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Potlight/Recessed Lighting Help!
smerani
February 12, 2013 in Design Dilemma
Hello, I'm in the process of building a new house and need some opinions on potlight placements. I have so far decided to put them in the great room and kitchen. Do these placements look ok? Would you suggest putting them anywhere else in the house? The fireplace will not be in the great room but rather a 3-sided fireplace seperating the kitchen and the greatroom. Whole main floor will be hardwood. Would you also suggest shifting the great room to create a larger nook and a smaller great room? Thank you!
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Deborah Butler, Brickwood Builders
Your recessed lights at work areas in the kitchen should be aligned between the front of upper cabinetry and the edge of the countertop - so basically about 18" -20" out from the wall. As you have positioned them, you will cast a shadow onto your work area because the light will be coming from behind you.

What lighting is over the island? What lighting is in the nook?
February 12, 2013 at 10:26am     
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smerani
Thanks for the quick response! I plan to have pendant lights over the island and chandelier type lighting in the nook. Would you suggest under cabinet lighting as well in the kitchen? Or does recessed lighting usually provide enough light?
February 12, 2013 at 10:29am   
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Deborah Butler, Brickwood Builders
Yes, put in undercabinet lighting. It makes a remarkable difference. You will love it.
February 12, 2013 at 11:40am   
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smerani
Added to the list! Any input on the great room lighting or any suggestions for additional recessed lights would be appreciated!! Thanks
February 12, 2013 at 1:40pm   
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Deborah Butler, Brickwood Builders
Put all of your recessed lights on dimmers. Not sure what you intend for furniture placement in the family room. With that many lights, I would switch them on multiple switches so you can use only the ones you want/need at any time - also on dimmers. Do you want your fireplace to be a focal point - you may want to put a couple of the little 4" directional spots directed toward the fireplace if so. Are there any built in bookcases - lighting in the top of those is very pleasant. Same is true if you have any of the kitchen cabinets with glass doors.

How are you lighting the space from the entry door past the stairs and into the kitchen area? You don't want this traffic area to appear dark.

Also, not a lighting issue, but it appears the entry to the master closet is through the bath. In such a situation, I would highly advise that you use an inline fan for your bath ventilation. An inline fan is mounted up in the attic rafters so there is virtually no noise at all. When using an inline fan, you can have several (I would put 3 in your space) ducts hooked to the one fan so that you can pull moisture out of the room swiftly and keep it from affecting items in the closet. The inline fan also allows you to get much larger cfm in order to move the air - up to about 270 cfm I think. I would also have the fan hooked to a humidistat control mounted down in the bath area so that it cuts itself on and off automatically when it senses moisture. I know this sounds like overkill, but you will be really glad you took these extra steps down the road. I like the NuTone/Broan inline fan because the grill units come with lights and it looks just like a standard recessed light so you can mix them in with your other recessed in the bath and they won't look out of place. (Panasonic may also match but I am not certain. I do know that the FanTech lights do not match standard recessed lights.)
February 12, 2013 at 2:03pm     
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smerani
To be honest, we don't have any idea on what furniture we want to put in the great room other than a tv mounted on the wall where the original fireplace location is. Based on research, I thought this lighting layout should provide even lighting (not sure if i'm right).

We are moving the fireplace from the front of the great room to a 3-sided separating the great room and the nook. Would this still need lights directed to it?

Since it is open to below to the right of the entrance, I was thinking maybe a chandelier type light there? and add a couple more recessed lights in between the kitchen and the great room to provide adequate lighting.

Thank you so much for suggesting the inline fan. That is something I have not even considered! I will definitely talk to the builder and see if this will be an option!

PS - This is my first time building and I appreciate your feedback. I feel so lost right now!
February 12, 2013 at 2:41pm     
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Deborah Butler, Brickwood Builders
It can be overwhelming. Hard for anyone to think of everything. Just think about where you intend to place the chandelier in the foyer area and where there might be "dead spots" that will be dark. You can fill those in with recessed lighting or you can use wall sconces depending upon your decor. It appears it may be dark over to the left of the foyer where maybe it's a coat closet.

Given the relocating of the fireplace, probably does not make sense to light it up. I think you have plenty of lighting in the family room, again I would just put it on 3 separate dimmer switches so you can adjust as you like.

