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How to light a barrel ceiling?

MikeOregon's picture

Greetings.  During framing of this 1100 sq ft daylight basement addition to a 1997-vintage house, my architect got all excited when we were about to frame a std tray ceiling in the rec room.  "Ooooh!  Ooooh!  Make it a *barrel* ceiling!  That would be soooo cool!"  Ok, so being a good framer, I did what he said.

It actually came out pretty cool.  The rockers used thin drywall to cover the nice curve.  The ceiling is about 18' deep and about 14 1/2' wide.  I built a tray 18" out from the walls, all the way around.  The ceiling slopes from 9' to about 13' in the center then back down.

This is a rec room with a pool table, so the center ceiling fixture is a chain-mounted table light, pretty easy.  But, the 18" trays on either side of the barrel are meant for GP lighting.  My lighting babe has mentioned low-flicker flourescents with daylight bulbs.  Another lighting shop talked about halogen spots, 3-4 on a side, washing light onto the ceiling.  Yet another suggested rope lighting.

Has anyone else dealt with such a situation?  If so, what did you use???

Thanks!!  :-)

(post #90683, reply #1 of 12)

I'd go wall wash and maybe even loose the center fixture.

I think...

Excellence is its own reward!



Oh Well,

We did the best we could...

(post #90683, reply #3 of 12)

They'll probably need the center light for the pool table, unless they can aim spots installed in the barrel vault.

I'd have three-tier lighting, starting with a few uplights in the trays for background lighting of the barrel vault. I like the effect of lights with shadow spaces between rather than continuous light, so I'd space them a bit. Not everyone likes this effect, though.

For playing pool, I'd use an appropriate center fixture to brightly light the table.

For general purpose partying, I'd have wall washers or regular cans in the tray.

(post #90683, reply #4 of 12)

Probablt rue for table light. Mentally,I'm having a hard time visuallizing it all. Makes me think of taking out the Altar and putting in a pool table at the chapel. LOL

Excellence is its own reward!



Oh Well,

We did the best we could...

(post #90683, reply #2 of 12)

What kind of lighting effect are you shooting for?

Bright rec room light - use the tubes. Ambiance - wall wash, at least 6 on a side. Multiple use room - use both, separate switches, dimmer on the wash. Forget the rope lights in that application, there's just not enough light output to make it worthwhile, IMHO.

(post #90683, reply #5 of 12)

We did a barrel vault a while back and lit it with a bunch of MR16 low voltage (Juno) and some PAR floods. The low voltage is really clean light. Worked great.

Well, almost great. By the time we got done with all the electrical artistry there were enough switches at the top of the stairs to confuse just about anyone.

But as lighting goes the Juno LV track worked real well because of all the options and design flexibility available to the homeowner.

We hid a big transformer inside a thick wall. In retrospect I might have gone electronic with that to reduce the hum.


(post #90683, reply #6 of 12)

If they're at all serious about the pool table, you really need a suspended fixture low enough to the table that players will not cast dark shadows on it.  That's why you see pool halls with a fixture hung low enough that it's in the way when your try to talk to someone actoss the table.

The High Desert Group LLC


(post #90683, reply #7 of 12)

Thanks for all the feedback.  I have to keep the center ceiling box so i can hang a 4-light fixture to have direct lighting over the pool table.  I'm looking into the Juno fixtures mentioned in the replies.  I like the idea of the wall wash, but didn't know how many fixtures I needed.  6 on a side might be too many, only experimentation will tell.

If you guys would like me to post a picture on this board, let me know and I'll do that when I'm all finished.  :-)

Edited 9/29/2002 11:57:17 PM ET by bosco

(post #90683, reply #8 of 12)

Certainly post a picture. A before pict would lead to more helpful advice, too. Also, a lighting professional--the supply house I use has them at no charge--should be able to tell you how many. They know the coverage of each can, baffle, bulb combo and the effect it'll give.

(post #90683, reply #9 of 12)

I know of a project that has a approx 24' diameter domed ceiling.  The ceiling rose about 4' to center. It was lit using neon continuous around the bottom diameter. the neon was placed behind a gyp board curb so it could not be seen from the floor.  Good cool light washes the entire dome.----

(post #90683, reply #10 of 12)

Since you must have this suspended fixture over the pool table, perhaps it can do double duty with tubular halogens or whatever you want in the top of it, hidden from direct view, but bouncing  light off the concave surface above.  This would be far more even than what you could get working from around the edges of the vault.


-- J.S.




-- J.S.


(post #90683, reply #11 of 12)

Appreciate your describing a barrel ceiling.  This is new to me & working toward an interesting ceilings in new home.

Many thanks!

(post #90683, reply #12 of 12)

A barrel ceiling is usually a half of a tube--looks like the top of a tunnel. In the one described, there is a "tray" (horizontal surface) along each side joining the barrel to the walls