Adventures in Lighting, Part 3

I think I mentioned that I found something online that recommended 900 watts of lighting in my studio. The actual “recommendation” was an average of 2 watts per square foot, so that’s 900 watts for my studio which is 450 square feet. I figured that was a good place to start, since I found this information on a forum for woodworkers (I think) and they were comparing the lighting levels in their shops. Seems like woodworkers would probably want plenty of light so as not to get on the wrong side of the sharp power tools.

After I read that, I felt somewhat vindicated about my dissatisfaction with the lighting level in here. Unless the sun is shining, I feel like a cave dweller. The problem is that unless I want to start putting up T8 fluorescent lighting fixtures all over the ceiling, it’s looking rather difficult to fix. I don’t necessarily want that anyway, since it would have to all be on at once, and I don’t need to be sucking up the power like that all over the room most of the time.

I’ve opted for task lighting instead. Lots of it. I have the light on the ceiling (175w total), which is not even really adequate as ambient light for a room this large, a stand lamp by the desk (75w), and a task lamp over the cutting table and one over my hand sewing area (two 60w equivalent full-spectrum bulbs). So far so good, but still not enough light when the clouds are not cooperating or I’m burning the midnight oil.

Design Wall lighting

I added these lights above the design wall area, four Megaman Liliput Nature Color bulbs at 11 watts each (240w equivalent total output). I was a bit disappointed by the output on these for the design wall. I think I could have used at least 15 watts each, maybe even 20w (which would be 100w equivalent output each) since this is a place where I need to see. I had to order these bulbs from a German website though, so sending them back wasn’t really a doable option. Before I ordered these, I had my photo flood bulbs in the fixtures, and they’re so bright that it was like looking at the sun over there, so then I went too far the other way on the wattage. I decided to wait and see, thinking I might put more lights up elsewhere, and then I’d be able to switch them out with higher wattage bulbs without just putting the lower wattage ones in the closet unused.

Sewing table lighting

Yesterday I installed these fixtures over the sewing tables, and populated them with regular incandescent 60w spot bulbs. The lighting level is probably fine, but the quality of the light is just awful. There’s a huge difference in color temperature between the incandescent bulbs and energy saver fluorescent bulbs, not to mention daylight fluorescent bulbs, which is why I am going with the earlier tentative plan of purchasing more Nature Color bulbs in a higher wattage and switching out the ones on the design wall. I can put the lower wattage bulbs by the sewing tables so they won’t go to waste. The little buggers are expensive, but they’re supposed to last forever (or for eight years, whichever comes first), so maybe the expense is justified.

Even after all that, I’m still not sure I have enough light in here and there’s one whole corner that has almost none. I don’t even have that magic 900 watts yet, though I’m getting closer. There were folks on that woodworkers’ forum that had three or more watts per square foot and still thinking of adding more. I’ll order the higher wattage Nature Color bulbs and see where I’m at. It might have been cheaper and easier to hire a professional to just tell me what I needed in here in the way of lighting instead of fumbling around and learning as I go.

3 thoughts on “Adventures in Lighting, Part 3

  1. Hi Nadine. If you don’t feel like you still have enough light, then you don’t. More is better. I have four big ceiling can floods in my bedroom-sized studio. It’s really bright. I had to put dimmers on two of the cans so at least I could go into the room to get something and not fry my retinas.

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  2. Hi Nadine. If you don’t feel like you still have enough light, then you don’t. More is better. I have four big ceiling can floods in my bedroom-sized studio. It’s really bright. I had to put dimmers on two of the cans so at least I could go into the room to get something and not fry my eyeballs.

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  3. “More is better.” You’re definitely right, Rian, and if this were my house, I wouldn’t be agonizing over it so much I guess, but I do have to be sort of mindful of the fact that we’re not here forever, and the owners might not like too many permanent modifications to their property! I seem to worry about every hole I have to drill in the walls or ceiling…

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