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Old 04-15-2008, 03:16 PM   #1
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Lighting Estimate

I'm looking for a lighting calculator for a room 36'x 12'. Wife wants 4" cans with a 50 watt limit per can. The rooms are kitchen(13'x13') and livingroom(13'x23'). I had planned putting around 16 recessed lights in the area. I would just like to confirm the plan before wiring it up. I can't seem to find a lumen calculator online.
They would be on 4 separate switches


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Old 04-15-2008, 03:33 PM   #2
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Most designers don't use calculators. We just eyeball it from experience.

Put the cans where you NEED the light as opposed to loading the ceiling up with evenly spaced cans.

20 to 24 inches off the walls over counter top work spaces.

12 to 18 inches off the wall for artwork.

6 inches off a focal rock or brick wall or fireplace. This adds texture via shadows.

Place lights over sofas/chairs for reading.

Remember that you are trying to achieve the total effect of the light, not just how they layout on the ceiling.

Buy a fixture and hook it up to an extension cord and hold it to the ceiling to get a good idea of the light it will cast


Last edited by 220/221; 04-15-2008 at 03:35 PM.
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Old 04-15-2008, 05:24 PM   #3
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as my designer wife reminds me.....don't forget to put in the floor plug for the lamp.......
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Old 04-15-2008, 06:22 PM   #4
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4" cans suck for general light. Use them for accent light and 6" cans for general light.

Lighting a room that big with 4" cans will look terrible also IMO. You'd need about 25 of them.

I would especially NOT use them in the kitchen. Use at least 5" R30 cans over the counters.
Sometimes I feel like if I answer any more questions it is like someone trying to climb over a fence to jump off a bridge and me giving them a boost.
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Old 04-15-2008, 06:55 PM   #5
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You might consider track lighting. You can move, redirect, upsize and add to etc. with tracklighting to achieve the exact lighting effect you want. Your stuck with cans.

We've actually utilized both. I have cans over the bar and in the kitchen area placed specifically over work zones. Tracklighting and spots take care of the great room and by having them on dimmers, the lighting possibilities are endless.
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