The workshop might be the last place you would think staging and beauty matters. Yet lighting isn’t just for making a home look more open and inviting; it’s also the driving factor behind how well your projects turn out.
Workshop lighting matters as much as lighting the inside of your home, if you want your projects to turn out correctly. Special lighting for auto mechanic projects, to under cabinet lighting on a workbench, the fixtures and brightness affect your pace and productivity.
Here are some ideas for making your San Diego area workshop an ideal space, suited to your individual needs.
Wire workshop lights in different zones so that you can turn off lights in one or more areas that you’re not using. Even if you have a smaller workshop, you’ll still likely have a workbench area, plus other open areas. You can’t use the whole space at the same time, so zone lighting still applies to small spaces.
Consider lights a constant load and only use 12 of your 15 amps in a circuit. This helps avoid overload and outages. The last thing you want in your workshop is instant darkness when working with power tools.
You’ll find the amperage information you need on the light fixtures you’re planning to use. If it only lists watts, use a simple calculation to determine the amps.
Just make sure you don’t put the lighting on the same circuit with your power tools. If one of the tools surged or had a problem, you wouldn’t want the surge to cut all the lights.
The light above your workbench is paramount to getting your projects done. Also called task lighting, it can mean the difference between getting sleepy or grumpy and finishing a project without difficulty.
While it’s no secret that lighting influences your productivity, determining precisely the right type of light for woodworking, or whatever your hobby is, can be tricky. You don’t want too much of a glare on your tools because that makes it hard to see. You also don’t want the lighting choice to shine in your eyes. Neither of these options helps you get work done, but what’s the solution?
Steer clear of bare bulbs. While they are functional and typical for a workshop space, they don’t offer any direction for the light. This means it shines everywhere, including in your eyes. Even a reflector on the outside of the bulb can mean glares on your tools and your project.
Opt instead for a light behind you, above your head, and slightly behind your head. It will reflect the light away from you, instead of in your eyes. You won’t have the glare on your tools either.
Another way to avoid the glare from harsh lighting is to install under cabinet lighting. Out in the workshop, it serves a similar purpose as it does in the kitchen.
For one, it puts the light closer to your hands. Instead of shining from way up above, it’s only 2-3 feet from the counter or workbench where the project is.
The other benefit of under cabinet lighting is that the light comes from beneath your eyes. You don’t get any of the reflection or direct light rays shining in your eyes, prohibiting sight and work.
Workshop Lighting for Vehicles
If you use your workshop or garage more for vehicles than wood projects, you may want some specialty lighting. Getting into the deep pockets under a car is tricky enough without being unable to see.
When working in the pit use lights on the vehicle lift to illuminate the underbody of the car. While handheld lights are available that are magnetic, it’s hard to find a place to affix it that doesn’t get in the way and still provide the light you need. Installing lights on the lift is a way to avoid the hassle and always find what you’re looking for.
If you’re using your workshop as more of a showroom for vehicles than a maintenance space, you may want to look into floor lighting. Floor lighting for show vehicles gives a professional look to the space, but it’s also a great way to display the vehicles for the best view.
Type and Placement of Lights
Your lighting options will be cheaper with LEDs, as well as having more recycling options when they’re worn out. They don’t use as much power as fluorescent bulbs, which is another popular choice for workshops. LEDs are also more durable for what ends up being a slightly rough environment.
Most workshops aim for between 50 and 100 lumens per square foot of space. Do you know how big your workshop is? Measuring will help you figure out how many lumens your goal should be.
Aim for more lumens per square foot if you have poor eyesight. As far as where to put the light fixtures to help you get the lumens you want, this calculator can help. It will help you determine how many fixtures you need, if you know how many lumens they produce.
A Productive Space
Your workshop lighting will determine how well you’re able to use the space over the next several years. Using the tips above, you can design the lighting in a way that boosts your productivity and helps you accomplish your goals. From placement to the total lumens, your space should be your own and optimal for its purpose.
For more help with setting up the lighting in your workshop, request a free consultation from Lighting Distinctions today.