How Many Lumens Do I Need?

Apr 13, 12 How Many Lumens Do I Need?

If you’ve been to a home improvement store within the past 6 months, you’ve noticed household incandescent bulbs have given way to new, sometimes unfamiliar technologies. You may find a couple “full spectrum” incandescents or Halogen floodlights, but other than those, compact fluorescent and LED bulbs line the shelves. Long gone are the days of throwing your favorite brand of 60-watt light bulb in your cart and being on your way. No, you may not even be sure which funny-looking 60-watt equal light bulb you need.

Before buying a CFL or LED light bulb, get rid of any notions you have about incandescent equivalencies. How many times have you bought a 60-watt equal CFL or LED only to be disappointed by how dim it was (or blinded by how nauseatingly bright it was)? Because there is no agreed-upon standard among manufacturers for determining equivalent wattages, statements of incandescent equivalency for CFLs and LEDs are not always dependable. So to light your home the way you intend, stop thinking about watts and start thinking about lumens.

If you read our previous article on lumens, candlepower and CRI, you may remember the definition of lumens. If not, here’s the gist: “Lumens…represent the actual amount of ambient light coming from a lamp. The higher the lumens, the more ‘lit up’ a room will be.” However, while a definition of lumens is nice, if you’re like us, you’re probably asking the real question, “How many lumens do I need to light up my room?” The answer will vary based on the design and color scheme of your room, but here is good rule of thumb, loosely based on the IESNA Lighting Handbook:

Floors: 20 Lumens per Square Foot

Tables and Raised Surfaces: 30 Lumens per Square Foot

Desks and Task Lighting: 50 Lumens per Square Foot

For the average living room of 250 square feet, you’ll need 5,000 lumens as your primary light source (20 lumens x 250 square feet), equivalent to about five 100 watt incandescent light bulbs, five 23 watt CFLs, or eight 10 watt LED light bulbs. Since you probably read on your couch, you’ll also need about 4 square feet of task lighting on each end of the couch. That’s 200 lumens each (50 lumens x 4 square feet), but you’ll need more if the light source is a lamp with a shade. In your dining room, you’ll want about 30 lumens per square foot on your dining table (you want to see your food, but not examine it), so if your table is 6 x 3 feet, that’s 540 lumens.

Room Layout

Create Your Own Room Layout at FloorPlanner.com

Keep in mind, however, that these numbers are for typical conditions. If you have especially dark walls and furniture, you’ll need brighter light sources. The distance of your light source from the surface also changes the equation. We based our calculations on 8-foot ceilings and average height task lamps. Finally, personal preference will play the largest part in your decision. If you like the room to be especially bright, you may want to add 10 to 20% to our numbers. In fact, the best idea for any home may be to aim high and install dimmers to bring the light level down to where you want it.

So how much have you thought about how many lumens you need for your home? Are our numbers too high or two low? Let us know in the comments below, on our Facebook or Twitter, or even post a photo of your home on Pinterest and share it with us!

 

1000Bulbs.com

Benjamin is a writer for 1000Bulbs.com.

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155 Comments

  1. Tom Friend /

    To replace the bulb I have, I need an LED that produces 900 Lumens. Have yet to see same.

    • Benjamin /

      Well, Tom, you’ve come to the right place! We have 3 different 800 lumen warm white LED bulbs as well as this 5000K 945 lumen LED bulb.

      We also have a 1000 lumen Cree LED downlight. If you’re using recessed cans, the downlight is one of the best investments you’ll ever make. The Cree LR6 series is pretty much the gold standard for interior LED luminaires.

      • Bill /

        Benjamin
        I am a dermatologist.
        To get really good bright light for examining patients, I have three small floods on a track above my examining tables, and these also act as surgery tables for minor procedures.
        Problem is that for extended procedures, these are HOT. Especially if I am standing instead of sitting – procedures vary. We have only 8 foot (hard) ceilings.
        Do you have any high-output LEDs that would provide the same illumination, less heat, and would fit on track?

        • Benjamin Rorie /

          I’m sure we do, but I would need a little more information about the bulbs.

          Are they halogen or incandescent, what is the wattage, and what is the diameter of the bulbs?

          • Bill /

            I’ll have to get back to you – I’m home today and will in the office to check tomorrow and get back to you.
            Thanks for the swift reply. FWD

      • Richello Rulona /

        Mr. Benjamin, I need a 400 watts flood light in a workshop with 3000 sq..m. area, my question is how many flood lights would I install? How to easily calculate it? Thank you.

        • Thanks for the question Richello. There are a lot of factors that go into calculating exactly what you need for the right lighting. to start with, exact measurements of the room and where things are placed. The easiest thing to do, and what we recommend, is to consult a lighting engineer who can physically look at the room you want lit.

  2. Horst Wolf /

    Great article you wrote! I understood every word! Now can you educate us a bit on the “temperature” of a light? I see “warm”, “cool”, “bright”, “daylight” and even temperatures (in the 1000s of degrees) on some lamps and tubes. What’s useful for what? For reading, for painting, for drinking wine, for driving a car, for “looking good,” and so on. I think some general wpeopleords in SIMPLE ENGLISH would be very helpful to people like me – and I think there are many like me.

    Thanks in advance,

    Horst

    • Benjamin Rorie /

      Great question, Horst, and one we’ll need to address more in an upcoming post, but the (kinda) short version is this:

      Lighting color is measured in degrees Kelvin, which has nothing to do with what you and I usually think of as the ambient hot/cold temperature of our surroundings. In fact, it goes backwards: The higher the color temperature, the more blue (cool) light gets. At the lower end, light will be “warmer,” meaning more yellow or even red.

      The standard for household lighting is 2700K, which is what most incandescent bulbs are. Many people (including myself) like to use that color everywhere as it feels inviting and is flattering to skin tones. However, some people find that higher color temperatures are better for task lighting. It’s not uncommon to see color temperatures of 4000, 5000, or even 6000K used in offices, for example. Very high color temperatures are often referred to as “full spectrum” or “daylight” because they approximate the color of light outdoors on bright, sunny day.

      Automotive lighting is more complicated (and controversial), so I’ll have to reserve my comments until I have a chance to look into it more.

  3. Tom Friend /

    Next Question. Are you aware of either Edison or (say) San Diego Gas and Electric doing co-purchases where buy they pay for about 80% of the costs of the bulbs to cut electrical use?

    • Benjamin Rorie /

      I am aware of programs like that, though not those in particular. Why?

    • Benjamin Rorie /

      Here is a good resource for finding energy rebates with the Energy Star program. Just put in your zip code, check the appropriate boxes, and click “Locate Special Offers/Rebates.”

      Energy Star Rebates

  4. Doug /

    Most of my outside lighting takes “candlabra” base. I have to get on a ladder to change these bulbs which frequently go out in my fixtures. Do the LED’s do better, and what measure for output to use to get the appropriate lighting?

    • Benjamin Rorie /

      I’m not sure what type of fixture you have outdoors, but it sounds like you may be talking about post lanterns or hanging pendant lanterns. They’re the only outdoor lights I can think of that use candelabra bases.

