Track lighting is an effective, versatile and stylish way to offer ample lighting. Whether you want to shed ambient light over the entire kitchen, focus light over a dining room table or simply add a decorative aspect to your office space, track lights and cable lighting will do the trick. There are a few important aspects to brush up on before you take the dive into the world of track lighting, so read the following to ensure you are well versed:
Where should I place track lighting?
One of the first things to consider is what exactly you want out of your track lighting fixtures. This will help you figure out ideal placement and how you should set it up. Do you want to use it as accent lighting? Install it in a hallway or living room to highlight artwork or sculptural pieces, and angle the lights at approximately 30 degrees to minimize glare and reflection. Are you looking to use it as task lighting? Consider placing cable lighting over a kitchen island or workspace to give you ample light for performing activities. Are you in need of ambient light? Though it's less commonly used for general lighting, you can still install task lights in a living room or dining area for a comfortable level of brightness. Consider installing several units to maximize its function.
What types of track lighting kits are available?
There are several variations to fit your needs. Here are some examples:
Standard: Often referred to as a "straight track" system, standard options are secured to the ceiling with screws and can be shaped into "L", "T" or "H" patterns.
Monorail: These physically flexible units can bend into a variety of shapes and suspend from the ceiling by standoffs.
Two-Circuit Monorail: This type allows fixtures on a single track to be connected to two separate switches, allowing more versatility with lighting function.
Cable: These attach to the walls with turnbuckles, so they're ideal if you're unable to mount a unit to the ceiling. They consist of two wires with fixtures suspended between them.
What types of track lighting fixtures are available?
Known more commonly as elements, fixtures can generally be categorized as track heads or pendants. The former are ideal for task or display lighting, as they consist of directional and spot lights as well as wall wash and ambient fixtures. The latter provide good down lighting and are available in more decorative options. Note: not all heads or pendants fit onto any unit. Be sure one is adaptable with the other before purchasing.
Should I choose line voltage or low voltage?
Since each emits the same amount of light, this simply is a matter of preference. Operating at 120 volts, line voltage fixtures don’t require a transformer and are generally less expensive. They’re easy to install and expand, and because they’re not constrained by wattage limitation, line voltage fixtures can hold more fixtures. Since they use less of a current, low voltage units require a transformer and are often more expensive upfront. However, they will end up saving you money on electric bills while providing the same light output as line voltage.
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