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Lighting Question For Monte Lee From Mohammed Kolia

Posted By Russell, 1/20/2019

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Question From Retailer Mohammed Kolia:
Dear Monte 

Your article was extremely helpful and valid and I accept that it was extremely useful to me and I learnt a lot about lighting my store from there and all your research and I am very grateful for this. Please accept my appreciation.

Regarding your email today I am not sure how thank you for such sincere advice and patience to explain to me what to do may you be blessed for your kindness to man. You are an expert in your field and I’m sure you made a lot of effort and sacrifice to have such a good understanding I am just very appreciative.

Initially I thought I have to go all track and remove the Florescents because when we brought a sample led flood 1 block light at 2700k 85cri and placed it on my ceiling ( my Ceiling happens to be about 10 feet high 3.3 meter high) with my current Florescents on you could not really see the spot light much however when we removed the Florescent you could see the effect of the 2700k led on the sofa. So I thought I have to remove my current Florescent but was worried because I’m sure one of your articles said something about keeping Florescents as a base light.

But from what you said in your email now if I understand correctly I should keep the Florescents but change the tubes to the 3500 85cri g spot you found in your previous studies and just add tracks here and there for cost effectiveness.

Or the alternative is good lights are never expensive for a showroom and then must I just put all tracks and remove Florescents?

Should I paint the ceilings what do you recommend and if yes what color would you advice us?

Kind Regards 

Reply From Furniture World Contributor Monte Lee of Service Lamp:


Thanks for your question and the “store tour.” It is hard for me to accept that the article you reference is a teenager –- 16 years old. Even so, many of the ideas are still valid but the technology has really changed.

I think, for example that 3500K is the right temperature for ambient lighting and 2700K is right for highlighting with track. Your image 6 shows adequate light in the space but I would agree that you now have “natural” light because the colors look a little “off.” Replacing those tubes with 3500K will probably improve the appearance of your merchandise at the same light level. 

The individual LEDs are very bright so using a frosted tube will reduce glare. The fixtures we typically recommend have a frosted lens or a frosted tube. So you are on the right track there. Changing the tubes will give you an improvement with a simple, economical action.

Changing to or adding track will likely be more expensive from investment and operating expense perspectives. Image 5 is probably looking into the store from the concourse so the dark appearance probably a “camera trick.” The customer eye probably sees the store brighter than suggested by the image. Even so, human's are attracted to light like insects. In the second section, as defined by the beams, where the sale sign hangs, replacing one of the fixtures with a length of track could create visual interest to draw customers into the store. Highlighting further back would help to draw them further and enable the customer to define the space and get comfortable in it.

Changing the entire store to track is a major project so the question is: “Where is your store in relation to your competition?” If your shopper's are accustomed to track lighting in other furniture stores then maybe it would be a good change. Track would give an upscale, more dramatic appearance to your store. Your ceiling (and maybe your 230V electricity) would complicate that task. Where I have done international projects the voltage has been converted to 110-120V.

Lets consider the geometry of placing track. The metric I typically use is 10 foot mounting height or less = PAR30 LED bulbs; above 10 feet = PAR38, a one inch larger bulb. Both are 25 degree floods with 850 lumen output for the PAR30 and 950/1200 for the PAR38. Input would be 10 to 16 watts with today's product. That would mean about 75 – 85 lumens per watt compared to the 50 lumens you cite. That difference could be your 230V electricity.

At 10-11 feet track would be 7 feet from the wall or ~6.5 feet from the point where the seat meets the back of the chair or sofa. The number of track heads would be: 2 for the sofa, one for a chair and one for wall art or coffee table. Typically that gives us 4 heads per 8 foot track. Looking at image 2 you might be able to use one row of track with 8 heads per to hit both directions.

I like 11 feet, PAR38, 25 degree because that beam of light gives nice illumination of the entire space but a slightly higher light level in the center of the beam. You can focus the center on accent pillows at either end of the sofa and get a very nice look. That creates “visual interest” rather than a “flat” light level like you get from tubes. A “spot” bulb has a much higher center beam, at least 2x, making it  more difficult to get a good look.

To summarize, relamping your existing fixtures with 3500K LED bulbs is a great thing to do, adding some track may be a nice touch, but converting to all track is a major project. If I can help you to further evaluate the major project, just let me know.




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