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Buying Guide

Lumens Per Square Foot: Recommended Amount Needed for a Room

Measure the Room
A person measuring part of the floor

Large spaces obviously need more lighting than small rooms. To find out how many lumens you’ll need in a given area, you need to start by measuring the room. Here’s how to quickly calculate square footage:

  • Measure the length of the room. 
  • Measure the width of the room.
  • Multiply the length of the room times the width of the room. This is your square footage.

For example, a room that measures 10”W x 10”L has an overall size of 100 square feet.

Understand Foot Candles
A light beam on a wall from a light bulb

A foot candle is a measurement that tells you how bright a light source is when standing one foot away. Understanding foot candles to lumens conversions can make it easier to determine your own lighting needs. 

  • Workspace or garage: 80-100 foot candles
  • Kitchen work areas: 70-80 foot candles 
  • Bathroom: 70-80 foot candles 
  • Home office: 60-80 foot candles
  • Dining room: 30-40 foot candles
  • Kitchen: 30-40 foot candles
  • Dining room: 30-40 foot candles
  • Living room: 10-20 foot candles
  • Bedroom: 10-20 foot candles 
  • Hallway: 5-10 foot candles

Workspaces need more foot candles on average. This is because you typically need brighter lighting in a these areas than in a bedroom or living room to accomplish tasks.

How Many Lumens Do I Need?
A living room featuring recessed lighting

Once you’ve measured the room and calculated the required foot candles, it’s time to determine how many lumens a space needs. Multiply your room square footage by your foot candle requirement. 

Here’s an example using a 100 square foot living room:

  • 100 sq. ft. X 10-20 foot candles = 1,000 to 2,000 lumens.
Lumens Quick Guide
A light beam on a wall from a light bulb

Taking a few minutes to determine the recommended lumens per square foot with the method outlined above is ideal. However, if you can’t make calculations or quickly need to know how many lumens are needed per square foot for a garage or workshop, you can try the lumens quick guide below for an average estimate:

  • Workspace or garage: 8,000 to 10,000 lumens
  • Kitchen work areas: 7,000 to 8,000 lumens 
  • Bathroom: 7,000 to 8,000 lumens 
  • Home office: 6,000 to 8,000 lumens 
  • Dining room: 3,000 to 4,000 lumens 
  • Kitchen: 3,000 to 4,000 lumens
  • Dining room: 3,000 to 4,000 lumens
  • Living room: 1,000 to 2,000 lumens 
  • Bedroom: 1,000 to 2,000 lumens 
  • Hallway: 500 to 1,000 lumens

These are only general guidelines, and while they will work in most spaces, they may not be applicable in every scenario. Rooms with dark walls and especially high ceilings may need additional lumens for the desired effect.

Tips for Industrial and Commercial Spaces
A commercial space featuring abundant lighting
  • Industrial spaces often require more lumens per square foot because of the complicated, potentially dangerous nature of work being performed. In these spaces, you’ll want to look for shop lights, wraparound lights, LED troffers and high bay lights that have higher output. 
  • Commercial spaces like retail stores can utilize many of the same light types, but they may not require the same number of lumens. However, as many retail spaces feature high ceilings and large spaces, your lumen needs must be calculated on an individual basis.
  • Check local regulations to more accurately determine commercial lumens per square foot requirements and recommendations for your industrial facility.