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on January 19, 2016

6 Ways to Light a Wine Cellar

A wine cellar is more than just a place to stack and store your bottles. It's about drama, hospitality, and convenience. The lights you choose to use in your wine cellar play a huge role in creating the right ambiance.

Here are a few ways you can use lighting to create the perfect wine cellar:

1. Low-heat light sources

Incandescent and halogen light bulbs give off far too much heat to be used close to wine. Heat can easily damage your precious collection, so stick to the light sources that stay relatively cooler, like LEDs.

2. Ceiling lights

If you have floor-to-ceiling shelving to store your wine, you may want to illuminate them with LED downlights. You can install them on your ceiling with special wall washing trims to highlight the angles of your wine racks. Track lighting works great for this too. For more on wall washing, check out this article. You can also put these lights on a dimmer switch to control the light level in the room for different occasions.

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3. LED display lights

For a little more versatility with your lighting design, consider LED display lights. They will work better for freestanding shelves or racks that don't reach all the way from floor to ceiling. You can always find dimmable display lights, so you will be able to control the room's look and feel with these, too.

4. Accent lights

You can use accent lights to highlight shelves, bottles, or even the architecture in your room. They add another layer of light, which will contribute to the space's visual interest. Rope lights, lights strips, and tape lights can run along shelves. Use them to highlight each shelf for a uniform look, or just one or two in the middle to showcase favorite bottles. Get creative with recessed uplights, accenting your racks from below, or puck lights to spotlight individual bottles.

5. Backlighting

For the biggest impact, try backlighting your wine racks. The way this kind of lighting silhouettes your bottles will make the room look clean and modern. Plus, it can even play with the color of the wine. Just install microfluorescent lights or light bars behind a translucent panel, and watch your wine shine!

6. Chandeliers and hanging lights

Depending on the size of your wine cellar, a chandelier or pendant light makes a great finishing touch, and can set the mood for the entire room. A traditional chandelier may make your cellar feel regal and old world. If you're feeling whimsical, try repurposing favorite empty wine bottles into pendant lights.