Littman Bros |  June 20, 2012

How Much Light Do I Need in a Room?

Lighting a space in your home is not always the easiest process, and it is often questioned how much light is necessary within a room, depending on the type of room being lit. There is actually a method one must utilize when designing a lighting plan for your home.

First, you must determine the square footage of the room you want to light. Figure out the length and width of your space and then multiply those numbers – for example, if your room is 10 feet wide and 14 feet long, the square footage of that space is 140 square feet.

Living Room Lighting


Next, figure out what is known as the foot candle of a room, depending on the type of room or room purpose. A foot-candle is how illuminated the light is one foot from the foundation of the light. Here is a common spectrum of foot candles needed per room:

• Living Room – 10-20 foot candles

• Kitchen General – 30-40 foot candles

• Kitchen Stove – 70-80 foot candles

• Kitchen Sink – 70-80 foot candles

• Dining Room – 30-40 foot candles

• Bed Room – 10-20 foot candles

• Hallway – 5-10 foot candles

• Bathroom 70-80 foot candles

After the foot candles are determined, the next step is to decide how many lumens are needed in your space. A lumen is a measurement of light. So, if you are trying to light your 100 square foot dining room (which needs 30-40 foot candles), you will need 3,000-4,000 lumens in order to light that space efficiently.

In order to find what kind of fixture can achieve this amount of lumens, just make sure to check the rated lumens based on the max wattage of the bulb and fixture as a whole. For example, a 4 light semi-flush mount that has a bulb max wattage of 60 and a fixture max wattage of 240 will have a rated lumen of 2,688.

From here it is up to you to decide what style and type of fixture you think looks best in your space, which is definitely the fun part.

To learn about selecting the right size fixtures for any application read the Fixture and Measuring Guide: