The Best Way to Light a Laundry Room
Laundry and utility rooms tend to feel musty and secluded. The warm lighting of their typical, almost-orange lights can make them feel cloistered, while the alternative is usually a harsh and cold fluorescent light that casts shadows into every corner. The laundry room isn’t a place where we like to spend our time, which is why folding and sorting laundry is usually moved to a different room. But perhaps there are a few ways to improve your laundry room to make it a more inviting room.
Don’t Ignore Lighting
Natural lighting is pivotal for making this neglected space livable. Windows are obviously the best source for natural lighting, but they aren’t always available in your existing laundry room and can be difficult to install (especially if your utility or laundry room is an internal closet without an outside wall). Ceiling lights, doesn’t matter if it’s a recessed troffer or a handful of can-lights, can replicate natural lighting with lamps that use a daylight color temperature (roughly 5500K). While this isn’t a color temperature you’d wish to use in your kitchen, the daylight temperature gives you an accurate view of what your colors will look like outdoors and removes the cave-like feel of your laundry room. As an added bonus, you can more easily spot stubborn stains or discolorations you may have previously missed.
You also want to help improve your own mood within the room. Natural lighting helps with that but you should also use lamps with a CRI as close to 100 as possible. Lower CRI values will create less-saturated colors, leaving you with a very drab and depressing room. Installing lamps with a lower heat output, such as fluorescents or LEDs, will make the room more comfortable as well.
Layers and Sources
What discussion of lighting a room would be complete without mentioning the three layers of lighting (ambient, accent, and task)? Layered lighting is just as important in a utility or laundry room as it is in any other part of the home. Most laundry rooms are very small and are illuminated by a single fixture. One ceiling fixture in a room creates multiple shadows and illuminates poorly, even when the light is very bright. For a small room, you want to illuminate using two or three recessed fixtures. These fixtures should be can lights to save on space, but a couple of fluorescent or LED troffers would work beautifully in a larger laundry room. If recessed lights are not a viable option, flush mount fixtures are the way to go to preserve ceiling space.
Accents and decorations tend to take up too much space for most laundry rooms. If you have room for them, there’s no harm in adding them to the room, but you’re better served using the space for task lighting. A handful of under-cabinet lights or table lamps are perfect for adding illumination to a sorting table or a mending area.
Lighting a utility room properly is imperative to ensuring a work-space that’s mentally healthy and easy to work in. General rules for lighting still apply, but you should emphasize clean and open spaces. Recessed lighting, daylight color temperatures, and multiple light sources are the simplest ways to give the room an open-air feeling, don’t you agree? Let us know what you think and how you’ve improved your own laundry room in the comments below. Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, LinkedIn, or Pinterest so you can stay up-to-date on the most recent lighting news and tips too!
Header image used courtesy of Bill Wilson.