I have a 20'x24' 2-story unfinished, detached garage. The first floor is a two-story garage. The second floor will be living space (kinda like a studio apartment). The ceiling of each floor is about 8 feet.

I am researching lighting options for the first floor garage area. I like recessed lighting because there are no light fixtures to bump into while moving stuff around in the garage.

Then there is "How to chose the right product". If I use LED, there are varying quality of light and products. How many lumens, spacing, number of circuits. Installation is the easy part. Design is the hard part.

I feel like I am just rambling, so forgive me if this does not make much sense.

Side Note: I wish I could find a good general contractor (GC) with good subs, but don't even know how to search for one and determine if I have found a good GC. Maybe a GC is not what I am looking for. Who would design and draw up the plans. Architect?


  • 1
    You are, unfortunately, correct - you were rambling. The only actual question I see here is "Architect?" and that's really not a question. Please edit your post to focus on and ask a specific question. I get that you're not sure where to start, but you gotta start somewhere...
    – FreeMan
    Jul 18, 2020 at 19:24

2 Answers 2


Go to a real lighting store. Often times they'll consult with you free of charge if you purchase the fixtures there. They may cost a bit more, but are usually of higher quality than the big box stores and you get the advice. If you buy enough, sometimes they'll bend their policies a bit and give you contractor pricing. Clearly you need design input and they can give it to you, right down to calculating the lumens per square foot you need as well as other lighting options, such as task lighting.

Also, many lighting stores are small, locally owned businesses worth supporting. IMHO.

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    Always worth a few extra bucks in purchase price - It's far less than the price you 'd pay for the advice you'll get.
    – FreeMan
    Jul 21, 2020 at 14:28

If you want to spend more money, sure, an architect or (more specifically, and perhaps cutting out one superfluous factor) lighting designer can multiply the cost of your project by X=Large Factor.

If you'd rather not spend so much, testing and evaluation are good. Look at LED lights you like. Find out what they are, or what specs you like for color temperature at least. Buy one or two, try them out in the space - see how you like them at various spacings. Plan from there. If you do a good job figuring out first (from store displays or friends' lights) what you like you might not need to do much testing to find fixtures you actually like, but having a few and TESTING the spacing is really helpful.

Circuits for LED lights - you can run a LOT of LED fixtures on one 15A circuit if you don't put anything ELSE on that circuit. One circuit per floor is probably quite adequate; one circuit for the building might well be adequate. At a typical 10 or 20 watts per fixture, between 72 and 144 fixtures per 15A 120V circuit (derated for continuous load.)

If you end up with a few extra test fixtures, you'll probably still come out money ahead - you can also sell them off.

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