If You're Designing and Installing Lighting, You Need This Tool ASAP

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Tools of the Trade Bosch laser measure

Product: Bosch / Illustration: The Spruce

The world of home decor is vast, and we’re constantly amazed by the designers, creators, and creatives who cross our paths. In an effort to learn more about the innovative eyes behind the scenes, we’ve launched a series that explores the sanity-saving tools, products, and services that keep our favorite designers and decorators focused on the job at hand. Welcome to Tools of the Trade.

In terms of designing a room, it’s easy to overlook creating a detailed lighting plan. But as Asher Kohring, senior buyer for Shades of Light, tells us: this is a key mistake.

We recently connected to discuss what item she recommends for creating a foolproof lighting design, and how this common item is a must-have when it comes to installing light fixtures.

Asher Kohring headshot.

Courtesy of Asher Kohring / Illustration: The Spruce

What item made your work life easier this week/month/lately? 

Asher Kohring: My trusty laser distance measure.

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Bosch 65 Ft. Laser Measure

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While sizing light fixtures can be more of an art than a science, there are general rules or starting points that can help you figure out what size light will 'fit' properly within your space. We use some calculations that are based on the size of the room, and traditional measuring tools can be hard to manage for big or oddly shaped rooms, especially if you're taking those measurements by yourself.

Why is this item so great?  

AK: The laser distance measure makes it easy to take accurate measurements all around your room—without having to break out a ladder to reach the ceiling, or have a friend hold the tape in place all the way across the room. 

Where/how do you use this item most? 

AK: It's pretty handy all around, but it makes taking measurements from a tabletop (or other surfaces) to the ceiling much easier. When you mount a light fixture over a walkway, there is an easy point of reference for how low it should hang. You don't want anyone bumping into the light! Mounting a light over a tabletop can be a little trickier and having exact measurements handy really simplifies the process. 

How did you discover this item? 

AK: A friend raved about it, so I had to give it a try.

Will you use this item in the future? 

AK: Absolutely. An accurate measuring tool is essential for any home tool kit. 

How has this item made your job easier? 

AK: The laser distance measure makes taking measurements simpler, keeps track of the last several measurements you've made, can be used for rooms of all shapes, and can even take multiple measurements at once to calculate the volume or area of a room. 

How might someone not in your line of work benefit from this item? 

AK: If you don't have a lot of experience choosing or hanging light fixtures, it's a good idea to calculate the recommended dimensions for your fixture based on room size so you have a starting point to base your design around. Having accurate measurements of your space is essential, and the laser distance measure is the simplest, easiest way we've found to take all those measurements quickly. Of course, it's also great for non-lighting related tasks, like making sure the new sofa you're considering will fit through the doorway or checking to see if a new furniture layout will 'work' in your space before you drag a dresser all the way to the other side of the room. 

Are there any care/use tips someone considering this item should know about? 

AK: These are durable, versatile tools, but make sure you pick the one that's best suited for your needs—if you intend to use it for outdoor projects, for example, you want to be sure you purchase one intended for outdoor use (and longer distances).