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Old 08-21-2013, 06:36 PM  
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Default Need lighting suggestions/ideas

I recently purchased my parent's old home (both parents are now passed). My dad designed and built the place back in 1970. It's a great house, but I know from living in it and being around it all my life that there are some things in it that just don't work well. One of these things was having a separate family room and living room. The living room was never used for anything, it was just a waste of space. Soooo... I have decided to remove the wall that separates them and make one HUGE living room.It will be 25' x 30'.

I had it looked at and a beam engineered to carry the weight of the load bearing wall that seperates them so I can remove the load bearing wall. I also bulked up both ends to be able to carry the new load. Yesterday I installed the new 26 ft glue-lam beam. This weekend I will be tearing out the wall.

I am kinda lost on what to do with the lighting tho. The living room only has two lamps in it (no ceiling lights). The family room has one ceiling fan with a light kit. Both rooms have always been very dark and dreary, especially at night.

I thought about installing can lights, but after doing the math from everything I have read (which essentially means 1 can light per every 4 foot), that means I would need about 48 can lights!!!! EEK! No no no..... That's too many lights, and way too much wiring. My ceiling would look like swiss cheese and my attic would look like a spaghetti factory.

I have had friends in the construction industry suggest I be more "specific" about my lighting, taking furniture and what-not into consideration. Not sure I want to do that, because down the road I may want to buy different furniture/rearrange the room and not get "trapped" by the lighting I have installed. I also want to limit the "intrustion" of light fixtures down into the space because the house only has 8 ft ceilings (hence why I had originally wanted can lights).

I have attached a picture of the original plan of the two rooms, along with the foyer (which is also going away and becoming a part of the large living room).

The wall the fireplace is on is the east outside wall and is 25 ft long (and has a huge patio behind it so you don't get a lot of light from the one window on that wall). The north and south walls are 25 ft.

I would appreciate any suggestions!

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Old 08-21-2013, 06:45 PM  
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Eww, that picture came out really blurry. Here is a better photo.

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Last edited by whammo77; 08-21-2013 at 06:49 PM.
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Old 08-21-2013, 09:05 PM  
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You have what is called a "great room" in architectural terms. Rooms of this kind are divided into zones by the furniture arrangement. Before closing up the ceiling, you should talk to an interior designer about the zone arrangement and the lighting needs in each. You can use a combination of cans, up-lighting, floor lamps and table lamps to create a really special space. If you have the budget, LEDs are a good choice because of their long life and minimal power needs. You might also consider in-floor receptacles to power the lamps in some of the zones.

Google "lighting a great room" for ideas and layouts.

Good luck!
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Old 08-22-2013, 06:25 PM  
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Here is kinda how we are planning on laying it out.
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Old 08-23-2013, 05:41 AM  
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I wasn’t going to post it’s very hard to envision another’s use of a space and all that goes into lighting. You have posted your layout and that helps a lot. I see you have plans for a projection screen, something I have had quite a bit of experience with having a similar media room in my old house and building one into the new house I’m currently working on.

With home front projection lighting is your biggest challenge and or can make or break the best systems money can buy. Done correctly though the amount of apparent ambient light will amaze you. I said apparent because lighting has to be directed away from the screen first and second has to be controlled. The way our eyes adjust to light levels allows us to see under a wide range of light intensity. No one wants to sit in a totally black room to watch media with the exception of a dedicated home theater. Most of us into home front projection want more of an informal setting and a balance between light levels and still feeling the room is bright enough to interact.

Secondly wall and ceiling color and even flooring all play a part in picture quality and it’s not enough to say I will only watch at night with the lights off as the projected light bouncing off the screen will redirect back to the screen.

By the looks of your layout you are planning a big screen something in the 100 inch plus size and that will be very cool. Also remember big images need big sound and work that into your plans as well.
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Old 08-24-2013, 09:33 PM  
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i have track lighting - We also found 3m actually has a tape rope light with a remote and sections - one of the coolest cost effective methods I've seen. I was skeptical but I love them. they look nice under the fireplace mantle

Last edited by alesha; 08-24-2013 at 09:49 PM.
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