How many lights?


Old 10-25-04, 04:03 PM
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How many lights?

I am finishing my basement and am finishing the planning for the electical and lighting. The main room will be 20'x24' and my plan is to use it as a general play room and long-term for home theater. Lighting will be a combination or recesses can lighting for general use and also some sort of low-level indirect light for when we do home theater.

For general light I have found several guidelines. One book recommends 6 lumens/sqft, another recommends 1.5 watts/sqft, and the Cooper (halo) Lighting website recommends spacing 75W R30 lamps 5 foot apart with an 8 foot ceiling. That would be at least 20 lights (my layout would require 24) which calculates out to about 3.75 watts/sqft or 35 lumens/sqft. Both seem consistent with my initial impression of "that is way too many lights".

Has anyone done this before and if so, what did you end up with?
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Old 10-25-04, 04:56 PM
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: United States
Posts: 18,497
I recommend more lights than you might think you need. Recessed lights don't spread their light very efficiently, so you'll need a few more. I recommend you use 65-watt bulbs rather than 75-watt bulbs. Five-foot spacing might be a bit more than you need. I'd put three rows down the 24-foot length (one row down the center, and one row 40 inches from each wall), using four lights in each row (the first one 3 feet from the wall, and every six feet thereafter). That'll mean 12 cans. Put them on dimmers (at least two, maybe three) for the times you need less light. But you'll need all that light when your kids do a craft project.

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