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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all-- we're about to finish our basement, and in the main area I'm doing an entertainment/bar/theater space. I'm struggling with the lighting layout and would appreciate some advice.


I will be putting LED lights inside the crown molding (for this kind of effect ). I'm mainly trying to figure out what to do about all the recessed lights. I have at least two goals/modes I'm aiming for:


1. General bright lighting -- doing something in the basement other than watching TV

2. Movie mode -- crown LEDs on and some kind of dim ambient that adds drama and lets you see without being very bright.


As you can see in the attached drawing, I have two tray ceilings in the main area -- one directly over where the TV/theater area will be (on the right), and one in the center part of the basement where there will maybe be a foosball table, a bar table and chairs, etc. There is a bulkhead dividing the two that creates these two "tray zones" in the ceiling.


Showing in the layout right now, I have 5" cans spread throughout for general lighting (this matches the rest of my house). I'm thinking about small 3" wall washers along the bulkheads around the room, but as you can see in the drawing they would only be about 9-10" from the wall (except for the one actually containing the mechanical run, the bulkheads are 18" wide). Would that be ok? I'm envisioning that in "movie mode", these small wall washers would be on along with the crown LED strips, and the main lights would be either off or very low.


Is this too many lights? Are the small cans too close to the walls? How would you approach lighting this space?



 

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I am not lighting expert, and to some degree these things are subjective.


That said, I think you have way too much lighting. My den has similar dimensions to your viewing area - I have 4 hi-hats on a 10 foot ceiling and it is plenty of light (which we hardly use because I think it is too much light). Yours has 7, plus LED. I think additional wall lighting is overkill. Same for the 9 hi-hats in your other area (plus LEDs, plus bar area lighting). I think it is too much. A staggered pattern would probably allow for less light fixtures with better overall room lighting. IMO, if you want to add the cans along the wall, you could definitely cut down on the number of other overhead cans.


Again - personal taste. But looking at your layout and drawing, I would probably want sunglasses when everything is turned on.
 

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As long as you use dimmers so you can dim them and split them up on different switches so you can control them from different light switches then you'll be ok. Yea you could definately get away with less. I probably over did it in my basement build also. But I have full control to dimm everything and seperate them out. It is personal pref really. Who knows when I'm done with my build I may be leaveing a few bulbs out but will see.
 

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Dimmers and multiple light circuits are the key. Let's face it...lights are cool. If the cost of that many cans is manageable, I would tend to say keep your setup as you have it...just make sure (like Gec says) to separate them out on as many different switches/circuits as you can. You can always create your desired light environment by dimming/turning off certain cans or rows of cans (or even by the type and/or wattage of bulb used in the cans).....but it is much more difficult to ADD more light back in if you don't have the cans there to begin with. With the proper control switches and setup, you can create multiple scenes and control them remotely with a universal remote. An investment for sure, but it looks like you've got a nice setup planned and I personally wouldn't cut corners on lighting.


Love the LED channel lighting idea in the moulding...always a nice effect.


Small cans in the bulkheads create a nice "wall wash" effect, especially if they too are on dimmers. I have 3 small directional spots in front of my screen and another set of 3 on a wall by the pool table...both sets about 10"-14" inches from the wall. Being directional, they can be aimed at framed prints on the wall to highlight them, or straight down as a wall-wash.


I realize my opinion differs from jrm's, but it's just my two cents. I would err on the side of overkill and scale down the light output by dimmers and other means.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thank you all for your input. I too would prefer to err on the side of too many than too few; also, when I tried an arrangement with fewer lights, the spacing (necessitated by the size of my bulkheads/tray ceilings) just seemed like it was too far apart. Granted, the layout I show seems like it might be a bit dense, but if those are my two options I'm going for more light I think. I'm going to play with it some more though, and I suppose worst case I can always install everything and test it (to a certain extent) before the drywall goes in, then reconfigure if I really hate it.
 

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I am in the middle of my basement remodel now and I am being very aggressive with lights too.  Even the electrician friend who helped me put them in said I probably was in overkill mode....though, he did say, add them now because it is a pain to add them later.

 

I'll echo what the others said about circuits, switches and dimmers.  this is essential so you can sort of "zone" the lights.  Also, in a basement, lights over the windows do give the space a more open look. 

 

I have a 24'x30' room (home theater/living room) next to a 14'x18' bar area.  In the larger room, I have nine 6" cans in the center zone of the room.  along the walls I have eight 4" cans for ambient/wall splash.  Several on the bar area using a similar pattern, including the three pendants over the bar.

 

The nice lights in the center will be outfitted with Phillips Hue wifi bulbs that are highly controllable and allow for nearly any light configuration i want.  Colors, zones, intensity...you name it.  Yes, they are pricey.  $200 for the starter set of three bulbs and a wifi bridge...then $50-60 per bulb going forward.  I look at this way, I decided to go with lots of lights, I figure the expense of customization just makes sense....plus, these lights are pretty damn cool.

 

Hope this offers some insight.

 

 

 

 

 

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When I redid my family room, I used 12 6 inch lights to cover 15x23 (approximately). The lights in the room were OK, but there was still not enough light at the edges of the room. I also put in 6 4 inch lights on on part of the room to light the walls there. I designed the lighting to allow our kids to play in the room, so we wanted relatively even coverage on the floor, and I spaced the lights with calculations using halogen bulbs with certain bulb spreads. To do the same with LED, you'd have to figure out the bulb spread (easiest might be to put one in and measure the spread). I also used a Grafik Eye with four zones.
 
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