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Getting on the Right Track for a Lighter, Brighter Home

April 05, 1998|POPULAR MECHANICS | FOR AP SPECIAL FEATURES

How you choose to light each room of your home can go a long way toward creating enjoyable and functional living spaces. In addition to simply making things a good deal brighter, well-designed lighting plays an important role in generating a comfortable atmosphere.

However, solving your lighting problems doesn't just mean shedding more light on the subject. In many cases, rearranging the placement and intensity of the light sources provides a new look and increases functionality.

Though there are many lighting alternatives, one solution is track lighting. With this system, individual lamps, or lighting heads, fit into tracks secured to your ceiling. Because you install the tracks to suit your space, you end up with a configuration that's tailored to your needs. And once in place, the lamps can be repositioned along the tracks to vary the lighting effect or to accommodate new requirements. Best of all, because the power comes from an existing ceiling junction box, track lighting can usually be installed without any remodeling.

The choices in track lighting heads range from small, unobtrusive, can-shaped fixtures to large, high-tech lamps that lend drama to an interior space.

Before installing tracks, first study the layout of your room and decide on the best placement of the track sections. Plan for the first section to start at an existing ceiling junction box from which the new lighting will receive power. From there, you can carry the track along one side of the room or around the entire perimeter.

When planning the track locations, keep in mind that the lamp fixtures can be adjusted in any direction, so you have the ability to provide both general room illumination and task lighting from a single track. After you've determined the best track configuration, assemble necessary track, connectors and lighting fixtures before beginning the installation.

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