Saturday, March 28, 2009

Bookcase Lighting: Mistakes to Avoid

Before I list the bookcase lighting mistakes to avoid, I realized I left off one option for bookcase lighting on my last blog. That option would be to light the bookcase from a recessed can light mounted in the ceiling several feet out from the bookcase. There are various types of canned lights from which to choose.

Bookcase Lighting Mistakes to Avoid

1. Make sure your electrical plans indicate the kind of bookcase lighting you plan to install and pay close attention to the location.

2. Make sure the size and shape of the lighting fixture is adequate enough to cast enough light to illuminate your bookcase. You will also want to make sure the scale of the light fixture is in line with the scale of the bookcase.

3. Determine that once mounted, how many shelves below will the lighting fixture illuminate?

4. Determine if it is important to you that the lighting fixture and the arm of the lighting fixture be able to move around so that you can adjust the lighting?

5. If your bookcase almost reaches the ceiling in height, make sure when mounted, the lighting fixture you select does not project to high upward and end up hitting the ceiling.

6. When selecting a light fixture that mounts into your bookcase, make note of how far it will project out from the bookcase once mounted. The projection will need to relate to the size of the room and the size of the bookcase.

7. If you have stereo equipment such as a receiver, CD player, etc. located on your bookcase shelf, make sure there is enough light to illuminate the dials and buttons so you can see to operate the equipment.

8. If using rope lighting, make sure when installed and you are seated in the area, you cannot see the actual rope lighting. Being able to see it takes away the aesthetic quaility of using rope lighting.

9. Realize if you use a recessed canned light or puck light installed above the top shelf of the bookcase, it will only provide light for that top shelf. Even if you use glass shelves, the objects on each shelf will block the light from traveling below. A solution is to have a puck light mounted underneath each shelf so that it will light the shelf below. However, a skilled electrician and carpenter will need to work together to create an aesthetically pleasing mount. Another solution is to use rope lighting for the lower shelves.

10. Take time to think through where you will locate the light switch(s) to turn on the bookcase lighting. Will you want to use a three-way or even a four-way light switch allowing you to turn the bookcase lights on at each entrance to the room with the bookcase and have a light switch hidden within one of the shelves? Will you want a dimmer switch on each light switch?

11. Will you place a small lamp on one of the bookcase shelves? If so, plan for an outlet. Will you want to be able to turn that lamp on and off at a light switch instead of having to walk to the bookcase each time you want to turn it on and off.

Remember Earth Hour is Saturday March 28, 2009, at 8:30 pm local time wherever you live on planet earth. Join in and turn your lights out for one hour.


Patricia Gray said...

Good Points.

Hope you had a Happy Earth Hour!

Susan Lang said...

Thanks for the comment! My Earth Hour was kind of dark! ...susan

Hudson Goods said...

I turned mine out! helpful advice here!

Susan Lang said...

Hudson Goods, checked out your blog...really cool items, took me down memory lane! thanks for the comment.

Linda at Lime in the Coconut! said...

Great list! Thanks.

leslie said...

I'm building 12 foot high bookcases with a glass sunroom ceiling. Any tips on lighting?

La Maison Fou said...

Great points, I am looking into some for my bookcases.