It may seem like an easy task to light a small and enclosed space such as a closet. One major dilemma associated with closet lighting is that closets are filled with clothing, dressers, shelves, and other assorted nooks and crannies which can be difficult to get light into. In most cases, a single overhead light simply won’t cut it, yet home builders continue to follow that trend. Closet owners can customize the lighting in their closets by adding aftermarket light kits in convenient locations. Before trying any of the following tips, try installing a brighter light bulb into your existing fixture and see if there is any improvement. Also, de-cluttering the closet can result in greater light penetration.
Battery Powered Closet Lights
Chances are, you have seen small battery powered puck lights on television. Puck lights are small circular lights which activate when pressed. They can be adhered to any surface in any orientation for customized lighting in small spaces. Placing a couple puck lights in dark pockets of the closet can provide instant clarity.
Track and Bar Lighting
Track lights consist of several small light pods which can be pointed into any direction. They are mounted to a long bar which is mounted overhead, such as on the underside of a closet shelf. Bar lights are just as long but do not have individual light pods. Instead, have a single bar of light which is typically powered by a fluorescent tube.
Motion Activated Bulbs
With a motion activated bulb, closet owners do not have to fumble for a light switch every time they enter a closet. Motion bulbs screw into an existing ceiling socket and can accommodate both incandescent and CFL bulbs. If your ceiling mount has a glass cover, it will need to be removed to accommodate the motion device. Once installed, the new closet lighting fixture will turn on when you enter and turn off after a certain amount of time.
Natural Light Sources
The cheapest and most natural form of light comes from the sun, so why not take advantage of it? Consider installing a “sun tube” which redirects sunlight down into your closet during the day. Or, consider installing a side window onto the closet. Over time, the energy savings of lighting the closet with the sun can outweigh the cost of the installation.
If replacing a ceiling closet light, there are some guidelines to follow. Ceiling lights which are flush with the ceiling must be spaced a minimum of 18 inches from any wall. Lights which are not flush must be spaced even further at 24 inches. The installation process may require you to enter the attic for replacement of the fixture and to perform any electrical work. If no light currently exists, the work could be rather extensive. The wiring for a switch must be routed through the wall and down to the closet door. For this task it is recommended that closet owners get professional help. Installing hard-wires closet lights is intensive, but is the most rewarding because the lights are reliable and bright.