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· Registered
238 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My wife wants to light up the area under our covered porch.- accent lighting? A few questions:

It's about 27' long, the left area in front of dining room is something like 3' deep other than the bay window. The door area on the right is 8" deep. there was a single light over the front door that we removed and switched from right inside the front door. I'm envisioning that on/off switch being replaced with a timer so these lights are on till 11PM or so

1) We didn't know how many lights / what brightness / location to avoid bright spots / shadows. I jury rig hung some of the newer LED low profile lights (60w, 5 shades of white) from Home Depot about 1' from the front of the overhang. Surprisingly, it came out pretty good for shadows / even lighting? Do you have better idea than this? How would you have done it when it was the big cans (and old work / ceiling already in place)?

2) I put a dimmer on the system so we could play with the brightness. It needed to be turned down to get the lighting level my wife was looking for. Any idea how you would equate what 'wattage' / lumen lamps we should get to equal that brightness? Or just leave the dimmer in the loop?

3) Me personally, I think it looks a bit goofy - a dark house (maybe light from a window or 2) and the porch lit up. She likes it so... happy wife / happy life : ) but your thoughts? She doesn't want to light up the whole house. I had put 12v lights along the walk a few years ago and I think that's functional / looks good.

4) For the lights on the walk, I have a power outlet timer that powers the power pack starting at 2PM. The power pack has a light sensor that turns on the lights on the walk at dusk. Then the power outllet timer turns them off at 11PM how would you set things up so the porch lighting comes on at dusk and turns off at a set time?.... and maybe be able to override / turn the lights on at another time from that power switch on the inside of the front of the doors? So optimally, I'm looking for a dimmer, timer and on/off switch all in a 1 gang space.* Does that exist?


· Master Electrician
194 Posts
Lighting is personal choice.

You have accent (indirect) lighting, functional (task) lighting and security lighting. All three of these have a different purpose and different requirements.

If you are wanting the accent lighting, then you need to look at the architectural design and highlight the prominent points of the home. Usually this is windows, doors, etc or the spaces in between them to show custom brick work, design elements, etc. While they may have some value in the "task" portion of the lighting, that is not their intended purpose. Colour, brilliance and location is determine on the aspects you want to highlight.

Direct (task) lighting is installed in the area to prevent shadows on the work plane. In this case it is the walkway / porch area. The intent would be to be able to traverse the area safely in all weather conditions. Lighting is controlled when the task is required.

Security lighting is bright and ugly. It is intended to light up the dark (ugly) spots and display whatever is there. Typically these are operated either 24/7 or in a sensor.

You need to balance out the requirements / desires to get the best of all three worlds; there is not one size fits all.

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