Track lighting helps you incorporate task lights in hard-to-reach places, as well as highlight some of your home’s best elements. The design of each fixture can be completely customized – from the shape of the track, to the light bulb brightness, to the number of lights – to make it work for your space. Because track lighting works with a single ceiling electrical box, you can easily replace a chandelier when needed.
Make Track Lighting Work for You
Many homeowners use track lighting fixtures to feature wall art throughout the home, making the space a mini museum of your favorite things. They can also be useful in long hallways, where a central light fixture may not spread as much light.
You can also place track lighting strategically over a large sectional sofa where a reading light would be useful, but lamps cannot fit around the perimeter of the sofa. Many designers also use the fixtures to point out decorative vignettes on a credenza or buffet table.
However, the most common space to use these fixtures is in the kitchen. Track lighting provides clear task lighting over an island or workstation where the lamp is unavailable.
Types of Track Lighting Fixtures
Standard track lighting (also called linear tracks) features a straight track with moveable fixtures attached. Decorators appreciate the customizable options including the number of lights and the ability to point light accurately.
The Monorail Track is typically characterized by the design element of the track. Sometimes the track is straight, but many times it’s curved for a unique presentation. Sometimes the lighting fixtures can move along the track, and sometimes they are stationary.
If pre-made designs aren't working for your space, consider a flexible track which can be bent anyway you need it. At some hardware stores, they’ll even cut it to your desired length. However, keep in mind that more moving parts require more installation time.
Track Lighting Considerations
First of all, designers find these fixtures function best as spotlights, not general lighting for a room, so do not rely on them in place of overhead can lights in a large space. Because the bulbs hang lower into the space, you should also consider if your ceilings are high enough to accommodate the track.
If your ceiling has exposed beams, you can camouflage the lighting fixture by mounting it to the beams and running the track along the same length. This method is a great way to incorporate the modern spotlight fixtures you need, while maintaining a traditional décor style throughout your home.
As mentioned before, track lighting utilizes a single ceiling electrical box, just like a chandelier. Making it easy to replace in the hallway or over your kitchen island if you need more light. You can even hang pendant lights off of a track, for a more traditional style with easier installation.
Finally, you’ll want to consider the bulbs within the fixture. LED track lighting keeps electrical costs low (they use 85% less power than halogen bulbs) and come in a variety of color temperatures from warm to cool, so you can pick the perfect look for your home.
A: Tracks can come in one of three configurations: H, J or L. Those letters refer to the way the track is shaped internally. H, J or L track is available in line voltage or low voltage systems. Before purchasing track lighting, make sure the track system and track heads are compatible. There is also the monorail track, which is customized to fit your track and your lighting needs.
A: Once you have tracks figured out, the lighting is the easy part. The lights, or track heads, are much more simple to change out and match to your style. You could go with spotlights, pendants, flexible-arm track heads and many more. Just make sure your lights are at the correct voltage for your track.
Q: What's the difference between track lighting and recessed lighting?
A: Recessed lighting is not directional or localized making it very poor task lighting. It is usually ambient, general purpose lighting.
Under cabinet/tape lighting can be used as task lighting however.
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