What to do about these shadows?

by Lou
The eyeball recessed light above our fireplace is not centered and too close to the fireplace wall. There is a ceiling fan in the middle of ceiling. Currently, without the ceiling fan light ON there is extreme shadowing on and below the fireplace mantel. There is little problem with only the ceiling fan light ON but having this light on at night is not always desirable. See the images.
We hope to correct the recessed lighting problem with better positioned recessed lights or some other solution. What do you think?
The only light source is the off center recessed eyeball light.
The only light source is the ceiling fan's light.
  8 answers
  • William William on Aug 17, 2016
    What you have is an adjustable can light that was installed to highlight above the fireplace mantle. They usually are installed about two feet from the wall. If you want the whole fireplace highlighted, you can replace the eyeball light with a down light. If you want to keep the eyeball light, just install a down light next to the eyeball same distance from the fireplace and at a distance from the eyeball to center both lights to the fireplace. Wire both lights together so they're on/off at the same time.
  • Phil a Phil a on Aug 17, 2016
    One of the hardest things to get right is light design that is illuminating without being harsh for the eyes. Strong shadows are one of the biggest culprits for this. The current eyeball light is another culprit. Similar to the metal can lights commonly found on ceiling fans, they give what I call a "prison yard" look. I always recommend to my customers that they get lighting that also illuminates the ceiling, thereby softening the light, reducing the shadows and easing the eye-strain. Light color is also important to consider. The 2700 K - 3500 K LED lights resemble the "orange-ish" look of traditional incandescent lights. Lights is the 5000 K and higher have a "bluish" color that reminds me of a gas station at night... bright, but harsh. So, my recommendation for the least expensive solution is to get a ceiling fixture to replace the eyeball fixture that protrudes below the ceiling and shines light also onto the ceiling. A good solution for that would be a 4 ft or longer track light assembly with 4 or more lights that you could aim to best effect to reduce shadows on the mantel and to reflect up to the ceiling. The advantage of the track light is that it can be re-centered over the fireplace. Using frosted floods instead of clear spots would also reduce the harsh shadows. A dimmer on the power control would make it even more adjustable. LEDs will simply last much longer so I suggest those. The idea is to get as much light from as many directions as possible so the shadows are reduced. Let us know. Phil
  • Ann Ann on Aug 18, 2016
    If this was my house, I would thrift shop for some lamps that fit on the mantel and even on the hearth. Try a tall lighted hurricane glass on the hearth. Google lamps on a mantel and see some neat ideas. Another search could be lighted hurricane glass. The lamps don't even have to match and they give you some decorating options that are fun.
    • See 1 previous
    • Ann Ann on Aug 19, 2016
      I've dealt with unsightly cords with cord covers neatly installed down the wall and in the corners along the floor. I bought mine at Lowe's. A cord cover painted to match the wall cover practically disappears, even in the open. I got the idea from Apartment Therapy. That is what I would do in this situation. Just a suggestion.
  • Pat Pat on Aug 18, 2016
    I guess my suggestion would be to just unscrew the bulb if you don't want the shadows....otherwise, put a very dim bulb in there like a night light. Moving a light like you have would mean a lot of ceiling patching and etc. Like Ann said, some lamps on the mantel would be better. I am not fond of ceiling lights in the living room or TV room. The shadows are bad sometimes. My house was built in the late 60's and there are no lights in the ceilings of the living room or the family room.....we just use lamps plugged into switched plug ins. Works for us.
  • Shari Coppinger Shari Coppinger on Aug 19, 2016
    I had a similar situation. What I did was change the light switch to a "dimmer switch". I changed the bulb to a "soft light" bulb, then changed the angle of the light itself. Between playing with the dimmer switch and the angle of the light I found a happy medium that didn't glare off the picture and did give the fireplace more light. Good luck.
  • Lou Lou on Aug 19, 2016
    So let me go at this in a different why. Say, I had no light above the fireplace. What specific light or lights should be put up and how should it or they be positioned? Thank you for your continued help.
  • Lou Lou on Aug 21, 2016
    Saturday we discovered the 23 year old rececessed fixture has a dangerous electrical short. Continued use could/would start a fire. We turned off the power switch to the fixture then removed the bulb. Both components of the fixture must be remove with only wires remaining. Each individual wire is to be capped off using wire nuts. A lighting consultant is scheduled to come evaluate the situation. Thank you all for your help. Once this dilemma is resolved I will post the successful result.
  • Lou Lou on Aug 25, 2016
    Thanks for your feedback.