Code will require a certain number of outlets in the family room. I would meet with the electrician and make sure that you locate them where they will be useful for furniture placement - which may mean you have to pay for a couple of extras, but they will be far more useful to you over time.
February 12, 2013 at 2:51pm   
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smerani
1 last question for you :)
For the 3 dimmer switches would you recommend doing 2-3-3 or 3-3-2 or 2-4-2 (From left to right in great room). I know its hard without any furniture in there but input would be great. Thanks
February 12, 2013 at 3:25pm   
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Deborah Butler, Brickwood Builders
Hmmm. Not sure. Depending upon where you plan to place the TV, I would have it so lights can be on in another part of the room without shining on or near the TV screen.
February 12, 2013 at 3:36pm   
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myrns
I would add pot lights in the upstairs hallway. They are easier to clean than ceiling mounted fixtures and never go out of style. Definitely under the counter lights in the kitchen.
February 12, 2013 at 4:00pm   
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smerani
I was planning on having the tv on the far left wall so there wouldn't be a centre light shining directly in front of it. With your comment in mind, maybe 2-3-3 would be the best option

Edit: yes I really want recessed lights in the upstairs hallway. Just trying to figure out how many I need. Any suggestions????
February 12, 2013 at 4:25pm   
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smerani
Updated Lighting. The green dots are pendant lights. all other rooms and foyer will have light fixtures or chandeliers. Opinions?
February 13, 2013 at 11:09am   
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Custom Home Planning Center
1st question what is the function of the light. (work areas, reading, wall art, general mood (Lums and focus of beam).
2nd question you want answered is size and types of cans & strip lights should I use.( 2" LED 18 gauge wire with remote transformer or up light crown molding and or coffer ceilings)
3 rd what level of control do you want. (RF command switching can eliminate the need for runners and can be automated for pad or cell phone switching in addition to wall switching for each light or group of lights)

Lighting is one of the most overlooked area for most builders, yet it defines the spaces.
February 13, 2013 at 11:37am   
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Deborah Butler, Brickwood Builders
Looking better. Can you mark in where the fireplace will be in the final design since you said it was moving? There may be too many lights in the family room.
February 13, 2013 at 12:03pm   
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smerani
I feel like my largest issue at the moment is that I have no idea what the function of the light will be. I guess I'm looking for general lighting that will work for multiple setups. Is this a bad way to be looking at it?

I also feel that there is too many lights in the living room but I'm not sure how else to rearrange them to provide enough general lighting. Do you think the second floor has too many as well?

I have added in the fireplace between the nook and the great room. I am thinking it may need to be shifted to the left by about a foot so I don't take away from the nook. I'm hoping to get a 6 seat table in there!
February 13, 2013 at 1:28pm   
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Deborah Butler, Brickwood Builders
Yes, you may need to slide it over some to the left or you will interfere with your table.

Have you gone to pick out your lighting yet? Do you know where your builder wants you to go for lights? I would make an appointment and have them assist you as they can really talk you through it and it will mean more than anything we can say online and make more sense. Generally you look at walls you might want to accent and where you intend to place furniture and electronic equipment. This helps you to know where you will be placing lamps as well.

I would say my feeling is that you can take three of the recessed lights that are not over countertops out in the kitchen. I would move the remaining one over nearer the door to the downstairs from the kitchen. That leaves three lights over workspaces and one at the down door.

I personally think that the great room has too many lights unless for some reason this is going to be a dark room. I would cut it down to about 4 lights. Are you going to put a ceiling fan in the great room? Will it have a light?

In the upstairs, I would cut out two of the lights - the middle one of each run.
February 13, 2013 at 1:53pm   
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myrns
Pot lights in hallway work well spaced 6 feet apart.
February 13, 2013 at 2:13pm   
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smerani
Thank you so much for your help! I put together a quick plan based on your suggestions. I like the option of having a ceiling fan in there. Would 4'' cans produce enough light or would 6 be better?

Last question, if I get the under cabinet lighting, would the recessed lights remain in the same position? Or could they be pushed out further from the wall?
February 13, 2013 at 2:25pm   
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Custom Home Planning Center
February 13, 2013 at 2:31pm   
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Deborah Butler, Brickwood Builders
The 4" lights are really nice, but I'll warn you that they are about 3x the cost of a 6" (at least here) and the 4" bulb replacements are much more costly. We use 5" or 6" for general lighting and use 4" sparingly (unless that's just what the client wants and has the budget for it). The 4" will not throw out as large a cone as the 6" so spacing needs to be considered.

For the recessed above the countertops, each electrician has their own belief. Our electrician says the center of the light bulb should be 24" out from wall (I always try to push it back an inch or so toward the wall). Then if you have the undercabinet lights you have good even lighting in all of your work area but also in general.
February 13, 2013 at 2:48pm   
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smerani
I have my design review in a few days and they want me to have a general layout if I am planning to go ahead with the recessed lights and you have been an enormous help! Thanks again!
February 13, 2013 at 3:03pm   
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Deborah Butler, Brickwood Builders
You're welcome. Hopefully everything will work out wonderfully for you. It is stressful - just remember to have some fun with the process as well.
February 14, 2013 at 9:23am     
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