Friday, July 17, 2009

What Every Homeowner Should Know About Minimum Lighting Requirements

Author: Jessica Ackerman

A 1620 Plymouth Pilgrim transported in time to the future in
2009 would be pleasantly surprised to find - not the all-purpose
Betty lamps lighting up homes, but lights that not only seem to
issue from nowhere, and which become brighter or darker as if by
magic, but lights of many kinds illuminating rooms in a variety
of tones and intensities. Indeed, there's so much available in
the market today that the Pilgrims of five centuries ago might
be, in a sense, lucky. Having only the Betty lamp, they have a
much easier task lighting their homes than any modern man.

In spite of that, it remains doubtful whether anyone would
exchange places with the Pilgrims and their Betty lamps. In the
area of home lighting, as in probably all other areas of
endeavor, modern man never had it so good. Here are a few more
things you, the modern home decorator, needs to know about


Wall-mounted bracket lights should be enough to illuminate the
area outside the door to enable those inside to see the person
outside. Back entrances should be similarly lighted.

Entry Halls

A 15-watt floodlamp recessed into the ceiling should be enough
to light up a 75-square foot space.


The average hall can be lighted using 40- to 80-watt
incandescents recessed into the ceiling every 10 feet.

Living Rooms

The average-sized living room must have at least four table or
floor lamps of between 100- and 150-watts for table lamps, and
between 150- and 500-watts for the floor lamps. To give enough
background light and to eliminate shadows when using task
lighting, each wall must have around 200 watts. Lamps tasked
with lighting up an entire corner should deliver at least 200

Dining Rooms

Incredibly, chandeliers are best placed in dining rooms. The
chandelier and the dining table are a veritable visual feast and
are the piece de resistance in some homes. Of course, the chief
piece of furniture, the table, has to be lighted. Do this by
having low-wattage recessed downlights on either side of the
chandelier or pendant. Round everything off to perfection using
candles on the table, placed high enough so that the diners
don't have to look through the flame. Often, the dining table
doubles as a study table or a work surface, so illumination from
either the center fixture or other lamps must be increased.
Pendants must be 30 to 36 inches from the table top, and must
have at least 150-watts.


A relatively low-watt, glare-free ceiling fixture is recommended
for the bedroom which is used not only for sleeping, but also
for reading, writing, and sewing. Small bedrooms should make do
with 40-watts, while bigger ones need 100-watts. Mirrors and
dressing tables might have bracket lights. A wall candle holder
on each side of your mirror or dressing table would also be
perfect. It'd also be good to have retractable 100-watt reading
lights on a three-way switch. This reading lamp should be
installed 12 inches from the bed , level with the reader's
shoulder. Use a 100-watt recessed in closets.


Have a central light of at least 150-watts for general
illumination. To avoid the potentially dangerous shadows a
single central light brings, the stove, sink, and counter tops
have to be illuminated separately with at least 40-watts each.

Laundry, Workshop, Garage

In the laundry or home workshop, either fluorescent or
incandescent light may be used over the work area or workbench;
same with the garage.


The mirror is an important lighting center in the bathroom, and
is illuminated using either bracket lights or encircling light
of 60-watt incandescent. Often this should be enough in a small
bathroom, although recessed ceiling lights of 100-watts should
be had as well. If yours is a big bathroom, consider a pair of
wall candle holders bracketing your bathroom mirror.

Study Rooms or Dens

These receive the same lighting provisions as the living room if
as big.

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