Need lighting suggestions

whammo77August 21, 2013

I recently purchased my parent's old home (both parents are now passed). My dad designed and built the place back in 1970. It's a great house, but I know from living in it and being around it all my life that there are some things in it that just don't work well. One of these things was having a seperate family room and living room. The living room was never used for anything, it was just a waste of space. Soooo... I have decided to remove the wall that seperates them and make one HUGE living room.It will be 25' x 30'.

I had it looked at and a beam engineered to carry the weight of the load bearing wall that seperates them so I can remove the load bearing wall. I also bulked up both ends to be able to carry the new load. Yesterday I installed the new 26 ft glue-lam beam. This weekend I will be tearing out the wall.

I am kinda lost on what to do with the lighting tho. The living room only has two lamps in it (no ceiling lights). The family room has one ceiling fan with a light kit. Both rooms have always been very dark and dreary, especially at night.

I thought about installing can lights, but after doing the math from everything I have read (which essentially means 1 can light per every 4 foot), that means I would need about 48 can lights!!!! EEK! No no no..... That's too many lights, and way too much wiring. My ceiling would look like swiss cheese and my attic would look like a spaghetti factory.

I have had friends in the construction industry suggest I be more "specific" about my lighting, taking furniture and what-not into consideration. Not sure I want to do that, because down the road I may want to buy different furniture/rearrange the room and not get "trapped" by the lighting I have installed. I also want to limit the "intrustion" of light fixtures down into the space because the house only has 8 ft ceilings (hence why I had originally wanted can lights).

I have attached a picture of the original plan of the two rooms, along with the foyer (which is also going away and becoming a part of the large living room).

The wall the fireplace is on is the east wall and is 25 ft long (and has a huge patio behind it so you don't get a lot of light from the one window on that wall). The north and south walls are 25 ft.

I would appreciate any suggestions!

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Sorry, the first pic came out blurry. Here is a better one.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2013 at 8:51PM
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How did you come up with 48 lights? A living area not intended for detailed work need only be lit to no more than ~ 20 lumens per sq ft.

Assuming the upper limit of 20 lumens, you're looking at ~ 24 cans. The number could be further reduced since the center of the room need not be lit.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2013 at 9:09PM
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Everything I have read suggests that in a room with 8 ft ceilings, that the cans should be placed 4 ft apart, starting approximately 2 ft off the walls.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2013 at 9:32PM
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That depends on the illumination requirements of the space. If you're lighting a kitchen primarily with recessed cans, you might want to space the cans closer.

Otherwise, the cans should be spaced further apart.

Here is a link that might be useful: recessed LED lighting discussion

    Bookmark   August 21, 2013 at 10:10PM
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Maybe think outside of the box:

- Recessed t5 fluorescent troffers
- crown moulding lighting
- sconce uplights along the walls

    Bookmark   August 21, 2013 at 10:18PM
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I am here because I need to think "outside the box"....

    Bookmark   August 22, 2013 at 1:20AM
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