- / Blog
- / Interior Design
Tips on Track Lighting Placement and Installation
If you’ve ever wanted to add the extra touch of modern class to your artwork, track lighting installation is the way to go. Track lighting offers versatility and allows you to flexibly position and move your light according to your desired effect.
While it’s possible to use track lighting for ambient light, they more often act as task lighting or accent lighting to highlight the art and unique architectural features in interior design. Track lighting works by powering the entire track, therefore lighting any track heads attached to it. It is because of this system that the track heads can be repositioned anywhere along the track with ease.
Modern track lighting systems are sleek and present a wider variety of options in terms of style, size, and finishes, which can fit into any décor. They can be ceiling-mounted or wall-mounted. However, when it comes to art lighting, they are most commonly mounted on the ceiling.
If you’re considering installing track lighting for the art in your home or commercial spaces, here are a few factors that you need to consider.
Positioning Your Track Lighting System
The positioning of your track light mounting plate largely depends on the height of the ceiling. However, for standard ceiling heights, a distance of between 20 to 40 inches from the walls is advisable. The advantage of track light when it comes to art lighting is that their design allows for movement in any direction. As such, it allows for the strategic vertical aiming and adjustment of the track head without causing any glare to your art. The recommended angle for the lighting of any artwork is 30 degrees.
If your ceilings are too high and with your artwork positioned at eye level, you can also opt to suspend the track from the ceiling to a reasonable height, using track suspension kits.
Selecting the Track
Once you have identified where you want to position your track lighting, the next step would be to measure the required length of the track. The length of the artwork or collection, as well as the number of track heads you need to fix, influence this. If you just need to light specific points without moving your light across a track, then monopoint fixtures are a great alternative.
You also need to select the standard of the track you will use. There are three basic standard track lighting systems produced by most manufacturers. These are the Halo, Juno, and Lightolier, commonly known as the H, J, and L. These were the names of some of the first manufacturers of the track lighting systems.
Any of these standard systems can do. However, due to incompatibility, they are not interchangeable. This means that when you purchase a Halo Track, all your connectors, accessories, and track heads have to be specifically designed for its compatibility.
Apart from these three standard systems, modern manufacturers have come up with their own secondary designs, to provide solutions that meet customer needs. WAC Lighting, for instance, has a J2 Track System that comes with two circuits that are switchable independently.
Tracks are cuttable and purchased in standard sizes. Therefore, once you have measured the length of the track you need, you can easily calculate the number of tracks and connectors that you need to purchase.
Selecting the Track Lighting Heads
Many crucial factors go into the selection of the track lighting heads. They come in different sizes and a variety of specifications. Track lighting heads can even be in the form of recessed lights. Modern track recessed lighting allows you to experience the light, without exposing the lamp.
The most important aspects that are worth noting when selecting your tracking heads include the following:
The Track System
Remember, the track head has to be compatible with the track system. This is a top consideration that you cannot overlook. If you select a different track head from the track system, it will simply not clip to the track.
To save on energy costs, it is essential to select low voltage lighting that is energy efficient. Go for a certified track fixture with an energy star rating, and check for the indicated amount of low voltage.
The Beam Angle
Track luminaires come in a range of beam angles. This is a measure of the distribution of the beam of light. While a light bulb may have a 360-degree beam angle, track heads are directional light sources and thus have lower beam angles. For lights with the same lumens, a smaller beam angle provides more intense lighting than that with a larger beam angle.
The beam angle is particularly important because it affects how the light falls on the artwork. When you focus the beam on illuminating just the artwork, it creates more contrast of the art against the wall, making it stand out. It makes it look like the light is radiating from the artwork itself. On the contrary, wall washers and lights that spill over to the wall reduce that level of contrast.
The concept of framing the light to fit into the shape of the artwork is the whole idea behind framing projectors. You can install framing projectors with adjustable shutters or invest in customized masks with cutouts designed specifically to the shape of your art for perfect picture lighting.