      LEDs will certainly last longer than the incandescent bulbs you’re using, and we have a good selection of LED candelabra bulbs. None of them are brighter than about 70 lumens though (equal to about a 15 watt incandescent).

      The lumen output you need will depend on what function the fixtures serve. If they are primarily decorative, the LEDs are a great choice, but if they are there for safety, I suggest sticking with long life incandescent or Halogen because of the much higher lumen output.

      Send me some photos of your fixtures to brorie@1000bulbs.com and maybe I can get you a better idea of what you need.

  5. ryan /

    Hey, i appreciate your blog, i have a critical question that i need you to answer…please. I am looking to hang 12 Chandeliers, each with 3 – 940 lumen bulbs. The Ceilings are from 12 ft sloping down to about 10 1/2 ft. Will this be good, or am i over/under kill on ample coverage, it is for our fellowships main assembly area. Lots of reading of our Creator’s Word up in there. Please help this is my first time crunching numbers for lighting.

    Thanks sooooooooo much,
    ryan

    • Benjamin Rorie /

      Ryan,

      Unfortunately, there are way too many controllable and uncontrollable factors that come into play with an installation like that. The footcandles produced by the fixtures, the distance of the light source from the ground, and the color and reflectance of your walls and furniture are just a few that come to mind. You really need to consult a lighting designer who can come to your location for an installation like that.

      However, I can give you a few pointers…

      In general, I would advise against using chandeliers as your main lighting source, even if you’re using that many. Even though the bulbs create 940 lumens each, those bulbs are pointed upward, so if your ceiling is not particularly reflective, a good percentage of that light will be wasted. Chandeliers also cast shadows, which is extremely bad for reading.

      My suggestion is to use recessed downlights as your main light source and use the chandeliers simply as accents. This is a much better, and probably cheaper alternative.

  6. ryan /

    Oh, critical addition, the square footage is 792 sq. ft.

    • jozhe /

      You need at least 16 chandeliers and a white ceiling if you are going to use only chandeliers.

  7. Roger Riggenbafj /

    Would like to use a CFL in porch lights. Now use 3 incandescent, but need CFL’s that have equal amount of lumens so to light up the front of the house and are able to file in a small space that the fixture allows. Any suggestions?

    Thanks

    Roger Riggenbach

    • Benjamin Rorie /

      Hi Roger,

      What is the wattage of the bulbs you are using now?

  8. sudha /

    Hi,

    I need a flastlight which emits light for a distance of 15 kilometers. could you please suggest what is the lumens that i need in order to serve my purpose.

    • Benjamin Rorie /

      Sudha,

      I don’t think a flashlight like that exists. 15 kilometers is a very, very long distance. The brightest flashlight I’ve ever heard of is 20,000,000 candlepower, but that won’t even go that 9+ miles.

      My suggestion is to look into lights used in hunting and choose a cordless spotlight with the highest candlepower. Candlepower is a better measurement than lumens in this case as it is most used in the industry.

  9. Chris Ebbers /

    I’m considering replacing the fluorescent lights in our backlit sign with LEDs. There are currently 3 T12 HO 60″ bulbs. How do I figure out how many LED lights I need for equivalent light? I have looked at 3 and 4 light LED modules, but I don’t know how many to get.
    Thanks!

    • Benjamin Rorie /

      Sorry for the late reply, Chris. This one was a tough one to answer. Unfortunately, 1000Bulbs.com does not carry a product that meets your specifications, so answering with complete accuracy is difficult.

      I would recommend doing two things: check out this GE LED Tetra PowerGrid Data Sheet and consult a local lighting distributor or a local sign contractor about the possibility of installing this technology type. If you are located in Dallas, we recommend Texas Electrical.

      • I am building a display box, similar to a “light box” but with the display art mounted on the back, and lighting the art from the front. The boxes are about 28″ w X 40″ h. Not sure how deep I need to make them, probably would depend on the type of light source. Any ideas or light suggestions? Thank you.

  10. Michael /

    Hi, great site…

    Wondered if you could answer a question: I just moved into an apartment that has a light fixture that recommends using 60 watt bulbs. Is it OK if I use a 100 watt CFL replacement that only uses 23 watts?

    Also, the fixture is covered and holds two bulbs, but the last tenant had one 60 watt bulb in it. The room is about 13×15 and I find the light a bit pale and yellow. Based on your math above, I would have to use 2 100 watt CFLs, correct? The CFL bulbs are listed as 1750 lumens.

    Thanks for you help.

    • Benjamin Rorie /

      Thanks, Michael and great question, too!

      Yes, technically you can use a 100W equivalent CFL. The recommendation is based on actual wattage, not equivalent wattage. However, 23W CFLs may not fit, so make sure to check the dimensions before you buy.

      Also, it sounds like your fixture may be under-powered for the size of your room. Most builders don’t think much about light when they build a home. Since I doubt your landlord will let you replace the lighting fixture, what I suggest is sticking with two 13-watt CFLs and adding a few floor lamps and/or table lamps to supplement the main light source. If you find a typical incandescent color temperature to be too yellow, try a CFL with a color of 3000K or 3500K.

      • Michael /

        Benjamin, thanks for the speedy reply…

        Just to be clear, you say “I suggest sticking with two 13-watt CFLs…” Do you mean two 23-watt CFLs (100W equivalent)?

        • Benjamin Rorie /

          No, I did mean the 13W CFLs. I’m doubtful about the 23W CFLs fitting a normal ceiling fixture.

  11. Adrienne /

    Great article thanks! Our living room, 16×22, currently gets its main lighting from fluorescent cove lighting ringing the ceiling.. We would like to replace them with dimmable LEDs. Can you approximate how many lumens we will need and should we go with white or warm white? 12 v 24 volt?

    • Benjamin Rorie /

      Adrienne – I can’t say for sure how many lumens you’ll need, but at least one of our customers has had good results with LED tape light. Check out the video here (it’s color-changing, but we have warm white as well). Give us a call at 1-800-624-4488 and we’ll get you what you need!

  12. Sumit /

    Benjamin,

    We are in the process of building a new house, and want to install LED can’s – 4″ square is what we are looking for. Additionally, we’re using a Control4 system that requires the engine to be 0-120v for dimming, not 0-10v. So far the only product I’ve found is the Halo can that would work – but there is not enough Lumen output. Do you have any product ideas, or could you suggest optimal spacing between fixtures for larger rooms?

    Thanks

    • Benjamin Rorie /

      Thanks for the question, Sumit. There is not a product I am aware of that meets your requirements. 4-inch LED cans with high lumen output are rare, and square LED cans are even more rare. I would suggest finding a lighting designer in your area who can scope out the room and better direct you to compatible options. Please let us know if we can be of any other help.

