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procon 12-16-2013 03:01 PM

How Bright Should Living Room Fixtures Be?
I'm working on a project to add light to my living room and am hoping for some advice. My most fundamental question is how many bulbs to add. In reading this HGTV article, it sounds like ambient light levels should be no more than 3,000 lumens. However, since lumens are "lost" when light bounces off the walls and ceilings. Any thoughts on what that loss would be, and therefore how bright to make the bulbs?

(FYI, I'm planning on building low profile valance-style fixtures to provide indirect light off the ceiling. These would be horizontal fixtures along the wall. 1" below the ceiling that could be 18' on one side of the living room and 8' on the other. I've attached some pictures (which are easiest to see in gallery view) and happy to sketch out the overall plan, such as it is. I'm planning on using low-voltage "flat wire" that is nearly invisible when painted over.)

Thanks again for the guidance!

gregzoll 12-16-2013 04:42 PM

Forget everything you have read, watched or heard on HGTV. Around 530 Lux is usually what it is where I sit at. The bulb is a 12/22/33w 6500k cfl, that I normally have at the 22 watt level.

The colors on our Panasonic Plasma, which has been calibrated, looks better with the 6500k lighting. All bulbs in our house are 6500k cfl.

procon 12-17-2013 01:42 PM


So, it sounds like you may be using about 1,200 lumens of light. I'll use that as a starting point, thanks.

It sounds like I could estimate how many lumens I need to get to ~530 lux based on the living room's sq. footage, but it may also be easier to just install the bigger one first and see what I'm missing. If the room is too dark, I can move the transformer over to the smaller one and just add more lights and a larger transformer to the bigger one.

Thanks again for the guidance.

gregzoll 12-17-2013 02:31 PM

My living room is approx. 14x16, with a dark Red color on the walls, with a White ceiling. With the lighting and wall color, it actually works out very well for watching movies and TV on our Plasma.

mondaywest 12-21-2013 12:51 PM

use CFL or LED
Living room is the main room where we spend our leisure time. Living room light should be CFL or LED . CFLs trend offer good light coverage. LEDs are great for more decorational light.

alexjoe 12-22-2013 12:12 PM

I agree with this guy.

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