Friday, April 2, 2010

Track Lights

Back in February I blogged about why I want tracks lights vs pot lights. Now we are about a week away from having to finalize the electrical plan and I am going through my options once again. I don't think you should leave your lighting plan up to the contractor to decide (or even the electrician).  It's a critical element in the space.  It will do as much, or more for the room, as, say, your choice in paint colour...and you wouldn't leave that decision up to your contractor, would you?

We went shopping for track lights on Thursday. The salesperson at Union Lighting recommended we use low voltage track lights for a whiter, more 'crispy' light.  We left the store thinking this was going to be easy, all we had to do was choose between the three styles of lights shown above (round, square, exposed - I like the exposed, in white...there are other options on  However, after doing some reading online, it seems that these low voltage (MR16) lights are great for accent lighting, but not for general lighting. (Its never that easy).  If we use regular line-voltage lights, we still have the option of using the same three styles above (or close enough)...

Ok the actual lights aside, we still have to determine where the tracks will be placed. Snapping the lights into the track is the easy part (although we do have to make sure we put up tracks compatible with the lights we are going to get). Oh and if its not bright enough, we can just buy more of the lights and snap them in ourselves.  Easy peesy.

To determine the location of the lights we first have to know the layout of the furniture.  We decided the best option was to put the TV on the North wall.  We will also install a 100" retractable screen on the ceiling along the same wall.  (I know, I know, its not my idea...but its happening none-the-less).

I have sketched out on our permit drawings the furniture locations and my prelim lighting plan. (I am showing you the quickie version above, the black line in the centre is the location of the beam)...I measured the distances and should be able to get a 8'x16'x8' U in the main space, and a couple lines in the 'hallway' and nook.  My full plan calls for:

- 6 x 8' tracks (4 linked into a U in the main space, 2 lined up along the main traffic area)
- 3 x 4' tracks (1 over laundry machines, 1 over laundry sink, 1 in nook)
- 2 sconces and 2 outlets (accent lighting, I want lamps in 2 corners to light up when you flick that switch)
- 4 regular boxes for fixtures (Util room, bathroom, storage room, bar area)
- 2 sconces in bathroom above mirror
- 7 pot lights (2 stairwell, 2 shower, 2 above bar shelves, 1 under stairs)

Here is where I cheat a little bit...I have called the architect who masterminded the construction on the main floors of our house to come over so we can brainstorm.  We meet on Monday.  I just want to make sure I haven't overlooked anything. (Like how to light up the area inside that U).  I will let you know what we come up with!

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