Lighting for my new shop...


MGF, Master Grumble Framer
Feb 15, 2005
Western Wisconsin
I am hoping that there is SOMEBODY that can give me a bit if advise on the lighting for my new shop. I am puting regular 8' flourescent lights in my work area but what would all of you recommend for my area where I will be working with clients. I have 8' cielings and was going to use 2-4' full spectum flourscent but thought I whould ask you all for advise first.
Thanks in advance...
I used general flores. for general lighting but over the design area used regular incandes. spots spread out to disperse an even warmer light.
Over certain areas of the store I use accent lighting ie. lamps and picture lights.

Search on this, there was a good post suggesting 3 light types and their reasoning and it has worked out great for me.

The floures. by themselves gave the place a cold office like feeling but the spots warm it up and better mimic what is in most homes. The accents are just that, to help set the mood of the place.

Hope this helped.
Over the design table I like color corrected daylight flors. The new slimmer electronics don't hum and the cycle flicker is not visable.

Track lighting is very nice for wall washers and spots. I would buy both and use a mix. Go with the low voltage tracks and save money and energy.
I changed to full spectrum lighting in my gallery are one week ago. The difference is incredible. I had two customers this week tell me the room was breathtaking!
Thank-you all for your help...and if you think of anything else to add, please do, I will keep checking....
By the way, the sun is FINALLY shining here in western Wisconsin...haven't seen it for a long time.It sure does make you feel good when it comes out!!!
Originally posted by Julie-Tulie:
what about the full spectrum lights...did you try them?
I use full spectrum bulbs in all of the overhead fixtures. It truly makes a difference in the look of your store. Then spot lights to add warmth.

The couple of extra dollars per bulb is worth it.

While you are digging into this, you might want to think about the UV blocking tubes that surround the florescent bulbs. They help keep your stuff from fading. Not just artwork, but carpet and counters as well. The tubes sold at Home Depot or Lowes do not have the UV block and are made only to contain the bulb if it blows. Larson Juhl carries the tubes as well as most lighting centers.
Here's an article for you: "Practical Lighting Solutions for Your Shop", Picture Framing Magazine, November, 2002.

"Sunlight", "Chroma", and "Daylight" fluorescents will show colors more vibrantly than other artificial light sources. So, if you want to "wow" the visitors to your shop or imitate sunlight, use those.

On the other hand, most things seen in a gallery or frame shop will not be illuminated by those premium fluorescent lamps or sunlight beyond their time in the gallery.

I want lighting that most accurately renders the colors as they will be seen in a customer's home. That is, a mix of natural and incandescent light.

For a store, inscandescent-only lighting can be costly for electricity, lamps, and labor to change them. I use -- and recommend -- a combination of color-corrected 3500-degree (Kelvin) fluorescent lamps, and halogen incandescent spot & flood lights.

Here's a little-known fact: If you use 130 volt incandescent lamps (including halogen) instead of the standared 120 volt lamps, their life will increase to about 6,000 hours instead of the usual 2,000 hours. For equal wattage, 130 volt lamps will produce slightly less light than 120 volt lamps, but you won't be able to see a difference.

You can't buy 130 volt lamps in most stores; you have to go to an electrical distributor and buy the case (uaually 12 or 24 lamps). They cost more, but not 3 times more.
When it comes to the interior of your store, the money you spend on lighting will be the best spent dollars other then your counter.

Don't be cheap. Go to every lighting store you can drive to. Don't just look at the floor samples, ask for catalogs. They will have diagrams and specs for the application of bulb and fixture types. these diagrams are very important.

If you can afford it - seek a profesional designer to work out your plan. Some lighting centers have staff for this. Try an interior designer that does public or high end corporate work. An architect can also do this.

Bad lighting will turn great flooring and wall color into blah crap. Great lighting will turn blah flooring and wall color into a space that is simply magic.
Originally posted by ERIC:
When it comes to the interior of your store, the money you spend on lighting will be the best spent dollars other then your counter.
Don't be cheap....
That's really good advice. Lighting is one of the most important features of a gallery, because everything visual depends on the quality of the lighting. Light carries all images. Good light, good image; bad light, bad image; no light, no image.

It isn't necessary to spend a lot of money to achieve a dramatic, fully functional lighting system. The lighting in my gallery serves every purpose and offers good versatility, but it amounted to less than $3,000 of the buildout cost.

What's important is the design, and that's where Eric's advice pays off. Visit the suppliers. See how various kinds of fixtures look and how they work.

Gather designs from all the lighting suppliers you can entice. Most will design the lighting system free, hoping to sell it to you. The hitch is that their designs will be only as good as your ability to relate your wants and needs. (Don't be like the framing customer that asks "What do you suggest?", and gives no real input.) If your budget allows, pay a lighting consultant for the best, unbiased advice.

Be wary of the "You need low voltage lighting" story. Yes, low voltage lamps provide small point-sources of light, which are controllable, versatile and dramatic. But you might do as well with full-voltage, small halogen lamps if they are placed properly. The operating cost of low voltage is lower, and they operate cooler, but the lamps and fixtures cost more.

Compare all costs of each proposed lighting system over a period of at least five years (or about 15,000 hours of lighting time). Consider that low-voltage fixtures with transformers last about half as long as full-voltage fixtures. If you buy a low-voltage system with a centrally-located transformer, watch out for wiring cost.

