You’ve finally gone and done it, the man cave is set up, and you’ve achieved that lifelong goal of having your own pool table. But, something is missing… Does it all look a bit dull? Let’s get you sorted out. It’s an easy fix… Pool table lights are the answer. Today we will tell you all you need to know about pool table lighting, why you need it and what to go for. Is it us to break?
Do You Need a Light Over a Pool Table?
The truth is that yes, you probably do.
Unless you are a complete gentleman of leisure, you will probably be playing in the evening when the light isn’t good.
Pool table lights are custom designed to illuminate the playing surface of a pool table, removing shadows and contrast to provide you with the best view to take your shot.
Practicalities aside, they are also a really cool feature and can make your man cave look superb.
Types of Pool Table Lights
Pool table lights are not a one size fits all solution. Like pool tables, they are available in a range of dimensions and designs. They can even have different numbers of bulbs and shades.
Generally, they start at 3 shade fittings. You will also find 4 shade lights, 5 shade lights and tiffany lights (ask your Mrs).
The type you choose depends almost entirely on the size of your pool table.
What Size Should a Pool table Light Be?
It can be a little tricky to get the right size of pool table light, and it takes a little thought.
Well, if you go for a light that is too small, you won’t provide enough illumination to your playing area, which kind of defeats the object?
And it gets worse…
Many people don’t do their homework and just go for the biggest pool table light that they can get their hands on.
Here’s the problem.
If you go too big on your pool table lighting setup, you will make your pool table look tiny.
It might not be, but with the false perspective, you will end up making your man cave look a little budget instead of a real ‘lad pad’.
Here’s a great guide with recommendations on how to choose the correct pool table light size, based on the standard sizes of pool tables: –
|Size of Pool Table||Length and Number of Lights|
|3.5’ x 7’ (Very Small)||33”- 55” (3 lights)|
|4’ x 8’ (Small)||40”- 60 (3 or 4 lights)|
|4.5’ x 9’ (Medium)||60”- 80” (4 or 5 lights)|
|5’ x 10’ (Large)||60”- 80” (4 or 5 lights)|
|6’ x 12’ (Competition/Professional)||90” – 100” (5 lights)|
How Far Above the Table Should a Light Hang?
Do you want to be properly official in your pool table lighting setup?
You’ll read all sorts of guides (normally nicked from home design magazines with various measurements). We will tell you based on the rules of the World Pool-Billiard Association.
According to these guys, the light must hang at least 40 inches above the table’s bed! If it is a permanently fixed light (hint: yours is), it should be no lower than 65 inches above the playing area!
If you don’t want to be all official and just want something that looks good, then anything above 36″ (3 feet) should be good enough.
This takes a little thought and planning. Go too high, and you won’t get the required lighting level. Go too low, and you’ll find your mates are constantly whacking it with their cue.
How Many Lumens Do You Need for A Pool Table?
According to the guidance of the WPBA, there is actually a rule as to how bright a pool table should be. They state: –
“The bed and rails of the table must receive at least 520 lux (48 footcandles) of light at every point.”
In real terms? You will need at least 40 Watt bulbs, but to be on the safe side, why not opt for 60W?
Your bulb strength may be dictated by how close your pool table light is to the table. They can start to get pretty warm, especially if you have 5 bulbs running all evening.
The practical guidance would be to buy bulbs that are bright enough for you to clearly see what you are doing (in our case, missing by a mile). Low lighting can cause eye strain. A headache during your ‘boys night’ (instead of after)? No, thanks!
Are LED Lights Good for a Pool Table?
LED lights are superb for a pool table. They tend to give a much clearer, contrasty light. You don’t have the issues we described above with heat either.
As an interesting aside, LED lights use significantly less electricity than their incandescent counterparts. How much less? About 90%! They also last much longer too!
How to Install a Pool Table Light
In theory, installing pool table lights is no harder than installing a regular light fitting in your home, so if you are handy, you might want to do it yourself.
However, consider this…
Most ceiling mounted lights will be connected to mains electricity.
Mains electricity is not something to be played around with or guessed at. If you don’t know what you are doing, it is worth every penny to hire a qualified professional…
And on the plus side, you’ll have an extra pair of hands to help you lift it!
Choosing a Pool Table Lighting Design
This is the fun part! By choosing a design that compliments your room, you are really going to make it shine. (Pun intended).
There are so many different styles of man caves that it would be impossible to list them all, but let us offer some general tips: –
Choose the Correct Size
If you’ve paid attention to our size guide above, you should be all set to pick a pool table light that fits perfectly with your table.
Just make sure that it also fits perfectly with the dimensions of your room. It would be a terrible shame to choose a light that didn’t extend far enough, particularly in rooms with high ceilings (high ceilings? Get you, Mr Posh!)
Pick a Matching Theme
Ok, so you’ve gone for a comfortable, homely looking man cave, full of dark woods, vintage gear and perhaps a leather chair or two? There’s a good chance that a shiny chrome effect pool table light isn’t going to fit quite as well as something that matches the décor.
Likewise, going for something old fashioned, when you’ve got a modern utopia, will bring the room down when you want to light it up!
Pick either Matching or Contrasting Colours
Choosing either complementary or contrasting colours is an easy method when choosing which pool table light to buy.
Complimentary colours are those that are similar to the main colours and highlights in your room.
Contrasting colours are those that are found on the opposite side of the colour wheel
Consider Your Budget
Listen, at the end of the day, it is just a light. While it might go a long way to making your room look great, it will highlight the table and won’t be that noticeable if it does its job right.
The point we are getting at is aim your considerations at lights that are on or around a set budget. You can pick up plenty of great lights if you shop around, and they don’t have to cost the earth either.
Pool Table Lighting Ideas?
Need a little inspiration? We’ve had plenty of practice in shopping around for pool table lights. Here are some sweet suggestions: –
Here’s what I like about this one. It’s arranged in a couple of colours. It looks really classic, and if you look closely, you’ll see a really cool feature. The frame of the light is actually made with real pool balls. It would work well in any sports themed room… In fact, it’s classy enough to work almost anywhere.
When I look at this one, I imagine a room with raw brickwork, a few brown leather chairs and perhaps a few neutral colours?
One neat feature about this pool table light is the Eddison bulbs. They add a real vintage vibe to any room.
Speaking of Eddison bulbs, have a check of this. It’s a bit different, mixing a baroque style along with a touch of the modern.
As the shades are glass (and therefore transparent), this would work with any room colour. As with our first suggestion, it also contains pool balls as part of the design.
If you find the pools balls in the frame overkill and want something just a little more vanilla, check this one out. Not much to write home about, but the focus will be on the table instead of the lights. We liked this because it is available in quite a few colours, including black, so it will go anywhere!
It can be a little tricky getting it right with pool table lights… After all, not that many people buy them, and most shops don’t sell them. So you’ll have to do your research! Hopefully, our guide has shed some light on the situation? Let us know in the comments!