I'm in the planning stages of renovating a barn to be used as a wedding
venue, with receptions to be held in the hay mow of the barn. I'm
trying to determine how many light fixtures I will need and I'm
wondering if there is some sort of calculation for figuring this out.
The ceiling is 28' high in the center. I'm considering using several
3-tier chandeliers that have 28 60 watt bulbs, and are 55" high x 60"
wide. I'm just not sure how many I need or how far apart I can space
them, or if I'll need to have lights on the side walls, too. The
sidewalls are 11.5' high, the barn is 32' wide by 80' long. I'm not
sure if this is something I can calculate on my own to get a rough
estimate or if I'll need to enlist the help of a professional.
Thanks in advance for any help you can give me!
I know hay mows. That's what we called them too but around here
they are called hay lofts. I have mowed a lot of hay back in
First thing I think of with all those bulbs and a little hay or
straw laying around for atmosphere is fire. *BE VERY CAREFUL*
Old farm boy..
Thanks, Glen. Yes, I suppose it's a hay loft in some areas of the
country. I hadn't thought about that.
This barn hasn't had hay in it in quite some time. By the time we have
it completely renovated it'll be rewired, insulated, sheetrocked,
painted, and have hardwood flooring. The only thing left will be the
big cross timbers.
Knowing how dry an old barn is and how miss-behaved party people
can be, ie: drunk and try to hit one of the chandeliers with a
shot glass, if I were the county, I would never issue the permit.
This is a disaster waiting to happen. Don't do it. If you do,
get *lots* of liability insurance. The time will probably come
when you will need it.
There was a party club around here that got on fire and killed
over 100 people. The club owner is now broke and sitting in jail
for 15 years. Just so you know. Your call.
Ok, so although this barn would have French doors leading to a large
deck in addition to a wide stairway leading to the lower level, you
have made me pause to reconsider my options. I hadn't considered that
the building would be more flamable due to it's age. Many old
structures are renovated and given new life. The other thing that is a
concern to me is handicap accessibility and lifts are pretty expensive.
So, even with the French doors and stairway, would you still consider
this a fire trap?
The other option that I had been toying with was to build on the back
of the property (40 acres with a river slicing through it on the
diagonal.) There is a separate driveway off of the county road that
leads back to the rear of the property. I'd have to put in a driveway,
sewer, and electric, pour a slab, and all of that. I've been looking at
barn kits, mainly from http://www.uhbarns.com /. I think I'll start
putting together some costs along these lines.
32 wide by 80 long will hold a lot of people. Is the reception
room going to be ONLY on the mow elevation? If so, how are you
going to keep some kid from sneaking into the lower stalls to
smoke and burning the place down?
I would want a deck, stressed to hold over 100 people, on EACH end
of the mow and LOTS of doors opening OUT onto the deck. I would
want the deck easily vacated via a stair or preferably a ramp. I
would buy LOTS of insurance. I'm not really mean, just can see
the big picture. I don't think you are.
But to actually answer your question there are a bunch of places on the web
with info. Good search would be "lighting planning lumens"
Like this one
You will need to take the number of lumens per bulb times 28 to get the
light output for each chandelier and divide by the square footage to figure
how many lumens per square foot. The 60w package I've got shows 830 lumens
so that would be 23240 per fixture or 9 lumens / sq foot. Then it's a
matter of figuring out how much light you need. Once you have the idea of
how to figure it out you can look at how a room is lighted and do a rough
calculation of the lumens/sq ft to compare. Example, an office is usually 4
tube flourescent fixtures which are around 11,000 lumens per fixture and
ceiling tiles are 4' x 2'. Count fixtures, count tiles long by tiles wide
and do the math.
I expect these chandeliers are pretty pricey so the light store folks should
be able to help you out on this also.
answer all your light level questions here:
I would guess you need to download the indoor lighting software,
but area lighting may fit your situation better.
Perhaps you can use some hot rod lights with blinders or other
disguise for the lumens and the chandeliers for pretty. A much
bigger issue is changing the bulbs as required, this will not lend
itself to grabbing a step ladder.
Keep the whole world singing . . . .
DanG (remove the sevens)
If all else fails, hire a lighting designer.
If this is to be a money makeing operation then you want the place to
really look good, not just meet minimums.
Richard Reid, LC
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