Pool-table lights are as essential to the game of pool as the cue ball. Billiards is a game of angles, speed and strategy, and none of those things can be precisely judged without the proper lighting. A long shadow on a ball can mean the difference between victory and an embarrassing, life-ruining defeat. In addition to lighting your pool table, billiard lights are also versatile and can be used over a bar, kitchen island or dining room.
Properly lighting a pool table is no small task and requires a plan to get it done right. Several issues must be resolved before the fun part of picking out a light can even begin.
The first step is to know where the pool table will go and assess whether the support features in the ceiling above that area can hold a pool-table light. Basements with drop ceilings and very high ceilings can make this challenging. Choosing a less heavy or smaller light may help overcome these obstacles.
Next, decide what size of light you need to effectively illuminate the entire table. This will depend on the size of the table, which can range anywhere from 7 to 9 ft. in length. Lights that are less than 20" wide are the most common, but they range to 49” or larger. World Pool-Billiard Association (WPA) regulations state the table surface must receive 520 lux of light at every point – which will require a wizard to measure, so don’t worry too much about it. Just remember that there’s no table size-to-light ratio rule so using good judgment is key: longer pool tables should have longer lights.
Finally, the bottom of the light shade should rest between 36 and 42 in. from the top of the table, so if space is tight a more streamlined light with less chain would be a better pick.
A pool-table light can change the entire mood of a game room. Pool-table light shades may be made of metal, glass or plastic and come in a wide range of designs. Classic pool table lights are in the stained glass/Tiffany style. These range from patterns to literal images of pool cues. Modern style pool table lights will give a sleek look while rustic pool table lights will bring some of the outdoors in.Ideally, the light style will be coordinated with the table and/or the room, which is easy to do because lights come in modern, classic, retro and themed designs.
Most lights will fall into one of two camps: those with one large shade and those with smaller individual shades. Both styles will provide adequate light for the table although it would be a mistake to say there is no difference, different shade styles and number of lights will change the shadows on the table. The most common billiard lights consist of multiple individual bulbs.
When you receive your billiard light, you’ll want to place it properly to get the best possible light for your pool table. The lights should hang with the bottom of the light at eye level when standing, and should have a decent clearance from the top of the pool table. Center the light lengthwise over the table. Make sure the light reaches all the way to the rails of the pool table and that it provides even lighting.