In a typical home, each room’s ceiling is eight to 10 feet high. Light bulbs and fixtures are often designed with this height in mind. This means that, although a room with high ceilings can be a breathtaking, resplendent change, your lighting has to change with it. Your classic recessed ceiling bulbs will be just the start – you’ll need brighter, larger fixtures. This guide to lighting for tall ceilings can help you brighten loft spaces, penthouses, and all kinds of high places.
How do you light a room with a tall ceiling?
Tall ceilings mean that you have more surface area to illuminate, so high-ceiling lighting often involves adding more fixtures than in other rooms. It also means opting for high-lumen (high-brightness) bulbs and fixtures with broad beams. You can start with typical light bulbs, but you probably shouldn’t stop there. Hanging lights such as pendants and chandeliers are known to take high-ceiling spaces to the next level, as are certain LED lights and laser projectors.
How many lumens do you need for lighting tall ceilings?
To calculate the number of lumens your tall room will need, multiply your room’s length and width to get its square footage. Then, multiply this number by a figure known as “foot candles,” expressed in lumens per square foot. Here are some common foot candle values:
- Living room: 10 to 20 lm/ft2
- Dining room: 30 to 40 lm/ft2
- Bedroom: 10 to 20 lm/ft2
- Bathroom: 70 to 80 lm/ft2
- Kitchen: 30 to 40 lm/ft2
- Hallway: 5 to 10 lm/ft2
These values are independent of your ceiling height. That means your 400-square-foot living room will need 4,000 to 8,000 lumens no matter what. Since a typical light bulb’s brightness falls between 1,500 and 1,700 lumens, you’ll need five to six bulbs for this space. And then, you’ll need more bulbs to accommodate for height. You should distribute your lighting fixtures across your space while lighting the room more than enough to elevate your surroundings.
7 ideas for lighting tall ceilings
Below are seven ways you can light a room with tall ceilings. You’ll know you’re doing it right if walking into your room and turning on your lights feels like taking yourself somewhere far beyond the everyday.
1. Start with a hanging light and supplement it
Recessed lights alone can’t fully illuminate a tall room, but they can help a hanging light do its job well. Try hanging a pendant or chandelier in your room’s center and flanking it with recessed lighting fixtures. This way, you can carry the chandelier’s light well beyond its typical range. You’ll be more likely to reach every inch of your floors, walls, and ceiling while exploring your space’s most glamorous dimensions.
2. Use long-lasting LED lights
Alongside the difficulty of lighting every inch of a tall room comes the difficulty of reaching the ceiling to install your lights. Using long-lasting LED lights in your pendant-flanking recessed lights can minimize the number of trips you have to take up top. Or you could add bright lighting via LED strip lighting embedded in your wall or ambient mood LED lights near floor-level.
Lining your ceilings, walls, and other surfaces with LED lights can bring eye-catching, bright radiance and colors to your tallest rooms.
The BlissRadia is an even more advanced form of lighting for tall ceilings. You can keep it on a table or desk to use as task lighting or a colorful show that fills the whole room. Use it in night light mode to settle in for sleep or rainbow mode to experience every color on every inch of your tall room. Connect it to the BlissHome app or voice control so you can change your scenery without interrupting your journey.
BlissRadia Smart LED Mood Light
From desktop to bedside, light the way to concentration, stimulation, or relaxation.
3. Use natural light
Many tall rooms come with tall windows – in some cases, ceiling-to-floor windows. You should lean into this – it’s a great way to build your lighting foundation without a ton of fixtures. The abundant natural light that comes in through these windows shouldn’t comprise your entire lighting design, but it can be a great foundation.
During the daytime, keep your blinds, shades, and curtains open to welcome in all the sunlight. You should also install accent lighting in key spaces that your natural lighting doesn’t always reach as the sun’s angle in the sky changes. Then, at night, when the sun goes into hiding, switch back to your artificial lighting options to revive that daytime splendor.
4. Be smart with your recessed lighting
Recessed lights in tall rooms should be paired with hanging lights, and they should also have special features unique to high-ceiling spaces. For example, you should install a reflective layer around your recessed lights’ trim (the circular part around the bulb). This minor trick can reflect and intensify your light, meaning each light can do more work to fill your large space.
You should also place some recessed lights two or three feet away from your walls. This way, the highest parts of your walls get plenty of lighting, and you avoid patchy darkness where your walls meet your ceiling. It’s a subtle touch that can help you see your tallest spaces in a much clearer light.
5. Choose large hanging lights
Close your eyes and think of a large, glamorous room. Did you see a chandelier at the center? That’s a great cue for how you should decorate your high-ceiling spaces. A large hanging light – the key here is large – is a great start for your tall-ceiling space.
This is true for two reasons. One, larger hanging fixtures often include more bulbs and reflective features for brighter lighting that fills your whole space. Two, a large hanging light doubles as astonishing decor that can add new dimensions to your space. It’s a classic way to bring out the best of your surroundings.
6. Place your lights in three layers
Maybe you’ve heard that each room in your house should have three layers of lighting: ambient, task, and accent. That’s still true in tall rooms, and there’s another layering concept to consider there too: The rule of thirds.
This rule divides your room into top, middle, and bottom layers. You should include furniture in the bottom layer, art and decor in the middle, and lighting in all three. For example, you could scatter recessed lights throughout your ceiling and bring a chandelier down to the very top of your middle layer. You could then use desk lamps and other task and accent lights in your bottom layer. It’s a great way to traverse a tall room with light – without putting in much effort.
7. Add unique fixtures
Most challenges with lighting for tall ceilings come from the nature of typical bulbs and hanging lights. These fixtures can only direct light through a narrow beam that you can’t adjust. Typically, that’s not a problem, but in tall rooms, it can work to your disadvantage. Unique fixtures such as the Sky Lite Evolve can be a solution.
The Sky Lite Evolve’s spherical design means you can rotate your lighting to reach your walls, ceiling, or floor – often more than one at once. Plus, the Evolve emits light beyond your everyday white and yellow hues. It projects ultra-sharp laser stars and pink, blue, red, purple, orange, teal, or white nebula clouds wherever you point it.
You can use the Evolve’s built-in patterns or create your own, and you can control the Evolve via voice control or your phone. It’s a light that can take you above and beyond your tall ceilings to destinations truly out of this world.
Sky Lite Evolve: Smart Galaxy Projector
The latest evolution in smart galaxy lighting.
Light your tallest rooms with BlissLightsLighting for tall ceilings involves hanging lights and recessed lights, and smart placements of both – plus natural lighting where you can get it. To take your tall-room lighting to the next level, you’ll need fixtures that can cover your walls and ceilings with special colors and sights. BlissLights’ LED strips, ambient mood lights, and galaxy projectors are all great examples. Browse the BlissLights collection now for options that transcend the ordinary in any room, of any size.
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