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Lighting design for narrow low ceiling living room

Posted by reason2c (My Page) on
Mon, Jun 28, 10 at 21:57

I'm in the process of renovating a classic new england cape. It has an 11'x22' back to front living room. The ceilings are only 7' 6". There are two windows on one side of the room, two open doorways to the front hall and kitchen on the other, a door to the porch at the rear, and a fireplace in the front flanked by shelves and windows.

We only just bought the house and have not lived there, but planned to use lighting to make this room feel more welcoming and inviting. We do a fair bit of small group (6-12 people) entertaining, watch television, reading, and laptopping on the couch. The room will also contain my desk, and more bookshelves with a reading space. So I'm particularly interested in advice about what lighting is the most flexible.

I've attached a plan of the room with furniture, as well as a plan without furniture and with our current thoughts on lights. There are a few questions:

1) Is it reasonable to use 5" recessed lights with eyeball trim to light the fireplace and a piece of art hanging over it? Two lights on one dimmer switched near the front hall door.

2) Are 5" recessed downlights reasonable for the desk and reading area? If not, what would be better? Can we put them on a single dimmer switched from the kitchen door, or is three-waying them to a switch by the front door appropriate?

3) In the center of the room, we are considering 4 recessed downlights around the edge of the room, as shown. They would be on a third dimmer. But we have also considered a semi-flush-mount fixture for the center of the room, as alternative. What do people think? If we go with recessed lights, how far from the walls should they be mounted? The ones in the picture are 24" off the walls.

Anything else we should be considering for this living room?

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Lighting design for narrow low ceiling living room

How about track lighting to highlight the fireplace?

I would place the recessed lights ~ 30 inches away from the wall in a pattern.

4" recessed can lighting may be nicer.

Are you considering LEDs?

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