The design will provide you a specific lighting layout and bill of materials. You will then know the types and functions of your fixtures & lamps; quantities, locations, features, wattages, voltages, etc.

Then you can shop for fixtures. Buy features and durability -- not only looks. Often, a $20 fixture will serve the purpose as well as a $100 fixture will. Nobody but you will know the price of your fixtures.

The more you know about lighting, the better.

(Disclaimer: Before I became a framer, I spent 25 years in the electrical distribution industry, and designed dozens of lighting systems; mostly industrial, but some retail.)
When I opened this shop 5 years ago, I had another shop owner tell me that if I used cool and warm florescent tubes, every other one, that I would get the "natural lighting" effect I desired. Am I on the right track or was that a bunch of hooey? The shop looks great, but maybe it's just what I am used to.
Cool white is the worst, warm white is better. But warm white lamps look pink from outside. Neither of those would be as good for color rendition as the 3500 degree (K) color-corrected lamps now available at reasonable prices.

Do not confuse 3500 degree (K) color corrected lamps with Chroma, Sunlight, or other "natural light" lamps. They are much more costly, and have more sophisticated light frequency curves, which actually show colors better than they would be seen in any typical residential lighting.
That's a key point, Jim. I think the goal is to show customers what the colors will look like in a light that is reasonably close to what they may experience at home, rather than some "technical ideal".
:cool: Rick

In my shop we have a nice balance of natural light with 75 w. par 30 halogen floods in track heads, plus 100 w. Sylvania "Daylight" incandescent bulbs (or GE "Reveal") in pendants over the design table. In the back room we use 3500K T-8 fluorescents in recessed fixtures with diffusers.
Originally posted by Rick Granick:
...the goal is to show customers what the colors will look like in a light that is reasonably close to what they may experience at home, rather than some "technical ideal".
:cool: Rick
I agree with you, Rick. There are several ways to combine fluorescdent and incandescent (halogen preferred) lamps to achieve lighting similar to typical residential lighting.

And that is better than creating "perfect" lighting for the gallery, IMHO. If art & framing colors are viewed under "perfect" lighting in the gallery, the same combination may be a disappointment at home.

I'd rather have customers say,"It looks even better hanging in my living room", than "It doesn't look as good at home as it did here in the gallery".
Thanks to you all for the help. You have given me so much info that I am on theverge of being overwhelmed...which is just fine!!!
I just came across this, which may be of some interest, in a 2000 WAAC newsletter:

Solux Update
The first note about Solux appeared in the May 1997 issue of the Newsletter describing the 4700Kelvin (K) version. For those who do not know about SoLux, it is a light bulb that approximates the full color spectrum of natural daylight more accurately than any other light source.

SoLux is a 50 or 35 watt 12 Volt MR16 format bulb. SoLux is finding enthusiastic use in museums, stores, homes, and work places. Now there is a 3500K and a 4100K SoLux. All three color temperatures are available in four beam spreads (10, 17, 24, and 36 degree) and have virtually perfect color rendering abilities, (over 98 CRI with smooth spectral power distributions).

The 3500K SoLux was designed specifically for the art market and was used on the Van Gogh exhibit at the National Gallery of Art and Los Angeles County Art Museum. The Van Gogh Museum (in Amsterdam) recently changed to 3500K SoLux bulbs. Numerous other museums have used SoLux as well (Rijksmuseum, Guggenheim, Metropolitan Museum of Art, among others).

The two reasons the 3500K SoLux gained such quick acceptance are 1) preservation and 2)presentation. The 3500K SoLux has extremely low UV output and its smooth spectral power distribution provides a presentation far superior to all others lights.

The 4100K SoLux also has extremely low UV, and some find it provides better presentation of more modern artworks. The 4700K SoLux is mostly used by those who do inpainting.

Fixtures for SoLux have also been developed. There is a task light fixture, a clip-on fixture, and a retrofit system for line voltage recessed fixtures and standard track fixtures.

The Task Lamp was specifically designed for the SoLux MR16 bulb, which is included. It features a frosted cover glass that spreads and softens the light and a 12 volt wall transformer. Its unique flexible design provides the user with an extremely wide range of motion. Base options: 1) desktop bases 2) rolling floor stand 3) floor stand. Color temperature options: 3500K, 4100K, or 4700K (all 36 degree).

The Clip-on takes the thermoplastic head from the Task Lamp and bonds it to a large clamp so that it can be remotely attached and provide light to a desk where space is at a premium. Like the Task Lamp, it features a frosted cover glass that spreads and softens the light and a 12 volt wall transformer (SoLux bulb included). Color temperature options: 3500K, 4100K, or 4700K (all 36 degree).

The Retro-system is a great way to allow a line voltage recessed fixture (the typical light can) to use a low voltage SoLux bulb (which is included). Within the Retro-system's extendable body is a 12-volt transformer that connects to a standard "screw-in" socket.

The wide range of tilt and rotation offered by the Retro-system makes it perfect for lighting art that is displayed on walls. (Far superior to "fish eye" trim on recessed fixtures.) It is available in black or white and with your choice of SoLux bulb. (I've been using one of these in a porcelain socket rigged on a rolling light stand for almost three years, still using the original bulb, 4700K. I've taken it on-site several times and even dropped it, to no ill effect. The light is indistinguishable from daylight and very pleasing. Ed.)

If you have any questions, please drop me a note or give me a call at 800-254-4487.

Thank you,
Philip Bradfield
Tailored Lighting Inc.
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