  13. Anders Hoveland /

    For small bedrooms, I like 70 watt bulbs (incandescent) because there is minimal glare from the lamp. But I prefer my indoor environment to be dimmer and darker (like a cave) than most people. It is more relaxing, especially for my bedroom. All my family members prefer 100 watt bulbs. For bathrooms, it is probably best to go with 70 watts. I am happy with 60 watts, but again this is probably not bright enough for most people. For vanity lights above the mirror, the normal 40 watt bulbs have too much glare for me, although I am probably more sensitive than most. I either go with the 130v 40w globes or 25w globes. To give a more vibrant whiter light, something you can do is to switch out one of the bulbs with a low-powered LED globe light. Unless the bulbs are pointing downards, do not use a regular LED bulb because the light output is still somewhat directional and there will be too much glare. I suggest you use a mix of LED and incandescent. If you use only all LED bulbs it will not bring out the best color in skin tones because current LED bulbs are not full spectrum (they are deficient in certain frequencies of light). But a combination of incandescent with LED seems to bring out the best in colors and be the most aesthetic, assuming you do not have any problem with the color tint of the light bulbs appearing slightly different side by side.

    For the kitchen, I recommend a 100 watt bulb, or better those new 72 watt halogen bulbs. I would not necessarily recommend the “daylight” or “Reveal” bulbs because the tinted glass will slightly reduce the light output from a comparable normal bulb of the same wattage. You might alternatively consier installing LED recessed or panel lighting in your kitchen. I like the combination of LED light combined together with incandescent light, so I would install BOTH recessed LEDs and recessed bulbs with screw-in fixtures for incandescent/halogen flood light bulbs in my kitchen, but that is just my preference. Some people may prefer all the light fixtures to be the exact same color of light in their room. Typical LED lighting by itself just does not have the same color rendering, though most people probably would not care. I value my food and like my apples to look that bright appetizing red color they were meant to be. In any case, LEDs are certainly better than that awful fluorescent lighting. When my mother first bought her house, the first thing she did was rip out the fluorescent kitchen lights and put in a regular fixture. Unfortunately, the building codes now in many places require “energy efficient” lighting in the kitchen. If you want your kitchen lighting a certain way, find a contractor who will remodel the kitchen the way YOU want, not what some government bureaucrats have told them to. I also hate those recessed fixtures that only fit 3-pronged CFL bulbs they are installing in all the newly built homes. The quality of light is just HORRIBLE.

  14. Walt /

    Our homeowners association wants to light the signs at our entrances with LED lights. The signs are approximately 36″x36″, 4 feet off the ground, so a tight spot works. What do you suggest? Thanks.

    • Benjamin Rorie /

      Walt — Assuming you’re looking for a line voltage option, these RAB LED spotlights will work. They’re capable of lighting a flag 40 feet high, so your signs should be no problem. I’ll warn you, they may seem a bit pricey, but at only 13 watts and a lifespan of 100,000 hours (over 30 years), you’ll recoup the cost many times over.

  15. Joe /

    Im dealing with a 30ft ceiling, it has recessed can fixtures in it, and I want to install LED bulbs, but my options are from selecting between a 40, 25, and a 15 degree. I don’t want a spot effect on the surface, so what degree spread would I need to properly highlight the room?

    • Benjamin Rorie /

      Great question, Joe. What is the shape and/or diameter of the LED bulb you’re looking for: R20 (2.5 in.), PAR30 (3.75 in.), PAR38 (4.75 in.), or R40 (5 in.)?

  16. We have ceilings that are 15′ high. The walls are very light – just off white. What sort of LED lumens would we be looking at for downlights that would give useful light but not necessarily bright enough to read with (we have floor lamps for that). Also how close together and what angle would you recommend.
    Many thanks if you can help me.

    • Benjamin Rorie /

      Great question, Claire.

      Most lighting designers recommend maintaining at least 30 footcandles in a living area, which sounds like the type of room you’re describing. That means for 15-foot ceilings, you’ll need an LED PAR38 equal to a 90 watt halogen PAR38 or an
      LED R40 equal to a 100 watt incandescent. I would suggest the PAR38 in your application because it provides better beam control. You’ll need a beam angle in the narrow flood range (about 60 degrees). The cans will need to be placed about 4 feet apart.

      Keep in mind that’s just a guess based on what you’ve given me here. If you like, I can have our on-staff lighting designer contact you will more precise figures.

  17. Antoinette Clay /

    I am replacing old spotlights in a kitchen with chandeliers (which I see you do not recommend). The kitchen is 366.24 square feet with three skylights and two large double hung windows and a door to the outside that is half glass. Light wood look floors, white walls and white units. How many lumens do I need? Is three chandeliers (one with 8 candle lights and two with 3 or 5 candle lights) too much. I am also planning on three pendant lights over the eating table. We currently have 10 spots (dont know the wattage). Thanks Antoinette

    • Benjamin Rorie /

      Thanks for your question, Antoinette. Unfortunately, that’s a difficult question to answer because I don’t know how much light is provided by your skylights and windows. You’ll need a lighting designer to take a look at the space in person and give you an actual figure for lumens.

      Chandeliers in general, however, aren’t a very good primary light source. They’re more for decorative use than for task lighting. If you use a chandelier and are taking out the spotlights, you’ll need several supplementary light sources. Under cabinet lights and pendant lights may give you what you need if you are opposed to using recessed lighting with spotlights.

  18. J Tom /

    Nice site and some good information, but ‘the times they are a-changin’. With new fixtures now being sold specifically for CFL bulbs,I think you need to revise this statement before someone has a problem: “stop thinking about watts and start thinking about lumens.”

    I have a ceiling fan with a light fixture designed for two CFLs. It specifies 13-watt bulbs, or less. I would love more light from the fixture, but I MUST consider that 13-watt limitation; I can’t just pop in a bulb with more lumens. A bulb exceeding 13-watts, regardless of type, could result in a current greater than the wiring could carry (considering the rising cost of copper, I suspect the wiring is a VERY fine gauge). At the very least, the fixture would fail. At worst, you are risking an electrical fire.

    So I think you should add a warning, and modify your advice to something like, “stop thinking about watts and start thinking about lumens, as long as you don’t exceed the maximum wattage that the fixture is rated.”

    Thanks.

    • Benjamin Rorie /

      You’re exactly right, you should never exceed the maximum allowed wattage specified for a fixture. However, this article is more about planning ahead by choosing the right fixtures in the right quantity and placing them in areas where they have the best effect.

      • Tim Coffman /

        I installed 4″ ic airtight incandescent recessed housings in my kitchen. They call for a max 50 watt r20 or par20 bulb. These are not bright enough. I then tried a 60w equivalent Philips led (a19) using only 10.5 watts but it says it is not intended for this type of lamp. Why and if it can’t be used what do you recommend to get the 475-500 lumen output I’m looking for?

        • Benjamin Rorie /

          I would suggest a 50 watt halogen PAR20. It won’t exceed the rating for your fixture, and you’ll be able to get an extra 50 to 100 lumens over incandescent.

          Also make sure you’re using a 120 volt and not a 130 volt bulb. The 130 volt bulb will be dimmer and more yellow.

          As for the LED, it may be the recessed light doesn’t allow enough ventilation, which would shorten the life of the bulb.

    • Apolinario Angcos /

      how much square meter does the 25 watts LED lit up?

      • Jordan Loa /

        Thank you for reaching out to us, Apolinario!

