View Full Version : Recessed Lighting
02-03-2003, 09:26 PM
I am getting close to wiring up the basement finishing project. This area will be a TV watching / play area for the kids. It is basically one big family room with a small excercise (treadmill and weight bench) area in the back.
I am trying to figure out the lighting scheme. I am planning on drywalling the ceiling and using recessed lights. The space is roughly 23x14 feet, and the ceiling will be a little more than 7 feet high.
Is there any kind of formula to figure out the amount of lighting needed for such an area? Or maybe a recommended candle output for this applicaiton? Or a rule of thumb like one recessed light every 4 feet?
I plan on installing dimmer switches so the lighting can be toned down as needed.
Thanks for any advice you can offer,
02-04-2003, 12:15 AM
I used can lights (recessed) in the basement ceiling for a media room ... oops I mean play room for the kids (I was allowed to think that it was going to be a multipurpose room with a big screen TV...hah, I've got small kids an there is nothing but toys, toys, toys!). It has been great for the kids and would not have it any other way now.
Anyway, I would suggest the following:
For lighting used halogen PAR spot lights. The bright white light is more like outdoor lighting, and makes it look less like a basement and more like another room in the house that has natural light.
I spaced my lights evenly about 6' apart.
Use additional can lights that you can direct as accent lights (fireplaces, pictures on the wall etc.)
Expect to use some incandescent lighting too. Stay away from the halogen torche lights. Kids like to make forts and will potentially cover them, making a fire hazard.
Install a 110 volt fire detector, and CO unit with battery backup.
If you are going to put in a pool, or air hockey table in the future, install a ceiling fixture in that spot now, and place an outlet in a location where you can plug it in the future.
Put the lights on a 3 or 4 way switch. Perhaps a couple of different switches. My shop is in the basement and someone usually turns the lights off to the rec room while I'm in the shop. Tripping over toys in the dark is not fun. :(
Insulate your water pipes so they don't sweat in the summer and wreck your drywall.
Relocate anything that you might have to access in the future - (Murphy is against you here)
Put a 2 1/2" PVC pipe in the ceiling where you can run low voltage cable, CAT5, CATV, Phone etc. in the future.
Have fun. :)
02-04-2003, 12:32 AM
For a room that size, I'd go with 5 or 6 for main lighting. Start with 4 for any room (one in each corner). Corner lights are usually placed 4 feet in from each wall, with adjustments made for joists, and in keeping them symmetrical. A fifth light can be added in the center of the room, or if using 6, place between 2 corner lights on long wall side.
Since you want to dim, go with halogen or incandescent. Dimming fluorescent lights are not quite perfected yet (IMHO).
When picking out cans, look carefully. Some need to be spaced from combustables and insulation, while others can be placed next to anything.
Now's the time to consider additional lights over game areas, reading areas, spots on entertainment centers, fireplace mantel, etc. While you're up there running wire, put in some speaker wires too. Ceiling speakers are out of the way. HTH.
02-04-2003, 09:27 PM
For situations such as yours, there's a term "grumbling line". In a nutshell, the idea goes like this:
Ya gotta find out what "projected angle" your can lights project - what size circle they'll illuminate on the floor with the light bulbs you plan to use. Be sure the ones nearest the walls are close enough to actually project some light on the wall. From there, space the lights out enough that the circles all overlap each other. Leave a dark spot someplace, and people will grumble about it.
-- Tim --