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The Best Garage Lighting Solutions for Your Home

Caroline Gilbert
Written by Caroline Gilbert
Updated November 11, 2021
A father and son fixing bicycles in a garage with bright overhead lighting
Africa Studio - stock.adobe.com

Finally use your garage for more than just a carport

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A garage is a multi-use space. It’s where you park your cars, store your stuff, and even catch up with friends and neighbors. If you’re handy, it’s where you build or repair a thing or two. 

No matter how you make use of your garage space, the right lighting is an important factor for both safety and function. Use this guide to learn about the most common types of garage lighting, its uses, and additional considerations to keep in mind.

Most Common Types of Garage Lighting

Some garage lighting is better suited for certain uses than others. How do you know which type will work best for your space? Discover the most commonly used types of overhead lighting.

1. Overhead Lighting

An empty home garage with gray walls and overhead wraparound lights
Arena Creative - stock.adobe.com

Overhead lighting hangs from the ceiling—either fixed to it or suspended from chain or rope.  You might be quick to think that all overhead lighting is the same, but different types can have vastly different uses depending on your needs and garage space. 

Consider the following types of overhead lights for your space:

  • Bay Lights (High and Low) are heavy-duty lighting structures used to illuminate large spaces. There are two variations of bay lights—high bay lights and low bay lights. High bay lights are best used in spaces where the ceiling is 20 feet or higher, while low bay lights are more effective for garages with ceilings that sit 20 feet or lower from the floor. 

  • Recessed Lights aren’t just for living spaces. These lights sit within the ceiling, creating a flat surface—setting it apart from other lighting options. Recessed lighting is great if you have low ceilings in your garage that you’d like to appear higher. It’s also the way to go if you store tall vehicles or appliances that could use the extra headroom. 

  • Wraparound Lights: Unlike the other overhead lighting fixtures mentioned, a wraparound light emits light omnidirectionally from the bottom and the sides. 

    • This type of lighting is versatile and is a great option for any space, especially in rooms with a lot of shelving and storage along the walls. Kichler Lighting’s 10315WH Fluorescent Wraparound Lights have great reviews on Amazon and often go on sale. 

  • Flush Mount Lights sit flush to the ceiling, with a glass or canvas shade that protects the lightbulbs. This option is great for smaller garages with shorter ceilings, as flush mounts rarely give off as much light as other overhead options. 

  • Shop Lights are LED or fluorescent bar lights that typically suspend from a ceiling or from underneath a cabinet. These lighting fixtures are portable—power them by plugging them into an outlet rather than hardwiring them to your home’s electrical. 

2. Task Lighting

A man working on a bicycle in a well-lit garage with task lighting
rh2010 - stock.adobe.com

Task lighting helps illuminate a specific workspace. These options are usually portable and adjustable so you can shine a light directly on your project.

  • Clamp Lights: When you need extra light while working on a table or tool bench, a clamp light easily fastens to the side of your workspace. It can be moved and adjusted to shine light wherever you need it. 

  • Under Cabinet Lights are lights that are mounted underneath a cabinet, usually to illuminate a workspace or tool bench. Shop lights are often used as under cabinet lighting, though other options include LED strip lights and puck lights. 

    • Consider an option like Black & Decker’s 3-Bar Color Changing Light Kit. This under cabinet light fixture is remote-controlled, customizable, and easy to use.  

  • Halogen Work Lights are very bright, portable lights that have several attachment options. You most commonly see halogen work lights mounted on a tripod, but they can also be clamped to the edge of a table. 

Other Lighting Types

Overhead and workspace lighting aren’t the only illumination options for a well-lit garage. Consider these additional lighting types to enhance both the safety and the overall look of your garage—inside and out. 

3. Natural Lighting: Natural lighting can completely transform a garage. Options include standard windows, skylights, and garage door windows. 

4. Garage Door Light: Some garage door opening fixtures include a built-in light. This feature is useful for being able to find the fixture in the dark if needed. 

5. Lamp and Sconces Lighting: Lamp and sconce fixtures are most commonly found on the outside of a garage, mounted on either side of the garage doors. These lighting options are mainly for the aesthetic of your home. The fixtures themselves add a nice touch to the design of your home’s exterior, while beautifully illuminating it at night.  

Make sure that the lamp or sconce you choose is suitable for outdoor use, similar to this Traditional Style P6071-31 Outdoor Light by Progress Lighting. 

6. Motion Lighting: Unlike exterior lamp and sconce lighting, motion lighting is more for safety and security. They're designed to turn on only when motion is detected, which is useful when you’re walking around your house or taking out the trash at night. It can also scare off any potential trespassers or wild animals.  

Setting up security spotlighting doesn’t have to be expensive. Mr. Beams UltraBright LED Wireless Motion Sensor Spotlight is an affordable option to keep your property safe. 

Additional Considerations for Your Garage Lighting

Keep these factors in mind when choosing new lighting for your garage.

Color Temperature

Different lighting options have different color temperatures—meaning different lighting types will run either cool (blue hues) or warm (orange and yellow hues). The color temperature of your garage lighting comes down to personal preference, so be sure to check the lighting details before purchasing. 

Energy Efficiency

Energy efficiency is important to consider when updating the lighting in your garage. Keep in mind that some options, like LED lights, are more energy-efficient and cheaper to use than others. 

Installation

New garage lighting may require the installation of the fixtures and hard wiring into your home’s electrical system. This is a potentially dangerous task, so hire a professional electrician if you don’t have experience in this area.

Climate

If you live in an area that experiences extreme temperatures, your lighting options may be more limited. Keep in mind that fluorescent lighting is inconsistent when temperatures dip below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Smart Lighting

Before installing traditional lighting fixtures, consider choosing “smart” options with Bluetooth capabilities. Smart lighting is convenient for many reasons—especially for changing the color temperature and controlling your lights when you’re not home. With some products, you can even turn your lights on and off with voice-activated commands, which is useful if your hands are full or dirty. 

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