Collecting > Collector's Tips

Overhead Lighting

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So, I'm in the midst of building a new Star Wars room in the basement and would love some tips on lighting.  There are no windows in the room and I currently just have one exposed 100w bulb.  The room is about 14x16 lined with black shelving on two walls. The ceiling is unfinished, so recessed lights aren't really an option.

I was initially thinking of putting in suspended flourescent shop lights.  These are bright and relatively inexpensive I think, but they tend to cast a harsh light and I'm concerned that they wouldn't project enough light under the shelves.  I also don't want to hear a hummmmm all the time.  Track lighting seems like a good option, but I have no idea where to start.  LEDs would be nice energy savers, but do they give off enough light?  I also don't have a ton of dough to plunk down right now, so looking for a lower cost solution.

Any ideas?  Help me JDers, you're my only hope!

There are actually lots of options when it comes to lighting.  The fluorescent shop lights are pretty common, but they do cast somewhat harsh light.  You can probably do a number of things that will be relatively easy without having to call an electrician.

If you've got a single suspended light, you can probably use the existing wiring and put in a track light fixture.  It's an easy install, and I've put in a few of these myself.  Check out some of the options that Lowes has in stock.  With track lighting you can tailor your lighting to the room.

As for your shelves?  You might want to look into some LED shelf lighting.  There have been some nice advances here, and it's pretty easy to fix some of these lighting strips to the underside of a shelf.  That direct overhead lighting will give a nice added dimension to displaying your collection.  The LED's aren't going to be so harsh as to cause any kind of light damage to lighter colored figures & vehicles.  And they're definitely very energy efficient.

Jesse James:
Justin, snap a pic of what you're working with and I might be able to help you with some ideas I think would work.

Okay, here are a few shots of the room thus far.  I'll have a 5 x 5 center display with lighted shelves and other assorted shelving, but was hoping to get the lights up before I get too far with the rest of the room setup.  The silver walls offer some light reflection at this point, but those will likely all be covered up by the time I'm done.  Currently there is just the single overhead bulb, so I have been thinking about track lighting or big flourescent lights, as well as an outlet line coming down the middle of the room for any plug-in lights.  I'm not interested in under-shelf lighting for the black shelves at this point because I'm not sure how I might adjust the shelf height and don't have a lot of money to fund the project right now.

Any ideas welcome.


Jesse James:
Justin, depending on what kind of wiring experience you have, you could totally put pot lights into that ceiling, however you'd probably want to put a cover up then so you have a ceiling and not just the rafters...  Problem with track lighting is it will hang down, but obvioiusly you can angle it however you want which can be fun.  You'd have to wire either way...  Me I'd prefer a sheetrocked ceiling with pot lights I think, just looking at it.

Is that one wall just all pegboard?  That's pretty slick. :)  What's behind the pegboard?

I figured you'd be covering the silver, I assume panel insulation?  How are you going to cover that?

On the bottom of any of those shelves, you could stick lights on there that run off batteries...  You'd have to turn them on/off manually one at a time, which would be a little bit of a pain. 

Here's something I was thinking for that if you wanted...

Don't know if you can see this image:

It's a small "shop light" of sorts, just 5 LED's, thin, works off AA batteries, has a build-on on/off switch.  i hung mine up on wire shelving just over my head on my customizing/work bench in my extra room.  It lights up well enough when I need extra light and will last a long time.

Nice thing about LED's is you could find probably colored lights, or if you're really wanting a personalized color, look for glass paint and just paint white LED's any color you want.  You could have a sort of dim red lighting over a Sith shelf, or a blue light over a Hoth shelf (Blue coat Han!), etc.

If you can't see the pic lmk as it might be something I have to upload a different way.


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