A great garage lighting strategy requires a great garage layout. So how exactly do you achieve that? Whether your garage is your lair, your storage room, a place to park your car, or all three, we have some ideas that will help you define the space, along with lighting product suggestions for each one.
Expert organizers recommend that you think of your garage in terms of zones:
- Transition Zone
- Need it Now
- Long, Tall and Thin Storage
- Large Item Storage
- Frequently Used Items
The Best Lighting for the Garage
Once you’ve determined your zones, it’s time to start brightening the space up. Each area of the garage will have different lighting needs, and different products that fit them the best. Let’s take a look at each zone and your best lighting options for each one:
- The Transition Zone (Zone 1) is located right outside the door leading into and out of your house from the garage. It may have a few steps up, with or without a handrail. For this area we recommend battery operated, motion activated lights around the entry door and steps with auto on/off features, so you aren’t fumbling for keys or tripping up the stairs while carrying in a load of groceries.
- Need it Now (Zone 2) usually consists of cabinets or shelving and is where things are stored that you want easy access to on a daily basis – like dog food, or canned goods and paper products overflow. For garage cabinet and shelf lighting we recommend microfluorescent strip lights, especially when located inside deep garage cabinets, where items can easily get shoved far back into dark corners. Wireless motion sensor in-cabinet lights with adhesive backing can stick anywhere and don’t require an electrical outlet.
- General overhead light fixtures will supply plenty of light for the next three areas: Long, tall and thin storage along the walls, bulky item storage and frequently used items (Zones 3,4,5) that are easy to grab on the way out the door. Fluorescent light fixtures are the standard recommendation for overhead garage lighting, primarily because they are bright, affordable and long-lasting. The 4-ft Weatherproof Fluorescent T8 is an example of an energy-star rated fixture that is quiet, bright and durable.
- The most crucial lighting need in the garage is usually over a workbench or hobby area (Zone 6). If you are performing detailed work (especially with sharp objects and power tools!) you definitely want a good task light. Thankfully you’ve got a lot of choices for garage workbench lighting – here are a few of our faves:
- A flexible clamp-on work light that emits super-bright light with 24 LEDs (pictured to the right)
- Linkable microfluorescent T4 strip lights for under cabinet lighting.
- The weatherproof, rechargeable battery operated LED work light is an adjustable go-anywhere light that comes with a wall and car charger. You can rest it on a table or floor, or buy a metal tripod stand for even more functionality.
One More Zone to Consider…
One final area that I want to touch on isn’t actually even in your garage, but directly outside of your garage.
According to security experts, criminals are looking for easy targets. where they can get in and out quickly and undetected. A dark doorway leading to a garage full of expensive tools & toys is an easy target for a burglar. Alarm systems and reinforced doors will keep them out but exterior security lighting may keep them from getting close enough to try.
One of our company favorites for garage door security lighting, the Netbright battery operated spotlights network together so that when one light is activated, they all turn on! You could turn your house into a virtual Fort Knox by connecting up to 50 spotlights around the perimeter of your home. (Our product manager, Jacob Swiger recently installed these lights and was kind enough to share his experience with us.)
Fortunately, you don’t have to forgo fashion for function. Garage security lighting is available in decorative models like the Victorian solar lamp (pictured to the right) that can be mounted to the wall outside your garage. Since it’s wireless, you can even opt to buy the post lamp version and place it anywhere in your yard.
That’s a lot of information to digest, so I’m including an infographic that you can save for easy reference or Pin to your Project Board to use when you’re ready. Click the image to view it larger.
Additional resources to help you plan your garage lighting layout:
- Garage & Workshop Lighting Products (Pegasus Lighting)
- The Ultimate Workshop: Lighting and Electrical Layout (DIY Network)
- GE Lighting’s Lighting Layout Estimator – (Although it’s a little technical and requires you to know things like Ballast Factor (BF), Coefficient Utilization (CU) and footcandles), it’s a clever tool that helps you estimate the number of fixtures you’ll need, what your annual energy costs might be, and even gives you suggestions for spacing the lights.