The Best Lighting Options for Closets

January 21, 2021 Published by Leave your thoughts

When you’re in the process of overhauling your closets for better organization, don’t forget to consider your lighting while you’re at it! There are a lot of closets that have insufficient lighting, or might not even have any lighting at all. In some cases, the lighting “solution” in your closet might be an exposed incandescent bulb on a pull chain, which might work, but is actually dangerous, especially when you consider the potentially flammable materials that are likely to be stored in your closet spaces.

Here are a few things to consider as you mull over how to improve the lighting in a closet in your Midland, MI home.


Lighting in closets is covered in building codes, and many older homes do not meet today’s standards for safety in closet lighting. This is typically due to the use of standard incandescent bulbs, especially exposed bulbs. It is very common in older houses for there to be recessed or surface-mounted incandescent fixtures. These fixtures must be enclosed within a housing or cover. They may not be partially enclosed or exposed.

In addition, any incandescent or LED bulb fixtures that are recessed must be at least six inches away from all storage areas in the closet. Surface-mounted fixtures with these bulbs must be at least 12 inches from storage areas.

Bulb type

As mentioned already, it’s best to avoid incandescent bulbs if possible. This includes halogen bulbs, a type of incandescent lighting that features a gas that helps to increase the light output. Even tiny halogen bulbs can produce a lot of light. However, the use of the gas makes them extremely hot, which makes them dangerous for small, enclosed areas like closets, or in areas where they might come into contact with flammable materials.

You can get the same size and appearance with more energy-efficient LED lights rather than using halogen bulbs.

Fluorescent bulbs are still commonly used for closets because they run very cool and are pretty energy efficient, at least in comparison to incandescent bulbs. The good news is that if you have a standard surface-mounted or recessed fixture, you won’t need to change the fixture to switch to fluorescent—just put in a CFL bulb with a similar light output.

Other types of fixtures

If you don’t currently have a light in your closet and don’t want to have to install a new hard-wired fixture, you can put in a battery-powered fixture instead. There are types of battery-powered lights that can be screwed or stuck into the wall or ceiling, which might be activated by motion or by touching the cover of the light.

These lights are best used in small closets. They are very inexpensive and easy to install, but you’ll need to stay on top of changing the batteries.

Interested in learning more about some of the best lighting options available for your closet in Midland, MI? Contact Nowak Cabinets of Midland today and we’ll be happy to give recommendations for the best lighting for home closets.

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