        In order to answer your question, we would need some more information regarding your lighting setup: are you using an LED fixture? using a replacement lamp? What’s the distance from the light source to the area being illuminated? What’s the beam spread, intensity,and candlepower of thee lighting source?

        Thanks!

  19. Tim Coffman /

    Thanks for the reply. I have also tried the 50 watt halogen and also not bright enough. Not to mention that it became much, much hotter than the led bulb I had mentioned earlier.

    • Benjamin Rorie /

      If the fixture prohibits the use of LED bulbs, it sounds like your only option is to get a can light rated for a higher wattage.

  20. eli /

    Hi, what about bathrooms, how much lumens would you recommend per sq foot? Especially in front of the mirror it’s important to have enough light.

    Actually, I’m looking at buying the Klus 39.4″ Aluminum PDS-O Channel (KLUS-B3777) and hanging it from the ceiling above the sink in front of a 70″ x 35″ mirror. Which LED strip would you recommend adding to it?

    Thanks!

  21. chris mccracken /

    I need a LED alternative for a 250w metal halide. Must be dimmable. Can you suggest something? Thanks

    • Benjamin Rorie /

      There are no LED bulbs that bright right now, but there are a few dedicated LED fixtures that bright. What type of light fixture are you using?

  22. Ron Johnson /

    I have three 12 volt 50 watt halogen spotlights (MR16 base) above my island counter in my RV. They are very hot and keep burning out. What replacement should I use to change out the halogens to LEDs. I’d like to use just 2 LEDs if possible because one of the fixtures is in need of replacement, but I don’t want to lose any lumens. The lights are approximately 5 feet above the countertop. Thanks

  23. Lyn /

    I have a 1200 sq ft ballet studio. We currently have seven 8-foot fluorescent fixtures with two tubes in each. We want to install LED can lights. How many would I need to install to gain the same lighting? The ceilings are 10 foot. Thank you.

    • Benjamin Rorie /

      That’s a tough one, Lyn. The type of fluorescent tubes and ballasts used in your fixtures as well as their age can have a huge effect on how much light output you’re getting. I can’t say with complete assurance that X fluorescent = Y LED.

      I would suggest one of two things:

      One is to get a lighting designer to look at the studio and give you a suggestion. You can use this link to find an IALD-certified designer in your area: http://www.iald.org/membership/find.asp?altlink=24

      The other option would be to purchase a light meter to get a footcandle reading at several areas in the studio, then use that information to pick out the best LED for the job.

  24. Ramshiva /

    hi,

    I want to shift from cfl to led bulb,currently i am using 23 watts cfl what is your recomendation for led of what wattage and how many lumens please guide me and approximate cost

    • Benjamin Rorie /

      A 23 watt CFL is equivalent to a 100 watt incandescent, so you’ll need an LED of the same equivalent wattage. That’s roughly 1,600 lumens. Right now, it’s difficult to find LED bulbs that bright. The highest you’ll be about to find is ~1,100 lumens. Here is our selection: http://www.1000bulbs.com/category/led-lighting/

  25. CJones /

    Im looking to purchase a 16 lightbulb Chandelier for a living room 25ft x 16ft with 18 ft ceiling. One large window is the only source of light. None of the websites convert wattage to lumens, how do I calculate the conversion.

    • Benjamin Rorie /

      There is no perfect one-to-one conversion of wattage to lumens. Many factors can influence a bulb’s light output from whether or not the bulb is frosted, to the voltage rating, to the type of gas(es) used in the bulb.

      However, assuming you are using a clear, 120 volt chandelier bulb without and special gas fill (like krypton or xenon), here are some estimated figures:

      15 Watts ~ 100 Lumens

      25 Watts ~ 200 Lumens

      40 Watts ~ 350 Lumens

      60 Watts ~ 650 Lumens

      I hope that helps!

  26. Ken Baker /

    Hi have a kitchen and dining room both 12ft x 12ft that I am linking to make kitchen/diner
    want to put in LED downlites I thought 6 in each half am I best fitting dedicated LED fitments or halogen fittings with LED bulbs there is nothing there at present

    • Caitlin Victor /

      Hello Ken,

      LED downlights can be expensive. However, similar results can be obtained by installing an LED flood lamp in a simple recessed incandescent can. I hope that helps. If you have any other questions, feel free to contact us.

  27. Martin /

    I’m putting in a 20 light crystal chandelier in an entry with 18′ ceiling. It is on a dimmer. What is the best bulb to use? Also the bulbs are exposed so not sure led would work.

  28. Jeff /

    Any thoughts on lumens and k for a dermatology exam room that is 10×10 feet?

  29. GLENN BELL /

    I am working on new construction with 12 ft ceilings and 5600 sq ft open floor space.
    we are installing recessed down lights using Halo H7ICAT housing. I would prefer
    RGB MDMX LED but we may have to settle for dimmable led ?
    NEED HELP?
    Glenn Bell

  30. Rachel /

    Thanks for the great article. I’m looking for a floor lamp for my mother who is a seamstress. specifically something that can take really strong bulbs / produce as many lumens as possible. simply put – the brighter the better as she can’t see very well and would need as much light as possible (without going industrial). It would be used in her living room solely for sewing purposes.
    Can you recommend a website or a specific product?

    • Jordan Loa /

      Thanks for the question, Rachel!

      Floor lamps are more decorative in nature and aren’t really designed for task lighting. While we do sell floor lamps, they probably wouldn’t be the solution to your problem. when it comes to task lighting, there are a few questions that you need to keep in mind: How big is the room? How far away from the floor will the fixtures be? Are you wanting to flood the area with light, or are you aiming the light directly at something? While we wouldn’t necessarily recommend floor lamps, we would recommend some sort of ceiling mounted light fixture, such as track lighting, like the kinds you see in retail stores like Macy’s. You can take a look at our track lighting here. Hope this helps!

  31. perry farella /

    For outdoor lights over a front entry door will an LED bulb or LED fixture dim down below frezzing as CFL bulbs do ? Can these LEDs be connected to a light sensor to go on at dusk, off at dawn ?

    • Jordan Loa /

      Great question, Perry!

      An LED bulb will handle the cold weather just fine. In fact, it’ll handle the freezing temperatures better than a CFL, as the LED comes to full brightness instantly, where the CFL requires a warm up period. As far as connecting an LED to a photo-electric cell (turning on at dusk and off at dawn) the LEDs will work just as well as any other bulb. However, the thing to keep in mind here is the minimum load the photo-cell can handle, as some LED loads are very small. Check out our selection of LEDs. I hope this helped!

  32. Luke /

    I need to replace a 400W, 36000 Lumen metal halide mogul base bulb with a comparable LED bulb. Does such a bulb even exist?

    • Jordan Loa /

      Thanks for the question, Luke!

      Unfortunately, no such LED bulb exists… yet. But when it does, we’ll be sure to carry it. However, we do have some grow light fixtures that match what you’re looking for. What sort of application are you using this type of bulb for?

  33. BIG C /

    WHANT TO CHANGE 150W HOLOGEN RECESS LIGHTS AT A CHURCH WITH A CEILING IN SOME PLACES 25FEET. WITH LED RETOFIT RECESS. ANY SUGGESTIONS ON WHAT WATTAGE AND LUMS, AND COLOR

    • Jordan Loa /

      Thanks for your question, Big C!

