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How to Choose RLM Lighting for Your Home

Buyer's Guide: RLM Lighting

What is it?

American Nail Plate RLM Light

RLM stands for Reflector Luminaire Manufacturer. These retro style light fixtures originated as industrial lighting, and are still commonly used in commercial applications, although they have found their way into residential lighting as well. RLM fixtures are ideal for restaurants, shopping centers, hotels, and multi-family residential exteriors. Appropriate for indoor or outdoor use, they are commonly used to light walkways and illuminate signs, and can be found on building facades, providing illumination above or below awnings, or functioning as wall washers.

Custom Configuration

RLM light fixtures are designed primarily as reflectors that direct light downward without the addition of a diffuser. A typical RLM shade includes a lampholder channel and a reflective underside. Styles range from classic to contemporary, from functional to decorative. The most basic warehouse-style shade lives up to its name in its basic appearance, while other designs take retro style to the extreme and are appropriate for an upscale shopping center or a casual bistro. Shades are usually constructed of spun or cast aluminum or cold-rolled steel, though some may feature brass or copper construction. Shade diameters can vary from barely 7” to 27” or more.

Mounting hardware for RLM fixtures is selected independently of the shade and can be chosen from a range of options as extensive as the variety of shades.

  • Wall Mounting — from basic pipes to goosenecks to decorative brackets
  • Bracket Mounting
  • Cord or Stem-Hung Pendant Mounting

Other options can be selected as well to customize each RLM fixture.

  • A variety of glass options and metal guards are available, including vapor tight glass.
  • There are dozens of weather-resistant powder coated, plated or galvanized finishes to choose from, in colors from subtle to shocking.
  • Light source choices include standard incandescent, HID — metal halide or high pressure sodium — and fluorescent for certain RLM fixtures.
  • Some fixtures feature photocell options and are Title 24 compliant.
  • Many RLM fixtures are also Dark Sky compliant.
  • Voltage options are available for commercial and residential applications.

Choose Function, Choose Style

While true RLM fixtures are designed primarily for commercial use, the RLM look can be found in many residential fixtures that feature retro styling. Pre-configured pendants and wall sconces are readily available that give the look of RLM with the convenience of a complete fixture. So whether your purpose is lighting a warehouse or lighting up your dining room, RLM lighting may be just the thing for you.

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