Distance Between Recessed Lights in a Hallway

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Hallway lighting plans are often overlooked when remodeling or building a new home. Inadequate or improperly placed recessed lighting can result in stumbling around in a dark corridor during the middle of the day or odd lighting patterns that are troubling to the eye. Placing recessed lighting fixtures in a particular pattern results in a well-lighted and safe pathway. Hallways that display artwork may benefit from adding fixtures to the designated lighting pattern.

Standard Recessed Lighting

Standard recessed lighting provides less light than a surface-mounted fixture because it is pointed directly at the floor. Surface-mounted fixtures allow the light to bounce off of the ceiling surface, throwing light out into the full space of the hallway. For most hallways, a standard recessed lighting fixture does the job required—highlighting the path so a person does not trip or fall. Standard distance between recessed hallway fixtures is between 6 and 8 feet measured from the center of each fixture. Recessed fixtures are placed along the center line of the hallway width for best effect.

General Guidelines

Each recessed lighting fixture illuminates a floor area equal to the ceiling height it is installed in. In other words, a recessed fixture in an 8-foot ceiling will illuminate about 8 feet of floor area. Placing fixtures between 6 and 8 feet apart allows the light to overlap and fill the hallway. Placing the recessed fixtures further than 8 feet apart will create pools of light and leave areas of the hallway in the shadows. Short hallways of 8 feet require only one recessed fixture.

Illuminating Art in Hallways

Hallways with artwork may benefit from adding a recessed eyeball fixture to a series of static recessed fixtures. Eyeball fixtures rotate in their housing allowing them to be angled toward objects. To place an eyeball fixture for lighting artwork, aim for a measurement of 60 percent of the distance between the top of the artwork to the ceiling. Once installed, the eyeball is tilted toward the art to illuminate it.

As an example, artwork measured from the ceiling down to the top of its frame results in a figure of 36 inches. The distance from the wall to the fixture is figured using this formula: 36 times 60 percent or 36 times .6. The fixture would need to be placed in the ceiling at 21.5 inches from the wall the artwork is hanging on. Recessed eyeball fixtures do not need to line up with static recessed fixtures.

Recessed Lighting Tricks

It is a well-known fact that the color white reflects light and the color black absorbs light. When purchasing recessed lighting for a hallway, choose a white baffle instead of a black baffle to help bounce more light into the hallway. The baffle is the light fixture component that surrounds the bulb and shields the light bulb. Baffle colors and styles are specified at the time of purchase or in construction specifications and documents.

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