      When it comes to LED lighting, you’ve got a lot of options, and I’d be happy to point you in the right direction. Let me ask you this: are your current halogen bulbs on a dimmer system? If so, that means you’ll have to buy dimmable bulbs, as non-dimmable bulbs will not work on a dimmer system. Here is the link to the bulb I would recommend and here’s why I would recommend it: the bulb has a high lumen output of 1,300 and a narrow flood beam angle, which is great for your application and the 25-foot ceilings because the beam goes straight down before widening out, covering more area. This bulb has a color temperature of 3000K, giving it a good balance between yellow light and white light. Finally, this bulb is recommended because it works with the Lutron Nova dimmers, which can handle higher wattages. Hope this helps!

  34. BIG C /

    YES THE LIGHTS ARE ON A DIMMER SYSTEM. ABOUT HOW MUCH LIGHT WATTAGE DO THE PUT OUT?

    • Jordan Loa /

      I’m not sure I understand your question, Big C. Are you asking about how much light and wattage the bulbs I recommended put out?

  35. Lisa /

    I’m making a night light out of clear tape (it’s basically a mostly transparent sculpture) that I would like to be able to read with. I’m trying to figure out which type of led bulb (has to be led to avoid melting the tape) would be best to approximate a 40 or 60 watt incandescent bulb. Originally, I was thinking about using a string of led Christmas lights (perhaps the 70 bulb warm white g12 string) and putting them inside a clear plastic tube, but I’m worried this won’t be bright enough. How many led light strings would I need to provide good reading light? Do you have any other suggestions for an interesting looking led light bulb(s)?

    • Jordan Loa /

      Thanks for the question, Lisa!

      You pose a pretty good question here. If you’re interested in using a standard A-shaped bulb that’s equal to a 40 or 60-watt bulb, we have LED bulbs that fit the bill. I would look at this 60-watt equal bulb, as it is shaped very similar to a standard incandescent. However, there’s still a lot of variables here. How big is the room you’re wanting to light? How much room in your planned nightlight are you going to have? If you’re tight on space, then you may want to consider A15 bulbs, as these have the same shape as the A19s, just a smaller diameter and shorter neck. Honestly, your original idea of the G12 Christmas lights just might work, but you may need two strands to do the trick, which also goes for standard light strings as well. Hope this helps! Let us know if you have any further questions!

  36. Great article! I don’t think I’m even close to how many lumens I should have, might need to get some more lamps. Thanks for sharing!

  37. Patti /

    I’m trying to plan ahead. In fact planning for a whole house. I found the information here to be helpful but have a question about the statement “never exceed the maximum allowed wattage specified for a fixture.” If the fixture says use 2 standard 60W bulbs and I’m using compact fluorescents, does this mean I can use the 2 CF 23 watt bulbs?

    • Jordan Loa /

      Thanks for the question, Patti!

      To answer your question, yes, you can use two 23-watt CFL bulbs to replace your 60-watt incandescent bulbs. The thing that will do the harm is the heat from the lamps, and 46-watts of heat is a lot less than 120-watts of heat. I’ve included a link to one of our 23-watt CFL bulbs. Hope this helps!

  38. Patti /

    Yes, that is very helpful. I now feel confident in using the higher wattage CFLs in fixtures where I need more light. Of course they don’t always fit in the space allowed! Thanks, Patti

  39. Nelson Lawson /

    I’m considering a 4 foot track lighting fixture to illuminate my 8 square foot desk with the lights about 20 inches about the desk surface. I currently have 3 15 inch miniature fluorescent tubes that give off a lot of heat. I calculate that I would need 400 lumens total so maybe 4 or 5 of the track lights would do. Any thoughts?

  40. Geoffrey Coram /

    I was just looking at bulbs to put in an emergency exit sign; it’s marked 2-25W, and it seemed like an LED bulb would be just the thing to provide light without heat. However, the LED bulbs all say “caution: not intended for emergency exit signs” (and CFL bulbs have even stronger language). Why is that?

  41. Shuchi /

    Hello there,
    We are trying to put pendant lights in our home office which measures
    10x10x10. What would you recommend in terms of necessary watts/lumens? We are thinking of putting may be 2 pendants in the middle of room. Also would you be able to recommend how low these pendants should hang? Thanks so much already for any and all the help you might offer!!

    • Jordan Loa /

      Great question here, Shuchi!

      We recommend contacting a local lighting designer or an electrical engineer for your specific lighting needs.

      Hope this helps!

  42. vamsi /

    I am trying to replace the existing(fluorescent) lighting to LED’s in my office building…

    I found that for fluorescent fixtures (t8) … we can figure the number of lights required by Sqft*1.5=watts… then figure the number of lights required for that room…

    The other method is Sqft*50=Lumens … then figure out the number of fixtures for the lumens… but when I am calculating the number of lights using the above procedure … the results are not close enough…..

    For Example take a 12’×16’(=192sqft) room ….
    From Method 1: 192*1.5=288watts
    Each t8=32watts…so 288/32=9bulbs (this make sense)
    From Method 2 : 195*50=9600 Lumens
    T8 I took is 2800 lumens each… so 9600/2800=3.5 or ~4 bulbs (This is not close to method1)

    1. Where am I committing the mistake??
    2. Does the output from t8 will not be the 2800 Lumens completely?… if so how much % does we really get???
    3. To design a room using LED’s …can I just use Sqft*50=Lumens ….and buy the LED’s equating that lumens??

    Thanks,
    Vamsi

    • Jordan Loa /

      Thanks for reaching out to us, Vamsi!

      Are you familiar with the Zonal Cavity Method? We recommend you connect with an electrical engineer or a lighting designer who is familiar with the Zonal Cavity Method. I have scan of the method that I can send to you.

      Hope this helps!

  43. Eric /

    I am lighting a flagpole off my house the flag will be approx 33 feet from the light source, the thing is I dont want to much light, so what size light should I use and also should I put a visor on it so it does not light up more than the flag? Thanks

    • Jordan Loa /

      Sorry for the delayed response, Eric.

      However, check out these LED spot light fixtures from RAB. We’ll be carrying these shortly, but until then, I would like to direct you to our sales team at 1-800-624-4488 so they can help you with your specific application needs. Thanks again for reaching out to us!

  44. David B /

    Very helpful article, thanks. I have a 15′x12′ living room (with 8.5′ ceilings) that I’m renovating and I have a lighting question. I’d like to install soffits on 3 sides of the room with LED strip lighting facing up (i.e. boxes that are about a foot below the ceiling and the lights sit inside it and bounce off the ceiling to light the room). I’ve seen a number of designs where this is used in combination with other light sources – are there LED strip lights strong enough so this is the only light source in the room?

    I’ve followed you math and with a 180 square foot room I guess I need ~4,000 lumens. But maybe bouncing off a (white) ceiling means I need a lot more to get the same amount of ambient light? And I’ll have ~40 linear feet of soffit lined with LED strip, and I think I’ve seen ads for LED strips that put out 300-400 lumens/foot. So that would get me about 12,000 lumen, which seems like maybe it’s enough? Or is soffit-only lighting just not realistic?