For any art lighting, the illuminance levels should be approximately three times the recommended light levels in the room. Therefore, this is a major consideration when selecting your track luminaire fixture. Pay keen attention to the levels of artificial lighting at night in your lighting plan. You can even purchase a 2700 Lumen LED track light for art lighting in your commercial spaces, due to the higher illuminance levels. This article recommends getting a dimmer with your track lights to allow you to adjust the lighting levels.
The Type of Light Source
Most modern manufacturers produce integrated track lighting fixtures with either LED or Halogen light sources. However, LED track lighting is the most efficient light source. Additionally, it offers a diverse range of color temperatures from which to select.
The Color Temperature and Color Rendering Index
There are many options when it comes to the selection of the color temperature and Color Rendering Index (CRI) of your track light. The CRI measures the level of accuracy to which objects under the light exhibit their actual colors. Therefore, a CRI value of 85 and over is best for art lighting.
Since track lights are applicable in general lighting, task lighting, or as an accent light, the color temperature options allow you to select the best preference according to the intended mood and purpose. A 2700 kelvin light is a great recommendation for the accent lighting of art in your home.
What is 2700 Kelvin?
The color temperatures of lighting fixtures are measured in Kelvin. It is originally a comparison of the glow produced by Carbon when heated at different temperatures, plotted against a color temperature chart. Therefore, 2700 Kelvin light refers to the color produced by Carbon when you heat it at a temperature of 2700K.
What Color is 2700 Kelvin?
When Carbon heats at 2700K, it produces a warm yellowish glow. Hence, if you buy a 2700 Kelvin light fixture, that is the color temperature it would emulate. A 2700K light fixture is great for creating an intimate and relaxed ambiance. It is mostly applicable in accent lighting.
How to Install Track Lighting
Track lighting fixtures are easy to install. First, prepare by identifying the positioning of your track light and cutting your track to the desired length. Use connectors to join the tracks if necessary.
To connect track lighting to an existing junction box, first, ensure that you turn off the switch as well as the main fuse box or circuit breaker for the lighting. Test to ensure that there is no power running through the wires. Remove any existing light fixtures from that junction box.
Next, find the end power adapter of the track light you purchased. Match the wires in the adapter with the wires with the same color in the junction box and connect each pair with a wire nut or wire connector. Thereafter, tuck the wires back into the junction box and screw the metal piece to the ceiling, with the floating box outside the junction box.
Once this is done, measure and mark the position of the holes in the track onto the ceiling and drill them. Afterward, fix the toggle bolts into the drilled holes and screw the nut. Position the track on the ceiling, squeezing the toggle nut through the hole and tightening it with a screwdriver.
Do this for all the toggle bolts, then place the floating feed into the track to conceal it. Simply clip the track head onto the fixture and switch the power back on to turn on your lights.
How to Install Track Lighting without Existing Fixture
There are two ways of installing track lighting without existing fixtures. You can decide to draw new cables through the ceiling and walls. However, an easier option that is less disruptive is purchasing a plug-in track light and connecting it to the nearby outlet.
How to Adjust Track Lighting
Depending on the manufacturer’s instructions, track heads are easy to adjust. You can simply pull them down and onto the new location or slide them along the track profile to change their position. You can also rotate and aim the luminaire either horizontally or vertically as per the index markings.
When it comes to lighting your art in a modern fashion, track lighting is the ultimate lighting solution. Its flexibility allows you to easily reposition your art if you need to. It’s also a great way to light larger frames and art collections in your homes. Perfect Picture Lights offers a wide range of integrated LED track head, rail lighting, and track lighting kit options for all your art lighting needs. Invest in a dimmable integrated LED track light in the 2700 Kelvin Color and with a high CRI to convert the artwork in your home into a conversation starter.
Winny Okoth is a practicing Construction Project Manager and Interior Designer. She is also currently pursuing her Master’s Degree in Construction Project Management. Winny Okoth has a great passion for every form of design and has the mastery of the principles of design. She also specializes in 3D visualizations skills for architectural and interior design renders.