How to Arrange the Lighting in a Garage


The garage serves as a base for many home improvement, woodworking, automotive and other projects. A good lighting layout makes the space more functional, allowing you to tackle your to-do list more efficiently. It also improves the safety of the work space by allowing you to more easily see what you are doing. Many factors go into a lighting plan, including the size, use and layout of the garage. Both general overhead lighting and functional task lighting work together to create a usable workspace.

  • Assess the current garage lighting both at night and during the day. Stand in different areas, mimicking normal tasks you would complete. Note the areas that seem dark, have poor lighting or have lots of shadows.

  • Identify the different functional areas of the garage where you do most of your tasks. A workbench is usually the primary location. Also consider the lighting in storage areas of the garage where you might need extra light to locate things.

  • Sketch the garage, marking the different functional areas. Draw in the existing electrical wiring and light fixtures. Adding new light fixtures is easiest along the current wiring.

  • Decide if you need additional overhead lights based on the lighting output. Spread the overhead lights evenly throughout the garage for consistent, even lighting. If you don't want to hardwire new overhead lights, choose hanging lights that go into a regular outlet.

  • Identify areas that need additional task lighting such as a workbench. Decide what type of task lighting you want. Recessed lights or hanging shop lights work well for this type of lighting.

  • Keep at least one drop light and clip-on light handy for times when you need additional task lighting in the garage.

  • Test the new lighting layout at night to determine how well it works. Add more lighting as needed, keeping in mind the electrical capacity of outlets in the garage.

Tips & Warnings

  • Painting the walls white or another light color makes the garage feel lighter overall. This makes any lighting you install more effective.
  • If you aren't experience or comfortable with electrical work, hire an electrician to install any new lighting fixtures. Any wiring mistakes become a fire hazard.

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