Monday, February 17, 2014

Ask Randall: How Many Lumens Are Needed to Light a Room?

What to look for when selecting LED recessed lights.

This kitchen uses a combination of indirect LED lighting (located inside the box beams), recessed LED fixtures, LED puck lights and pendant lights to create a very usable and inviting space.

We are going to be using all 4-inch LED recessed lighting in our home and the output for the LEDs is a bit different than for standard incandescent recessed lights, so we are working to determine how many of the LED fixtures we need in each space. My feeling is that we are going to need to increase the number of recessed fixtures per room. Do you have a list you could share of the recommended lumens per square foot for different residential spaces?
You may have read my rants in earlier columns about using a grid pattern of recessed fixtures as a substitute for proper lighting design. The best way is to start with a furniture plan to see where the illumination is needed. These recessed fixtures should be adjustable and only used for accent lighting of art, tabletops, plants, sculpture etc. They shouldn't be used for general illumination or over seating areas since they cast very hard shadows. You then layer this accent lighting with other sources of illumination that provide decorative, task and ambient light. The illumination for kitchens should be just as thoughtful. They are today’s gathering place for casual entertaining, so the lighting should be as inviting as the other rooms.
The world is changing quickly as LEDs are becoming more accepted by the general public. Part of the learning process is to not look at wattage but to look at lumen output. Up until LEDs were introduced, I would normally use a recessed adjustable low voltage fixture with a 50W MR16 lamp. These halogen lamps produce 800 lumens. Make sure that the MR16 LED lamps or integrated LED components select have a similar or higher lumen output.
Be aware that LEDs do not get warmer in color when dimmed, which is what incandescent lighting does, and what we are used to experiencing. I tend to add a warming filter to our LED products to change the color temperature from 2700K or 3000K to 2400K. This is the color of dimmed incandescent. Here is the big news: Lucifer Lighting is going to be introducing is a recessed adjustable fixture with integral LED components that will give you the ability to set the color temperature within each fixture or appear to get warmer in color when dimmed, while maintaining a high CRI. I think that this is where the future of LED lighting is headed.


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Randall Whitehead, IALD
Randall Whitehead, IALD, is a professional lighting designer and author. His books include "Residential Lighting, A Practical Guide." Whitehead has worked on projects worldwide, appeared on the Discovery Channel, HGTV and CNN, and he is regular guest on Martha Stewart Living Radio. Visit his website www.randallwhitehead.com and follow his blog www.lightmakesright.com for more information on books, upcoming seminars and the latest lighting trends.
 
 

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Ask Randall: Bathroom Lighting for a Sloped Ceiling


   
  
Our expert recommends indirect dimmable LED lighting.
sgc
sgc
Q: We've just finished our master bathroom. As you can see in the picture we have provided, the ceiling slopes up toward the center of the ceiling. We put in 6-inch recessed adjustable fixtures, but the room still feels dark at night. What can we do to improve the lighting?

 A: I noticed in your photo that you have blackout shades and no mirror over the vanity. Is it possible that you are a vampire? I'm not judging; just curious. I can see that your sloped ceiling is shaped like a shallow pyramid. The recessed fixtures are not doing much other than creating Dark Shadows on your face. They do nothing to enhance the architectural detail of the ceiling. My recommendation would be to install a perimeter cantilever or crown molding detail to hide some indirect dimmable LED lighting. This will create an overall glow while accentuating the pitched ceiling. The recessed fixtures can be taken out. The new perimeter lighting, in combination with the chandelier and the wall sconces above the vanity, will do a good job of creating a cozy sanctuary where you can sleep until nightfall.
sgc

 

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sgc
Randall Whitehead, IALD, is a professional lighting designer and author. His books include "Residential Lighting, A Practical Guide." Whitehead has worked on projects worldwide, appeared on the Discovery Channel, HGTV and CNN, and he is regular guest on Martha Stewart Living Radio. Visit his website www.randallwhitehead.com and follow his blog www.lightmakesright.com for more information on books, upcoming seminars and the latest lighting trends.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

More Great Advice From Randall!


