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Thread: Light Advice for Basement?

  1. #1
    Super Member plainpat's Avatar
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    Light Advice for Basement?

    I went from using kitchen table for sewing,to a former utility area.It was small,but had cabinets & counter space.
    Now we're moving to another house where I will have a big finished basement room for sewing.There's only a couple "window wells"......too high to provide light.Most of 3walls will be open shelving,plus cutting table,sewing machine& ironing board along 4th wall.
    Have no idea what to use for lights,as I'll need more than just over the machine.
    Any advice on lighting a basement room? Thanks for your help.
    Pat

  2. #2
    Super Member mom-6's Avatar
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    A very cost effective method is using the fluorescent 'shop lights'. You can get the color correction bulbs (tubes) for them now, and they should work very well for you.
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  3. #3
    Super Member plainpat's Avatar
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    DH just removed quite a few fluorescent lights from the garage.Now to look up the full spectrum bulbs.Thanks so much.
    Pat

  4. #4
    Senior Member ksdot417's Avatar
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    I have fluorescent lights in my basement, with window wells. They work great. Above my quilt machine I was able to have track lighting installed so I can direct it a little better when quilting.

  5. #5
    Junior Member Grandma Jane's Avatar
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    I like the fluorescent "cloud" lights - I use the "daylight" bulbs
    Grandma Jane
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  6. #6
    Super Member Country1's Avatar
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    I agree, shop lights. My DH installed one over my Quilting frame and machine, works great!.
    Country 1

  7. #7
    Super Member Christine-'s Avatar
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    I order full spectrum shop light tubes from Long Life Lighting. They have a huge, huge store with every bulb known on the planet. They even sell reproduction bulbs needed for the light fixtures from the early 1900s.

    Their price is reasonable on the full spectrum bulbs, and they ship extremely well. They've been in business over 30 years too!

    I organized four different quilt shop road trips a few years ago and we included this in one of the stops.
    http://www.lightbulbspecialist.net/fullspectrum.htm
    Last edited by Christine-; 04-17-2012 at 07:22 PM.
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  8. #8
    Senior Member RonieM's Avatar
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    I have very little natural lighting in my sewing room, so I had hubby install 7 flourescent shop lights. I now have tons of light and can see very well.

  9. #9
    Super Member brushandthimble's Avatar
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    I have 2 flourescent lights in my studio, each holds 4 bulbs. I just replaced all 8 bulbs with full daylight bulbs, looks much brighter and a different color lighting. Can anyone tell me the difference between the full spectrum bulbs vs the daylight bulbs? thanks
    After 2 years with the same signature I have been requested to remove it. Bye

  10. #10
    Super Member JoyjoyMarie's Avatar
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    I have an unfinished basement with two window wells - about 3 ft square each, so larger than average. that I quilt in . I love having the space all to myself. We put flourescent bulbs in all the utility fixtures, then hung shop lights over my cutting area and over my sewing/ironing area. It works really well for me. And thanks to smiley Christine for the bulb link!
    KEEP CALM and CARRY ON!!

  11. #11
    Power Poster QuiltE's Avatar
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    ditto on the fluorescent fixtures with daylight bulbs.
    LOTS of fixtures and LOTS of bulbs!!!

    Keeping the lights/fixtures close, the light shed will overlap and help to avoid shadows, which makes for a much easier and more pleasant work area.

    Add into the mix, more than one switch ... if you don't need as much light, then you can leave some of the bulbs off. However, I did that, and I still find I turn them all on!!!

    Because it's bright and clear, because of the daylight bulbs, I can sew any time of the day .... or night!

    All of my lights throughout my home (regular bulbs, CFLs, and fluoresecents) have gradually been switched the the daylight bulbs, and what a difference it makes!!! Every once in awhile a warm or cool bulb seems to infiltrate, and I sure notice the difference in the colour given off ...... and soon get rid of it for a daylight bulb!!
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  12. #12
    Super Member Lori S's Avatar
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    When I finished my basement a few years ago I had LOTS of flouresant fixtures put in , with multiple switches , so I can turn on various amounts.
    When they were installing they called me to come look ... I am sure the electrician wanted to reduce the number of fixtures as it was really really Bright . I took one look and said ... that exactly what I want ... "its brighter than daylight". They thought I was nuts ... but I love it!
    Do be careful with placement , as all center of the room fixtures will still create some shadowing at the perimeter of the room when working . Since most of us put our sewing machines on the wall plan for a fixture at the wall of that area. Also concider where your cutting area and ironing board will be located.

  13. #13
    Senior Member leighway's Avatar
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    If you're one of those, like me, who happens to be very sensitive to the quality of light in a room, I'd recommend the strategic placement of several small lamps around the room to "cut" the severity of fluorescent lighting. Even tho they do have very good daylight bulbs, I often feel the light above is pressing down on my head and I refer to a room with a single overhead bulb as the Nazi interrogation chamber. I also like the inclusion of an uplight somewhere in the room. I'm talking about one of those inexpensive tall torchiere lamps which beam their light to the ceiling where it softens and bounces back into the room.
    There are decorators, engineers and psychologists who all have said that the quality and placement of light will affect whether or not you enjoy entering and staying in a room. Good luck and trust your feelings on this.

