Garage Lighting Ideas for Your Home

No matter how you use your garage, update the lights to brighten the space.

Band playing in garage with several lights
Image: Mint Images/getty

There’s room for a lot of activities in your garage. Sure, you can use it the old-fashioned way, to park a car or two. But you can get creative with the garage space, using it as a workshop or a home gym, or even converting the garage to a full-on living space. Likewise, you can extend that creativity to garage lighting ideas to illuminate the space and accommodate whatever you plan to do there.

Let’s explore some reasons to update garage lighting. Then, we’ll check out some of the best garage lighting ideas and other DIY ideas to enhance your garage’s look and feel.  

What to Look for When Purchasing Garage Lighting

Before shopping for new lighting for your garage, consider these factors: 


Using your garage as a workspace requires stronger lighting than using it for storage or parking. The lighting may even vary by the type of task. Working on cars may require brighter lighting than working at a tool bench.

Brightness & visibility

You’ll need to consider the safety and convenience you’ll need based on how you’re using your garage. For example, working on cars and craft projects will require brighter light than just parking your car and walking into the house.   

Energy Usage

Adding lighting may increase your energy bill, so consider bulb wattage when adding new lights to your garage. Choosing a lower-wattage bulb can lower your energy consumption and electricity bill in the long run.


Managing the cost of your new lighting project is essential. Be careful not to add more lights than you need or cut corners by buying cheap bulbs that will need to be replaced more often. It may be best to work from a budget to install the proper number of lights and choose bulbs that will last.

5 Common Types of Garage Lighting Options

Now that you’ve decided on your priorities for garage lighting let’s look at some of the types you can choose from. 

Shop Lights 

Shop lights are LED bulbs intended for small spaces. They’re excellent for garages because of their low wattage and energy efficiency.

Bay lights

Bay lights, which typically hang from the ceiling above the parking space in a garage, provide a high amount of illumination over a wide space. They’re a good pick for garages with high ceilings.

Recessed Lights 

Recessed lights are installed into walls or ceilings and are a better fit in garages with higher ceilings. The strong illumination they provide makes them ideal for a workshop or garage where you’ll be completing tasks more detailed than parking a car.

Wraparound Lights  

Wraparound lights have LED bulbs covered by a diffuser that provides strong illumination over a broad area. They are usually optimal for garages with low ceilings, since they mount flush with the ceiling and don’t take up functional space.

Flush Mount Lights 

Flush mount lights are installed directly against your ceiling. Since they don’t hang down into the garage like a bay light, they’re a smart choice for garages with low ceilings.

Calculating How Much Light Your Garage Needs

Figuring out how to light your garage is straightforward. First, calculate your square footage. Then, multiply that number by around 30 watts per square foot. This means a 120-square-foot garage needs around 3,600 watts of lighting.

These numbers only provide rough estimates, so if you use your garage for more than storing your cars and need brighter lighting, add more wattage per square foot to the calculation.

Garage Lighting Ideas

Updating your garage lighting doesn’t end with choosing lights and calculating your square footage. There are other ways to make your garage brighter and cheerier.

Add Warmth With Natural Lighting

Adding windows and skylights is a great garage lighting idea. They’ll let natural light flow into the garage, saving you money on your electric bill while making your garage brighter. Natural light can also raise the air temperature, so your garage will be warmer and more comfortable.

Another surprising garage lighting idea: paint. Repainting your garage walls, ceiling, and floors in light colors will reflect both natural and artificial light for a more open and bright space.

Place Lights Under Garage Cabinets 

Installing lighting around garage cabinets can make a workshop brighter without much investment of time or money. Cabinet lighting can be a simple addition to an already completed setup because it usually uses small, affordable, energy-efficient LED bulbs. Lighting cabinets can be a simple but impactful garage lighting idea.

Use Motion Sensors and Smart Lighting

When talking about the best garage lighting ideas, we have to mention smart home technology. Motion sensors save energy because they’ll turn your garage lights on when you need them and off when you don’t. A garage light equipped with a motion sensor also keeps you from fumbling around in the dark for the light switch.

Consider installing lights you can run on an app on your smartphone or tablet. You can set the garage lights on timers, so they come on as soon as you get home from work or turn off after the kids get home at night. You can dim or brighten the lights, or you can adjust the colors of the lights by touching the screen on your phone. You won’t even have to leave the bed to wave at the motion sensor.

Support Your Garage’s Use With Proper Lighting

Lighting is a key component in how functional your garage is, whether you’re just parking cars there or using the space as an art studio. Choose appropriate garage lighting to make the garage a multi-use space the whole family will enjoy.

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