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Ideas and Inspiration

Jan 13, 2014

Lighting Tips

Best Closet Lighting Ideas that are Cost Effective

Keep your Resolution with Cool Closet Lighting Design

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image: for IKEA

Take the stress out of getting dressed in the morning and update your closet lighting design.  See colors more vividly and surround yourself in flattering illumination with the latest closet lighting tips.  Whether you are building a new closet or updating an existing one, there are specific rules for safely and effectively lighting this valuable space.

The options abound in closet design from choosing the number of shelves and drawers to the dimensions of hanging space and shoe storage.  Some closets may serve as dressing rooms with areas for makeup application, as well.  Providing sufficient lighting is tantamount to making the best use of your space; for all that planning is wasted if you cannot see well enough to distinguish a black sock from a navy blue one.

Contemporary Closet by Other Metro Architects & Building Designers Vick Vanlian Architecture and Design

Top 3 Reasons to Update your Closet with the Right Light Fixtures

1.  To be in compliance with new National Electrical Code (NEC) safety standards.

2.  To make the best use of your closet design with the most energy-efficient luminaires.

3.  To get the most flattering lighting effects that reflect the true colors of your wardrobe.

* If you are starting from scratch and custom designing a new closet, the lighting design should be included from the start. Make the most of your space and invest in well-designed closet light fixtures and energy-efficient bulbs.

20742-bs Access Energy Smart Flush fixture

Closet Lighting Tips:  5 Wise Ways to Safely Update your Look in 2015

1. When using surface-mounted incandescent or LED(light emitting diode) luminaires within an enclosed light source, be sure to install fixtures at least 12 inches from all storage areas.  If opting for a single surface-mounted light fixture, size the fixture to allow for a clearance of 18-24 inches from the wall. Usually one centrally located surface-mounted fixture will be sufficient to illuminate a standard size closet.

2. For surface-mounted or recessed fluorescent light fixtures, a minimum clearance of 6 inches between the light source and storage space is required.  LED and fluorescent light fixtures run cooler than incandescent, so they are the top choice in closet lighting design.

NEC Section 410-8(d) (2) “Surface-mounted fluorescent fixtures shall be permitted to be installed on the wall above the door or on the ceiling, provided there is a minimum clearance of 6 inches between the fixture and the nearest point of a storage space.”

3.  When choosing surface-mounted or recessed LED light fixtures, go for top quality luminaires and buy from a reputable dealer.  LED lighting may cost a bit more, but the energy-savings, maintenance-free operation and safety features of LED will prove to be well worth the investment.

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The quality and adaptability of new LED light fixtures makes for an excellent choice in closets and dressing rooms.

4. Do not overload your closets. Take extra precautions to make sure your valuables are stored securely, so there is no danger of them coming into contact with a light source. Be sure to store pillows, blankets, and clothing so that they do not block or limit illumination from your closet light fixtures.

5.  Whether you choose incandescent, fluorescent or LED closet light fixtures, be sure to choose bulbs with good color rendering (CRI) and correlated color temperature (CCT)*.  New bulb packaging should indicate CRI, as well as color temperature for each lamp.

*NOTE:  For best color matching:  Lighting designer, Randall Whitehead recommends light sources for closets be in the 4000K-5000K clean and bright color temperature range with a CRI of 80-85 or higher.

vent_bz_gls_dome_amb track light

Because closets contain flammable material and limited ventilation, strict building codes dictate that specified lighting fixtures must be installed 18 to 24 inches from walls depending upon which lamp source is being employed. Surface mounted and recessed fixtures must allow for 6-12 inches of clearance from any storage space, such as shelving or clothing rods.

Light fixtures with open or partially open lamps and pendant-type light fixtures should NOT be installed in a standard-sized clothes closet.

The National Fire Protection Association publishes the National Electrical Code (NEC) to set standards that should be followed for safe installation of all lighting fixtures.  A new NEC code is issued every three years; the latest codes were issued in 2014 to include LED (light emitting diode) fixtures for use in closet storage spaces.  Be sure to check current NEC standards before purchasing light fixtures when building new or remodeling.

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Visit with a Capitol Lighting certified lighting consultant for more information and innovative ideas to update your closet with the right light.

Find great storage solutions, too, with NEW decorative and highly functional storage chests and cabinets available at…

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“Masterpiece” from Butler Specialty

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“Talford” chest from Cyan Design, abundant drawer space in a functional and fashionable neatly stacked accent piece.

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Find plenty of additional storage space for clothing and accessories with this fabulously tailored decorative chest from Arteriors Home.

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Check out energy-saving LED flushmount fixtures from Batalion Imports at