Every location has its own unique lighting considerations. A cathedral, whether in a church, library, or college, offers a beautiful architectural value that anyone can appreciate for its beauty. While a cathedral is beautiful, it can be difficult to properly light. Let's take a look at a few useful tips for proper cathedral lighting to make the most of this location.
Pay attention to where light falls
The biggest element of successful cathedral lighting is to pay attention to where the light is cast. You want to look at where natural light falls through the windows throughout the day as well as where light would fall from any artificial light fixtures you are considering installing. The light fall should highlight certain areas such as architectural areas to show off the beauty of the structure or walkways to add visibility. The overall goal of overhead cathedral lighting should be to create ambiance rather than overall visibility.
Play up shadows
When looking at cathedral lighting, it can certainly be defined as setting a mood or creating a certain ambiance in the setting. The way this is achieved is by playing with shadows. To create shadows, you need a mix of light and absences of light to create a calming ambiance found in most cathedrals. While the use of shadows can be created by simply using natural light through the windows during the day, artificial lighting can also be installed in a way that creates these same pleasing shadows in cathedrals without as much natural light or during night time events or services. You can create shadows by choosing light fixtures without diffusers and paying attention to where light falls.
Use spotlight or track lighting
Another element of proper cathedral lighting is using the right fixture type. While other ceilings are ideal for recessed or surface mounted troffers, for example, a cathedral ceiling needs smaller light fixtures still capable of producing proper illumination. A few good options for this setting include spotlight, track lighting, and can lights where applicable.
Pay attention to high heat fixtures/inefficient lamps
A cathedral typically has high ceilings, stained glass windows, or even artwork on the ceiling or adjacent walls. These matters factor into what type of lighting fixtures are ideal for this unique location. For instance, certain light fixtures produce a lot of heat during operation which can damage artwork while also being highly inefficient. Since cathedral ceilings are usually high, you want a light fixture that will last for a long time to cut down on necessary maintenance. A good choice is to opt for LED since it doesn't create heat loss and it lasts up to 4 times longer than other lamps.