    Thanks for your input!

    • Jordan Loa /

      Thanks for the question, David!

      To answer your question about soffit-only lighting, that wouldn’t put out enough lumens to light your whole living room, as it’s primarily used for accent lighting. I’ve included a few links to our LED tape light below. I recommend trying out a small section first to test it out. As far as needing more light to achieve the same amount of ambient light because it’s reflecting off a white wall, that just depends on the distance of the objects needing to be lit. So in short, I would stick with the “other lighting sources” you mentioned, but I wouldn’t rule out the LED tape light; that would be a nice touch. Hope this helps!

      Here’s a link to our 24-volt high output warm white LED tape light, which produces 160 lumens per foot.

      Here is a link to our 24-volt high output cool white LED tapelight, which produces 210 lumens per foot.

  45. matt /

    should i use t5 or t8 fluorescent bulbs in a a commercial building with a 30 foot high ceiling/ which also hapens to be an auto body shop? Painting and body work. needs good light for work

    • Jordan Loa /

      Thanks for the question, Matt.

      However, a standard T5 has the same light output as a T8 bulb, but a T5 HO produces more light than a T8. In a place such as an auto body and paint shop, the lights have to be well placed to get under hoods and such. With that in mind, we would recommend T5 HO strip fixtures, sometimes called industrials. Also, to make sure all your bases are covered, we’d recommend contacting a local lighting designer.

      Hope this helps!

  46. Craig R /

    We have a customer that is requesting us to test their biomedical contaminant medical device in an lighting condition equivalent to full sun. Could you recommend a workbench light and offer some guidance on how to set that up?

    • Jordan Loa /

      Craig,

      Thanks for reaching out to us.

      Before we can supply you with an accurate answer, we would need to know the size of the area you’re trying to light.

  47. Angela Bilia /

    I want to replace my bedside light with a compact fluorescent one. But I am not sure what would be the best choice. The bedside lamp takes a 40 W type ‘A’ bulb (it’s a typical bedside lamp (with a shade that fits over the shaft where the bulb is screwed in). I want to have adequate light for reading –my eyes need bright light for reading, and the current 40 W is not enough. First of all, would a compact fluorescent be the kind of bulb to replace the current one? I know that I should look for a A-19 base (so that it can fit), and I suspect that the spiral ones may be a bit too bulky (unless they are really compact). But can I go higher on the ‘replacement’ watts? What would you recommend in terms of replacement watts and lumens so that I can read comfortably?

    • Thanks for your question, Angela!

      First, I would say that it all depends on what kind of shade you have. A spiral CFL may not work if you have a shade with a harp that has to fit over the bulb. If you think it may be too bulky, I would recommend using an A-shaped omni-directional LED instead. For a bulb that provides the best readability, you should stick with one that has bright color temperature of 5000K or more. But be warned, this temperature is going to provide a whiter light that may not be as inviting as a bulb that produces 3000K. Because it is alright to go higher on replacement wattage, we recommend this 60-watt equal LED. For a light with the same wattage but brighter light output, try this LED. While either bulb will do the trick, it really all depends on how bright you want your lamp to be. Hope this helps! Let us know if you have any more questions.

  48. Ann /

    We are doing a re model of our kitchen it is an 10 x 12 space. We took down the walls and it is all open to the living room and dining room. Electrician suggests putting in 5 recessed lights and 2 pendants over the Island. they are warm white 600 lumens 3000k 9.4 watts by Halo. Box says they are the equivalent of a 65 watt bulb
    He just installed the same recessed lights in a small den and I am unhappy with the brightness- I feel like they are too yellow?? Its not that there isn’t enough light they just seem too dull or dark? Not sure if I am using the right wording. Is there something else we can use that would be brighter? I would rather be able to dimm something that is too bright than not have it be bright enough THANKS for a quick reply-this is being installed soon

    • Jordan Loa /

      Thanks for reaching out to us, Ann!

      It sounds like you’re happy with the lumen output, which refers to the brightness of the bulb, but not happy with the color temperature, which refers to the bulb’s yellow color. This is an easy fix. The bulb you have has a color temperature of 3000K, which is referred to as warm white. You need a bulb with a higher color temperature, as the higher the color temperature, the whiter the light. For you, I’d recommend a bulb with a 5000K color temperature, which will give you a much whiter light. Hope this helps!

  49. Kathleen /

    We are adding a 550 sq ft room which will house a swim spa on one side and be a large recreation room. It will have a large amount of windows plus three skylights over the swim spa. The walls and ceiling will be finished in cedar. It will have 8′ tall walls with a gabled ceiling reaching to 15′. The room will have a ceiling fan that has a single down light (50 watt MR16 halogen bulb). The interior of the space will be darker due to the cedar. I am not sure how many lumens would be appropriate for this space. We would not need task lighting and I want lighting that is comfortable in color. I need to avoid recessed lighting due to the moisture and potential off-gassing of the water purification chemicals….they would just corrode the recessed lighting housing. I would liked the lighting to be flush mounted to the ceiling. Any help would be appreciated.
    Thank you,
    Kathleen

    • Jordan Loa /

      Thanks for reaching out to us, Kathleen!

      However, we only sell replacement lighting, and no one on staff here is qualified as a lighting designer. However, if you have any additional questions, please do not hesitate to to ask!

  50. Erika Willis /

    I am trying to find a LED replacement kit for a 150 W metal halide lamp used in an outside setting under a roof overhang adjacent to a main entrance canopy. I estimate the median lumens of the metal halide lamp to be around 9500. The research that I have done on the computer indicates that I can replace the lamp with a 65 W LED, however when I look at the specs for this lamp, the lumens are around 6050. This is over a 36% difference. Any ideas?

    • Jordan Loa /

      We appreciate the question, Erika!

      In order to recommend a solution that’s right for you, we would need to know what type of metal halide fixture you’re wanting to replace. However, I’ve included an LED fixture that may interest you:

      Let us know if you have any more questions and if we can be of further assistance!

  51. William Taylor /

    HI, Have read your article but as a dim wit in maths and physics I wonder if you would be kind enough to answer this question. I wish to
    replace 3 perfectly adequate 150 w old style light bulbs in 3 rooms with the modern power saving equivalent in lumens for each bulb?

    • Jordan Loa /

      William,

      Thanks for reaching out to us!

      When you refer to “old style light bulbs”, are referring to a standard incandescent bulb? If so, a 150-watt equal LED bulb doesn’t exist yet, as manufacturers are having a difficult time finding a way to displace the amount of heat generated by that kind of wattage. Currently, the closest LED bulbs we have are 100-watt equal bulbs that put out around 1,000 to 1,200 lumens, and I’ve included the link to them.

      If you have any further questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to us, and we hope we’ve been able to help!

