Whether your garage is for your car, serves as office space, or just holds all your off-season stuff, the right lighting can make a huge difference. Lighting options vary by shape and color, so homeowners should consider the size of their space and its intended use when deciding on the types of lighting. LED and fluorescent bulbs are energy-efficient and can reduce costs, but the latter may not work well in temperatures below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Before you start, you'll also need enough lumens to light the entire used area to make sure everything is safe.
Shop lights illuminate larger garage areas and can be mounted or hung by chains. Based on your preferences and budget, choose between the integrated or retrofit lights. Integrated light requires no maintenance since the base and bulbs are one unit. The retrofit light is an LED bulb that will fit into an existing fluorescent base unit. Both are energy-efficient and costs can vary between $10 for retrofit bulbs to $600 for integrated lights.
LED low bay garage lights work best with ceilings between 12 and 15 feet. The fixtures and LED technology can be recessed, with options for directional adjustment and dimming. Light is distributed in a wider beam, up to 120-degree angles, to cover more space. Base costs for bay garage lights start in the mid $20 range and can increase up to $150.
Integrated wrap-around light fixtures generate ambient light in garages through a wraparound lens and distribute the light from all sides. The standard 4-foot length makes them widely available and they use LED or fluorescent bulbs. They are energy efficient and require little maintenance. Homeowners can mount the lights on the ceiling or hang them from a chain for flexibility. Costs can range from $50 for a 2-bulb to $360 for 4-bulb lights.
Garages that double as home offices or hobby workspaces can benefit from task lighting to enhance the existing ambient light, making it easier and safer to perform meticulous tasks. Task lights use LED technology, which helps prevent eye strain and fatigue. Their physical designs are flexible enough to light a workspace area from a couple of feet to a few inches away. Costs start at $15 and go up, depending on the design and complexity.
Homeowners can install LED downlights in recessed settings in the garage ceiling. The gimble provides a focused light, while a fixed light will create a wider beam. An assortment of colors allows customization and the LED technology makes them energy-efficient, and they require little maintenance. These lights produce less heat and are a durable and safe choice for homes.
Outdoor lighting promotes home safety and curb appeal. Outdoor lights come in a variety of designs and colors, offering plenty of customization options. Homeowners should only use outdoor lights with a UL wet rating to ensure they don't short out during rainy or snowy seasons. Outdoor lighting costs vary from $20 to $100 per light.
Portable garage lights are handy for temporarily illuminating sections of the space that aren't generally well-lit. Simply hook or affix them where they're needed, such as during automotive repairs when the open hood blocks the overhead lighting. Portable lights can be stored out of the way of normal activities when not in use. They range in price from $5 for handheld versions to $600 for chargeable, wireless lights.
Natural lighting is widely available and depending on your garage layout, it could be your most cost-effective and low-maintenance option! Just open the garage door and let it in. Installing windows (or giving existing ones a good clean) can make a huge difference, as can skylights, if the situation allows. If the majority of your garage work takes place during the day, you might only need a few simple spotlights beyond the sun.
In many cases, the light fixture you choose is only as useful as the bulbs you place in it. Most of the options listed here use energy-efficient LED or fluorescent bulbs. Selecting a bulb with the right number of lumens is only half the task — you also must check the bulb’s color rendering index. This number tells how well the bulb renders a full spectrum of colors. Most people agree the optimal index is between 85 and 100.
Many garage lighting types have options for motion sensor activation.The sensor turns on the lights when someone enters the garage and turns them off when there is no movement in a predefined period after the sensor was last triggered. If there are layers of lighting in your garage, you can set the sensor for the primary light source, like the ceiling-mounted lights or the outdoor lighting, to trigger when someone goes into the garage at night.