The garage of a home can often become the domain of the person who loves to tinker with his cars, repair her bicycle or try out an assortment of his new power tools. Unless your garage has a great deal of light flowing through its windows or you plan on doing all of your work during daylight hours, you are going to need excellent lighting to use your garage to the fullest. In other words, you will need lights most of the time because your garage is one of the darkest places in your home, yet it can be one of the most utilized areas as well.
Picture 1: This garage definitely needs better lighting (and some cleaning as well)
Garage Lighting Ideas: Fixtures
The “Old Faithful” for garage lighting fixtures is the huge fluorescent box or strip light that is either attached to the ceiling or hangs a few inches from it. These light boxes and strips can get so powerful that your garage can look like it’s in bright sunlight. You probably won’t need more than 2-3 boxes to make your garage dazzingly bright; don’t overspend on either fixtures or energy by installing too many. The downside of these favorites is that many dark corners do not get adequate light for the detailed tasks that you might do in your garage.
Picture 2: Fluorescent light fixtures are used in uderground parking garages as well
There are other ways to attack garage lighting that can be more economical and handy. You might opt for less light above and more light below. A nice under-cabinet LED light can do wonders for your work in the garage without an intense glare from overhead. Other industrious people like to have a hand-held fluorescent work light with a halogen headlight for extra power. That concentrates your use of light on the area where you are working and can save big money because an overhead bank of lights is not constantly on. Many of the hand-held lights also have hooks so that you can place them above your head and free your hands for work. These task lights can be found in many cordless models, further increasing their practicality. Others come attached to long reels of cord in case your job moves far away from an outlet, even outside as you test the engine of your car and don’t want to fill up the garage with dangerous fumes.
Other garage dwellers choose flood lamps that can be placed on the ground and pointed to where light is needed. These fluorescent lights give plenty of power for less cost than an overhead collection of boxes.
Of course, different pendant lights can also be installed, and a huge variety of manly motifs is available, including colorful stained glass versions that publicize the brand of automobile that you favor. You can even have your name inscribed below the brand for a personalized statement of your passion. A Chevrolet pendant light does indeed look a lot more sporty than a bland fluorescent box.
Chandeliers and Garage stop lights
Chandeliers also can be purchased in a range of styles, including some shaped as car parts, very cool if you are into that sort of thing. A nice final touch for car fans could be a neon light simply for decorative purposes. They, too, come in a huge selection of styles.
Another possibility for the coup de grace of your garage lighting fixtures could be a garage stop light, just like the ones you see at intersections but can be permanently illuminated for your work (but primarily for your pleasure – they are not exceedingly bright). If placed in the right spot, these lights could give you even more motivation to get up and go in the morning as you tear out of your garage.
Sconces and rail lights are also possibilities, depending on the layout of your garage. Most people like lights with more power and mobility than these options, but if you do not work often in your garage, they can accent the room nicely.
Garage Lighting Ideas: Switches
Turning on your assortment of lights in the garage will vary according to what you install. Hand-held models obviously will be turned on once you hold them. Many homeowners have a switch placed just inside the doorway between their home and garage, and perhaps another one at the entrance to the garage from the outside. Of course, with the popularity of garage door openers, the lights often come on as the door opens as they work in concert with your opener.
Your garage lights can also be activated in a couple of other ways: 1) you can have a remote control to operate the different types of light in your garage, depending on the task at hand; 2) you can have a motion sensor light placed outside and inside the garage. As with any motion sensors, be cautious about installing them if you have a lot of movement outside the garage or inside that space. Tree branches, power lines and resident chipmunks can turn your garage into a light show. Don’t laugh – it’s happened!
Alternatives abound when it comes to garage lights, especially as the technology continues to advance. You can go with the standard fluorescent box(es) or be more creative and utilitarian with your choice, combining overhead light, under-cabinet light and floor lights to brighten your way as you work. You can also expand far beyond the door opener-light combo to make your garage a more livable and hard-working space.