Track Lighting Tips

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Where would I use wall track lighting?

Wall Track Lighting

Track lighting usually goes on the ceiling -- but it doesn't have to! Wall track lighting is especially effective in restaurants and other large commercial settings, where it has room to work its magic.

Use wall track lighting to spotlight a sign or artwork without overpowering ambient lighting in the room. For a fun or dramatic effect, mount it on a curving track.

What is flexible track lighting?

Flexible Track Lighting

Track lights traditionally are mounted on a metal rail in a straight line. Today, new materials have made it possible to lay track lighting along curving lines -- lines that you choose as you're installing the fixtures.

Flexible track lighting takes the utilitarian track light and turns it into decoration -- or even art. Run track lights in a gentle S curve along a ceiling for a subtle finishing touch on a contemporary room, or lay flex track lighting along a curve in a round or octagonal room.

While monorail track lighting is often too clinical-looking for a home setting, the curving shapes with bendable track lighting can offer exciting decorating choices.

Where should I put my track lighting?

Plan Your Track Lighting Installation

Before you bone up on how to install track lighting, you first need to plan where you want the lights to go and what you want them to do.

For the best accent lighting of an object on a wall, plan so that the light is at a 30-degree angle to the wall. This will prevent glare and minimize shadows.

If you can handle a little math, try this: Let S be the distance from the track fixture to the wall being lit. Let D be the distance from the ceiling to the center of the object being lit. The track fixture location can be found with the equation S = D x 0.55.

Avoid putting your track lighting installation down the center of the room -- it just causes glare, and you get inadequate light at the edges where most task lighting is needed.

What kinds of bulbs can I use in track lighting?

Types of Track Lights

Track light fixtures can use several different kinds of bulbs:

  • Incandescent: Most common, but also not very energy-efficient. Best for ambient or general lighting.
  • Halogen track lights: Produce very bright, focused light for relatively little energy. Excellent for task lighting or dramatic accent lighting.
  • Fluorescent: Best for unfocused light, such as "washing" a wall with light. More energy-efficient than incandescent.
  • LED track lighting: Very energy-efficient and becoming more popular. A 7-watt LED bulb can cast as much light as a 40- to 60-watt incandescent bulb.

When can I use mini track lights?

Mini Track Lights

Mini track lighting can be used for showcasing special items, lighting display cases, lighting task areas, or decorative colorful effects for parties.

These track lights often use LEDs, which can come in fun remote-controlled color-changing versions.

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Candi Wingate