How Much Light Do I Need?

The amount of light needed varies by room, tasks, age and several other factors. Except for kitchens, laundry rooms, bathrooms and other areas where tasks are performed you do not need lots of light in the rest of the house. Filling a room with light is more important than having high levels of light. That is what layers of light do, they help fill a room with light. Social interaction is enhanced by comfortable lighting whereas tasks require higher levels of lighting.

Comfortable Lighting for Dining

Generally speaking the amount of light that is needed for most tasks like cooking and for reading is around 50-60 footcandles (f/c) That is the amount of light needed on the work surface. Sewing requires more light and grooming a little less light. Social spaces like living rooms are OK at 20-30 f/c. It is important to remember that older eyes need more light to do see the as young eyes. A 50 year old needs about twice as much light as a 20 year old to see the same.

Higher levels of light can be achieved without glare, but care must be taken to choose the correct fixture and to layer the lighting in a pleasing way. Do not rely on just recessed or just under cabinet lights. Use a combination along with good ambient lighting.

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