When to Do a Drop Ceiling
If you've got a concrete ceiling with limited electrical options, your best bet for proper lighting might be a drop ceiling.
I have a condo with concrete ceilings. There is no overhead lighting and just one junction box that installed in the wrong location for an overhead fixture. I have been told that the best way to light this room is to do a 2-inch drop ceiling for the entire space so we can hide the wiring. Will this damage the structural integrity of the ceiling? Do you think the results would be successful?

We do deal with a lot of buildings that have concrete ceilings. If your ceiling is higher than 8 feet, then doing a 2-inch drop to run wiring is a good idea. This lowered ceiling will not damage the structural integrity. You could also install 3-inch-deep box beams on top of the new ceiling. These would add some architectural interest to the ceiling and give you the opportunity to add recessed adjustable low voltage fixtures, installed in the beams, to accent art and tabletops.

Randall Whitehead lighting designer
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 www.randallwhitehead.com for more information on books, upcoming seminars and the latest lighting trends.

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