  14. #14
    Super Member llong0233's Avatar
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    Mom6 has the right idea. Shop lights are inexpensive, not to difficult to hang and give the best light possible for a large space. I just bought 2 and will simply hang them from the ceiling in my office/sewing room. Direct, overhead light that doesn't give off a lot of heat...just the ticket. Good luck with your project.
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  15. #15
    Super Member Chasing Hawk's Avatar
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    The ladies have the right idea about the lighting. My suggestion is white paint especially on the ceiling. Semi gloss white is easier to clean and reflects the light wonderfully. My sewing room isn't white white, it has a subtle hint of yellow in it. Kiwi frost I think was the color.

    We painted the shop all white and hung up the light fixtures and the change was dramatic. What an increase in light and we didn't have to buy extra fixtures.

    Just don't go over board with the lights.
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    QM
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    I used to use the full spectrum tubes, since a friend represented the company for large commercial installations. One thing about being married to a former radio television engineer, lighting specialist, is that he now sets up my lighting. What I have now is LED track units for the general area and a LED desk light on a pull out and swivel arm for additional "extra" lighting. They cost more to start with but use almost no power (3-7 watts each). DH tells me that "full spectrum" is not what I wanted, rather "high color temperature". Whatever he calls it, it works really well and our power bill is low enough to make us smile.

  17. #17
    Super Member plainpat's Avatar
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    Cool

    Thanks to everyone for the lighting info.Much to think about. I see Big Lots still sells the cheap off brand sewing lights like sold at Joann's.Can see a couple of them coming home with me.One as an over the shoulder floor lamp ...another a desk light.Added to the fluorescent bulbs,should be a Bright sewing room.
    Pat

  18. #18
    Super Member brushandthimble's Avatar
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    I was not home when mine was installed, but DH said the electrian asked if we were going to wear sunglasses LOL.
    I have track lights on either side of the room at ceiling height, as a few students still complain about the light. MY tube fixtures are over the table.
    I don't know if the new daylight bulbs have anything to do with, but now that I think about it, since putting them in I am spending ALOT more time in there LOL. Just busy working on the UFO Challange.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lori S View Post
    When I finished my basement a few years ago I had LOTS of flouresant fixtures put in , with multiple switches , so I can turn on various amounts.
    When they were installing they called me to come look ... I am sure the electrician wanted to reduce the number of fixtures as it was really really Bright . I took one look and said ... that exactly what I want ... "its brighter than daylight". They thought I was nuts ... but I love it!
    Do be careful with placement , as all center of the room fixtures will still create some shadowing at the perimeter of the room when working . Since most of us put our sewing machines on the wall plan for a fixture at the wall of that area. Also concider where your cutting area and ironing board will be located.
    After 2 years with the same signature I have been requested to remove it. Bye

  19. #19
    QM
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    Over 30 years ago (IE, before I married my DH), there were a couple of very good scientific studies done showing that the quality of lighting makes a HUGE difference in workplace productivity and in classroom learning. More recently (2005, maybe?) I saw a piece on Simply Quilts with an MD talking about sewing room ergonomics (she'd written a book on the subject). What most struck me about her comments was the regular, predictable, dramatic increase in light required as we age. She expressed it as % increase required. I can't recall the exact #s, but it went something like ...age 60 requires 70% more light than age 20. Get LOTS of lights and leave off the ones you don't need YET.

  20. #20
    Senior Member collady's Avatar
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    Purchase high quality, energy star fluorescent lights and light fixtures. They may cost more in the beginning, but will be well worth the cost in savings over time.

  21. #21
    Power Poster Mousie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mom-6 View Post
    A very cost effective method is using the fluorescent 'shop lights'. You can get the color correction bulbs (tubes) for them now, and they should work very well for you.
    just some extra info. I have them in my old sewing room. We hired an electrician to look at the new room, bc we had some other issues around the house.
    He said that flourescent lighting cost more bc it takes more wattage to keep turning it off and on, and I read the other day online that flourescent lighting put's out rays similar to the sun and can, over time, affect fabrics.
    Good thing I had all mine on shelves with covers over them!
    I'm not using flourescent in my new room...jmho
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    Super Member Scissor Queen's Avatar
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    I really don't like overhead florescent lighting. Even with the daylight bulbs the color is weird plus they buzz. My sewing room is in the basement and I just have one teeny window. I use task lighting. I have an Ott light over my cutting table and one behind my sewing machine. I even have a clip on light on my fabric shelves. For general room lighting I have a floor lamp.

  23. #23
    Power Poster Mousie's Avatar
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    I used to buy lots of lamps that I could put high or hang up, then a doctor let me know that what I really needed was "task lighting".
    Ott lights are described this way.
    He was right. I was putting so much light in my face, and what I needed was light on my project!
    I do much better now.
    It is a blessing, to be a blessing !
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  24. #24
    Super Member slk350's Avatar
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    I also like shop type flouresccent lights. I installed a double flourescent light fixture over my sewing machine. It has 2-4 foot bulbs in it. I'm even in front of a big double window, but at night I have a real problem especially with dark colors. I only had a ceiling fan with lights in the middle of the room. Wasn't very good...

  25. #25
    QM
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    mousie made an excellent point. In moving to our current home, my fabrics and threads moved into drawers. Only the things I am working on at the moment are out where they can be light damaged.

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