Sizing Light Fixtures
Helpful advice for calculating proportional decorative lighting based on a room's dimensions.

Question: 
What is the rule of thumb for determining the size of a chandelier or pendant fixture for a given space? I have a 25-by-30-foot area over a stairwell and I don't want too large or too small a fixture. If you could help me out, it would make me very happy. 
Answer: 
Just think of me as verbal Prozac. Try this formula: Add the dimensions of the width and length of the foyer area together. This number will be the measurement in inches what the width of your fixture should be. Based on the dimensions that you have given me, I think you should be looking at a chandelier that is 55 inches in diameter. The length will be a little bit harder to determine, as it depends on the ceiling height. Taller ceilings can take longer fixtures. Somebody in your family or your contractor could make a mock-up out of wooden dowels and strings to get a feel for what the fixture would look like in the space.

Randall Whitehead, IALD, is a professional lighting designer and author. His books include "Residential Lighting, A Practical Guide." Whitehead has worked on projects worldwide, appeared on the Discovery Channel, HGTV and CNN, and he is regular guest on Martha Stewart Living Radio. Visit his websitewww.randallwhitehead.com and follow his blog www.lightmakesright.com for more information on books, upcoming seminars and the latest lighting trends.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Ask Randall: Recessed Lighting in a Living Room

Supplementing Recessed Lighting in a Living Room
Living Room Lighting
Q: I recently installed eight recessed downlights in my 16-by-16-foot living room -- three rows of three, two and three. I used Halo 6-inch LED lights that have an 8-foot beam spread from a 9-foot ceiling. The room is super bright and awesome.
 
A: This is more of a declaration than it is a question. I’m still trying to process the lighting installed in your living room. I had to lie on the floor in a darkened space just to create a mentally safe environment. This lighting would be "awesome" if you were interrogating eight prisoners all at the same time. Have you learned nothing, Grasshopper? Your living room must feel like an alien spacecraft is just about to land and tractor beam you up for a quick probe. I applaud you for using an LED source. All I am asking for is that you use some other sources of illumination in the space, too. Since you have a 9-foot ceiling, consider installing one or two pendants. Maybe add a pair of sconces flanking a tall piece of furniture or a painting. The journey to good lighting begins with a single step light
 
randall_whitehead
Randall Whitehead, IALD
Randall Whitehead, IALD, is a professional lighting designer and author. His books include "Residential Lighting, A Practical Guide." Whitehead has worked on projects worldwide, appeared on the Discovery Channel, HGTV and CNN, and he is regular guest on Martha Stewart Living Radio. Visit his websitewww.randallwhitehead.com and follow his blog www.lightmakesright.com for more information on books, upcoming seminars and the latest lighting trends.
 
 
 

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Residential Lighting: Ask Randall


Sufficient Lighting for a Master Bathroom

The question is not whether two ceiling-mounted fixtures will offer "enough light" for a master bath, but whether that approach is "enough" period, says our expert.


Q. I am planning to install two ceiling-mount fixtures in my master bath. Each fixture will accommodate 100W. Do you feel that this will be a sufficient amount of light?

A. You know how I feel about trying to make one type of light fixture do all of the work. This is the master bath, your very special and personal domain. Do you really want to be back-lit by 200W of light when looking in the mirror? Your face will be in silhouette, like on a news program where they are trying to protect your identity.

Install a pair of vanity lights, flanking the mirror, mounted at 5 feet 6 inches above the finished floor. This will provide even task lighting for your face. I'm fine with you keeping the two ceiling-mounted fixtures, but I am recommending that you put them and the sconces on dimmers. No one needs to be blasted with light, especially first thing in them morning. Finding that stray false eyelash attached to your shoulder is horrifying enough.



 

Randall Whitehead, IALD, is a professional lighting designer and author. His books include "Residential Lighting, A Practical Guide." Whitehead has worked on projects worldwide, appeared on the Discovery Channel, HGTV and CNN, and he is a regular guest on Martha Stewart Living Radio. Visit his website (www.randallwhitehead.com) and follow his blog (www.lightmakesright.com) for more information on books, upcoming seminars and the latest lighting trends.