  52. Angelina /

    Hi guys,
    Thank you very much for what you do. I was wondering if you could help me out with an advise on LED light bulbs and with suitable amount of watts does it take to light up a typical office space:
    Dimensions:
    Knowledge worker stations: U-shape 6′ x 8′ , 48 square feet ; altogether 30 of them spread out in the office space, taking up to 1440-1500 Square feet?
    Manager work station with one or 2 windows , dimensions 6′ x 12′, 72 Square feet with one table , 3 chairs-isolated office all together 26 of them in the office space, taking up to around 1872 Square feet?
    Also one small conference room: one table , 6 chairs, no windows around 108 Square feet?
    1 large private office with 2 tables, 10 chairs and one computer desk , 3 big windows, corner office, around 204 Square feet,dimensions 12′ x 17′?

    • Jordan Loa /

      Thanks for the question, Angelina!

      Questions like these are difficult to answer, and are best suited for a lighting designer, who will be able to point you in the right direction and light up your office spaces to your exact specifications. Hope this helps!

  53. Hal Feinstein /

    Hi Benjamin, I enjoyed reading the information above and I have a question for you. I want to replace an old incandescent fixture (frosted glass “bulb”) in our apartment’s (small) dining alcove. I am currently using a 20W 2700K 1330 lumens CFL in it. I bought a Lithonia 7″ Versa Lite (a flush mount LED fixture) but at 740 lumens it’s not bright enough and the 4000K color is very unpleasant. Do you carry, or do you know of, a flush mount LED fixture w/ about 1,500 lumens and (say) 2700K color? I like the look of the Versa Lite but it’s too dim and its 11″ version doesn’t come in 2700K. Thanks! Hal

  54. M.J.II /

    I’m looking for a light to use in a closet vocal booth. It is 2x4x8. I need it to read lyrics. How many lumens do you suggest?

    • Thanks for your question! If I multiplied correctly, the square footage of your vocal booth is 8 square feet. And since you’re using this light to read lyrics, we will want to multiply that by 50 lumens per square foot, the suggested number of lumens for task lighting. This means you will need at least 400 lumens for your booth. However, the brighter the better, so you might want to go a little bit above that just to be safe. I’m not sure what kind of bulb you are looking for, but we do have a large selection of LED light bulbs that produce almost no heat and work great for small spaces. Hope this helps!

  55. George /

    I have a 8m (W) x 4m (L) x 3.5m (H) covered porch / terrace which is open on 3 sides.

    I want to light the area in the evenings to a level that is just comfortable as a social relaxing area. (10 – 15 footcandles?)

    I’m looking at using 3″ recessed 10W LEDs (~825 lumens), so how many units should I look to install to obtain the required effect?

    Thanks

    • Jordan Loa /

      Thanks for reaching out to us, George!

      While we’re always here to help, questions like these are best posed to a lighting designer, as they would be able to accurately measure the lumens you’ll need for the space you’re wanting to light. However, if you have product-specific questions, we would be more than happy to answer those for you. Let us know if there’s anything else we can help you with.

  56. Heike /

    For a 2 x 9ft closet, 8ft tall, would a 12″ long, 285 lumen led stick give sufficient light to see the clothes?

    • Heike,

      This would probably be sufficient lighting. However, I would suggest going a bit higher to between 350-400 lumens.

  57. Heike /

    Do you know of a replacement LED for BT-15?

    • The best replacement LED that would be the closest equivalent to a BT-15 would be an A19 LED. However, there are a variety of wattages to choose from and you would need to make sure that it would fit the fixture currently occupied by the BT-15. Let us know if you have any other questions!

  58. Heike /

    Is it true that one should not use any LED in closed flushmount fixtures? Something about the slight heat emitted by the bulb reducing the lifespan of the chips?

    • Jordan Loa /

      Thanks for reaching out to us, Heike!

      You’re absolutely right about heat reducing the lifespan of the bulbs. However, an LED can be used in an enclosed fixture, but it just depends on how enclosed the fixture is. IF there’s no way for the heat to escape, then the bulb’s life will be greatly shortened. Hope this helps!

  59. Jorge Arce /

    I’m ready to install some fixtures to illuminate the front of the house but I’m not sure the lumens needed. I do like the warm color of the incandescent bulbs instead of the white color of the LED. It is a tow story house. Any recommendations on lumens and fixtures to use? Thanks

    • Jordan Loa /

      Thanks for reaching out to us, Jorge!

      The good thing about exterior lighting is that there are many options. While that’s generally a good thing, having too many options can be confusing. You mentioned wanting to illuminate the front of your house. In order for an accurate recommendation, we would need a little more clarification. Are you wanting to light your yard, in a security sense, or are you looking more towards lighting the facade of your house, displaying it at night? Or are you wanting lights to come on when you drive up to the house?

  60. Mike K /

    Hi, great information! Renovating a small kitchen (11.1″ x 7.8″)with 9 foot ceilings. Installing a ceiling fan which will also be our main source of light. The 75 watt g9 halogen would allow us to have a smaller profile fan but would that be sufficient in terms of ligthing the room or should we opt for 26w GU 24 CFL. Thanks!

    • Jordan Loa /

      Thanks for reaching out to us, Mike!

      What kind of base will/does your ceiling fan have? Since you’re talking about two different bases, it’s important for us to know which base you’ll be working with. Let us know if you have any other questions!

  61. Mike K /

    Hi Jordan…we are looking at a base with a 12 inch drop (it’s not a pole but a single mechanism). I assume that is the information you were lookign for?

    • Jordan Loa /

      Mike,

      I’m under the impression we’re not on the same page. With that in mind, I invite you to contact us at 1-800-624-4488. From there, you’ll be directed to an account manager who can steer you in the right direction. Hope this helps!

  62. Jorge /

    It is to light the facade of the house but at the same time illuminate the front since there are no light poles on our street and it is really dark. I’m thinking on setting the lights on a timer.

    • Jordan Loa /

      Jorge,

      There’s too many on-site variables to recommend a solution that would be both pleasing and efficient for your needs. The best solution we could recommend is to contact a local lighting designer that can come out and accurately assess your lighting needs. Sorry we couldn’t be of more help!

  63. Al /

    Benjamin- I want to put Led in commercial which need bright look. 2500 sq feet area and 11 ft ceiling. How many lumence I need?

    • Jordan Loa /

      Thanks for reaching out to us, Al!

      With a space that large and ceilings that high, it would be best to consult a professional lighting designer, who will be able to correctly evaluate your space and offer a solution that meets your needs. Hope this helps!

  64. We are trying to calculate the lumens needed in our house of worship. Our stage area is well lit, but the seating area (400+) needs more light. Do I calculate room width and length AND hight of fixtures? The ceiling is dark wood, but the walls are sorta light tan. Carpet and seating is marroon.

    • Jordan Loa /

      Bob,

      We thank you for reaching out to us, and appreciate your question!

      In regards to your lighting question, the best course of action here is to contact a lighting designer with experience in lighting houses of worship. Contacting a lighting designer will ensure all the dimensions, measurements and appropriate variables are taken into account. Hope this helps!

