As spaces that are used every day, visible from various rooms, and a “public” element, hallways are an important part of the home. Because they’re transition spaces, however, they are often given lower priority in the home décor scheme. Homeowners should realize the design potential of these spaces, with a major element being good lighting. Read this article on lighting tips for your hallway to learn how you can implement some of these ideas.
What Kind Of Light Should You Use?
The primary function of the hallway is safe passage from one part of the house to the next. Therefore, it should be uniformly lighted by an ambient light source. After that, an accent lighting layer can focus attention on objects of interest, and task lighting can focus supplementary lighting should a task be performed in the hall, such as a large mirror or closet.
The ideal ambient light source during the day is the sun. Skylights and windows provide opportunities to light hallways with daylight while using materials that minimize heat gain and direct glare. If glare is an issue, blinds can help control the daylight.
Deciding what electric lighting is appropriate can be challenging because these rooms are typically long and narrow. Because uniform general lighting is needed, the luminaires should be spaced at an equal distance apart. One method is to space them about eight feet apart; divide the hallway’s length and subtract one for a quick calculation of number of luminaires. So a 20-ft. hallway would require 20/8 = 2.5 – 1 = 2 luminaires.
Designing The Lighting
These luminaires should illuminate the floor and walls with no dark corners. Hallways shouldn’t just be safe, they should feel welcoming. Aiming light at reflective walls can provide a gentle, indirect lighting scheme.
Many homeowners beautify hallways with family photos, artwork or mirrors. All of these are focal points that can be highlighted with accent lighting.
Finally, identify any tasks that require supplementary lighting. A large storage closet should have lighting either over its entrance or inside the closet itself. A mirror over a table could benefit from a wall sconce on each side. And a table lamp could provide both task illumination and ambience on a hallway table.
Connecting the general lighting to dimmer switches allows you to tune light levels while saving energy and potentially increasing the life of the light sources.
Hallways may be transition spaces, but good lighting can help get you to your destination not just safely, but in style.
What You Need To Know About Lighting Your Hallway:
- Hallways are important spaces in the home
- Lighting’s first job is safety
- Lighting can also make the space visually comfortable and feel like home
- General lighting can be supplemented by accenting artwork and other objects of interest
- Task lighting provides more light for tables, closets and mirrors
By Craig DiLouie, LC