Whether building new, remodeling old, or simply updating trends of a decade ago, there are certain areas where lighting is left as a side note. Lighting these areas can transform them into spaces that are more functional and enjoyable to spend time.
Often garage lighting is a bare bulb in the middle of the ceiling with only the light of the garage door opener to offer assistance. However, times are changing. According to the New York Times, the garage is the “final frontier in home renovation.”
Lighting can help change a space for parked cars into a workshop, a mechanic shop, a space for hobbies, or even a roller skating rink. For maximum lighting, add 4-foot-long florescent lights, or LED tube lights, to the ceiling at a spacing of one every four feet. Choose 4-foot-long fixtures that house electronic ballasts with T8 tubes. The predecessors, T12 tubes, don’t work as well in cold temperatures, don’t produce an accurate color of light, often flicker and consume more energy.
Recessed can lights are another option for lighting a garage, giving it a more sleek and modern look. When placing cans, keep work areas in mind. Also, be sure not to skip placing them in the portion of the ceiling the garage door covers as work is often done in garages at night with the door down. If the ceiling of the garage is 10-feet-tall, you will want to space your recessed lights about five feet apart.
Task lighting is important if your garage is multi-purpose – if it doubles as a woodshop or fly-tying station. Under-cabinet light fixtures for workbenches and other work spaces are great for providing additional task lighting.
These days some opt for additional decorative lighting, such as vintage mechanic pendants to give their garage the feel of a mechanic’s shop from days gone by.
Laundry room lights
The laundry room is another area where there’s often only a single light fixture placed in the middle of the room. Even though it’s not usually a bare bulb, it still isn’t enough light. A minimum of two to three recessed can lights are recommended to adequately light a laundry room.
Under-cabinet lights for tasks come in handy here too – placed over the washer and dryer or countertops. If under-cabinet lighting is not possible, consider gimbal rings for your recessed lights. Gimbal rings will allow you to angle the light so that it can be positioned to areas you need it most.
One of the most overlooked aspects of laundry room lighting are the light bulbs themselves. Although natural light is best, it’s not always an option. If you don’t have natural light, or if laundry is done in the evenings, choose bulbs that are close in color to daylight (around 5500K). If you want to see stains, though the Kelvin rating is important, the most important rating of the bulb is where it falls on the Color Rendering Index. The CRI is a scale from 1 to 100, with a rating of 100 showing colors at the same level as daylight. A CRI close to 100 will allow you to see slight distortions in colors as well as if you were standing in direct sunlight. Fluorescent bulbs often fall low on that scale, with cool white fluorescents having a CRI of 60, whereas LED bulbs often have higher CRIs, ranging anywhere from 80 to 95 on the CRI scale. The back of the packaging doesn’t always provide the CRI rating, but in the laundry room, it’s worth finding one that does.
Last but not least…
Don’t forget a light over the shower and bathtub, one in large closets or pantries or deep cabinets, one in the attic, and ceiling fans in bedrooms and main living areas to save on air conditioning and heating costs. Thinking about these things before you begin a project will not only save time and money down the road, it will save headaches today.