Lighting Shelves in a Media Room
Linear lighting does a better job of lighting shelves than recessed lights, says our expert.
The ratio of pillows to useful light on the shelving is imbalanced in this room.
I have sent you a picture of our media room. We have all these shelves, but the recessed fixtures are not doing a good job of lighting them. Help!

First off, are you sure you have enough pillows? I believe that they are mating while you are out of the room. The recessed fixtures in the soffit are too close; they just create hot spots on the wall. The most effective way to light the shelves is to install a run of linear lighting below each shelf. For the uppermost shelves, I would also install one on top to uplight what is displayed. A warm-colored LED (2400K to 2700K) in an aluminum channel with a bronze or black finish would virtually disappear. Two good examples to look at that position the LEDs at a 45-degree angle are the Elite Series by Phantom Lighting and the CS017 channel with the VWW3528 LED strip by Environmental Lights. Their channel comes in a white paintable finish.

Randall Whitehead, IALD

Randall Whitehead, IALD, is a professional lighting designer and author. His books include "Residential Lighting, A Practical Guide." Whitehead has worked on projects worldwide, appeared on the Discovery Channel, HGTV and CNN, and he is regular guest on Martha Stewart Living Radio. Visit his website for more information on books, upcoming seminars and the latest lighting trends.

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