general room lighting. But some very creative and talented people successfully use it for general room lighting because they like the size of the fixture and adjust-ability. Rules can be bent if one knows how.


clipped on: 06.26.2007 at 02:34 am    last updated on: 06.26.2007 at 02:34 am