  65. Meredith /

    I hope you can help , I want to install the proper amount of “bright” quality lighting in my unheated garage to serve as both general and detailed task lighting at the same time, but I am having a hard time figuring out how many fixtures/ Lumens that I need to install for ample lighting conditions for day and night use. I’m thinking(?)my best bet is: (?#)4ft T8 32 Watt Flourescants? If so, i’m not sure which would be better: Cool White or Daylight. I’m 50+ years old and the eyes aren’t as sharp as they used to be up close. My garage conditions: 23′x 26′x 9′drywall ceiling and unfinished walls (Just studs) and concrete floor. Energy efficiency is also a consideration. Your help in this matter is greatly appreciated.

    • Thanks for the question, Meredith! This is a fairly complicated question that we think would be best suited for a professional lighting designer. They will more likely be able to help you achieve a secure solution for your lighting needs. We’re sorry we couldn’t be of more assistance, but please don’t hesitate to ask if there’s anything else we can help you with!

  66. eb /

    how many to light up the front of my house shining from the lawn onto a 2 story house?

    • Thanks for the question, Erik. For someone to answer this question, there are many other factors that would need to be known such as the measurements of your home. We recommend consulting a landscape lighting professional for the most accurate estimation of how much light you would need.

  67. Geoff /

    I am in need of some suggestions to light a 4,000 sq ft area (40′ X 100′ concrete pad) by way of either a single pole mounted light at one corner, or perhaps two lights mounted to a building that is 42′ away from the edge of the pad. Energy efficiency would be a oint of concern as well.

    • Geoff, to ensure proper lighting it would be best to get the area evaluated by someone on site who can give you a quote on what is needed. A sign company would do well since they’ll be used to mounting lights on poles for great illumination. If you’re within the Dallas, TX area I can recommend Texas Electrical.

  68. wayne /

    Is there a ‘conventional’ amount of light that should be used over a bathroom mirror? I have a new light that will take 4 “100 watt” bulbs and I’d like to start out right — both in lumens and type of bulb. Thanks for your advice.

    • Hi Wayne. The level of lighting is really up to you. But as a good rule of thumb you want to keep lighting even to avoid shadows, strong enough to illuminate everything, and cool enough to get a more natural light. If you use a total of 150-200 Watts (40-50W incandescent bulbs, or 6W LEDs, or 500-600 lumens) in the fixture that will be enough light. I’d also recommend a crisp white light, something around 3500-4000K and a CRI of at least 85. It’s closer to the kind of light you’ll see outdoors so colours will look more accurate both inside and outside your house.

      Again, the end level of light is up to you. If the fixture is a set of sockets mounted above the mirror, then a minimum of 150 watts will do the trick.

  69. Marcel Langone /

    Hello. I’m a 21 yo student and I’m doing a project about lighting in developing communities, something similar as “a liter of light”. I’ll need to do a simple approach to determine how many LEDs (lumens) I need to put in my bottle bulbs and what I hope you can help me is if you can manage to provide me the chapter or the source from:

    “loosely based on the IESNA Lighting Handbook:
    Floors: 20 Lumens per Square Foot
    Tables and Raised Surfaces: 30 Lumens per Square Foot
    Desks and Task Lighting: 50 Lumens per Square Foot”

    This would help me to justify my options based on a solid reference.
    Thank you in advance,

    Marcel Marques.

    • The most recent version is ISBN: 978-0-87995-241-9. I believe you’ll find what you’re looking for under section 2 (though if you can access the book through your school library it will save you quite a lot). If I or any of the other staff can be of any further help, don’t hesitate to ask.

  70. Bill Johnson /

    I need to illuminate a sign on the exterior of my business. The sign is 16 feet long x 2 feet tall. I would like to use LED gooseneck “barn” fixtures. How many would I need to adequately illuminate the sign? The sign is burgundy with white lettering, if that makes a difference.

    • This is a question for a person on-site. Unfortunately, something that specific depends on things like the viewing angle and ambient lighting. The best recommendation we can make is to contact a local lighted sign company which can come out and look physically see the sign. Otherwise you may find your sign insufficiently lit from the street or lit in such a way that glare from its own lights hampers readability at night.

  71. Sue T /

    We are having a new walk-in closet built. It is 104″ x 89″, so 64.3 sq ft. (It is about 95″ tall.) There is a window on the south west side, so the only direct natural light will be later in the day. I am more concerned about when it is dark outside. How many lumens are recommended for a walk-in closet? What types of fixtures and/or bulbs do you recommend for in a walk-in closet? What other factors should I be considering? Thank you in advance for your help!! This is a great site!!

    • Hi Sue, thanks for the question! According to the article above, floors require about 20 lumens per sq ft. Since your closet is 64.3 sq ft, you’ll need somewhere around 1280 lumens total – meaning you could have one fixture with about that many lumens, or you could split this amount up between two or more fixtures.

      As far as what fixtures to use are concerned, we recommend installing a few recessed downlights (https://www.1000bulbs.com/category/recessed-lighting-can-fixtures/) or using a flush mount close to ceiling light (https://www.1000bulbs.com/category/close-to-ceiling-light-fixtures/). Fixtures that hang lower might get in the way when you’re trying to reach your hanging clothes or any storage space above. If these suggestions don’t quite meet your needs, we do have other options you could look at for ideas in our light fixtures section (https://www.1000bulbs.com/category/home-lighting-interiors/).

      Other factors you might want to consider are color temperature and color-rendering index (CRI). When you’re purchasing a light for your closet, you’ll want to choose light in a higher color temperature (above 4000K) and with a CRI above 80. Both of these factors will ensure that when you’re trying to match your outfits, you won’t accidentally mistake navy for black or mix-up other similar colors. You can read more about color temperature and CRI in this article on our blog: http://blog.1000bulbs.com/color-temperature-revisited/.

      I hope you found this helpful! Feel free to ask us more questions or give us feedback on the advice.

  72. Roger /

    I’m shopping for a wall-mount fixture to serve as a reading light while I’m on the treadmill. The light will be approximately 4′ away from the reading surface. One fixture I am considering utilizes a 3w GU10 LED bulb which, I believe, provides around 240 lumens. Is this sufficient for my purpose? Thank you.

    • 240 lumens should be sufficient for reading. But with a 4′ distance and the constant motion of treadmill, you might want to consider increasing the amount to 270-300 lumens just to be safe.

  73. Bethany Egerton /

    I am doing a lighting plan for a church as well. Our currently has a drop ceiling grid with florescent tubes. Yuk! The space has nearly 12′ ceilings, it is over 2200 sq. ft. (42′x53′) not including the stage area. I would like to use a mixture of six chandeliers, wall sconces and recessed. I am not sure how to calculate how to distribute the recessed lights with the other lighting. How far apart do they need to be from each other and from the chandeliers?

    • Unfortunately, this kind of question requires a lot of information. The types of lights used, the design of room, different surfaces, and how well lit you want the church to be. Something that intensive should never be left to a guess, so it’s better to hire a lighting designer who can actually look at the room and give you an accurate measurement.

      That said, if you still want to make your own estimate, look at the output and dispersion of light from the lamps you want to use in your downlights. Most PAR lamps will include a diagram in their spec sheets illustrating how much light appears over an area by distance from the light source. If you lamps have that, you can estimate the distance between downlights by measuring how much surface area is covered by a lamp that is 12′ away.

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