Lighting Your Home

Lighting can make a big difference in the interior environment of your home. Good lighting used properly helps you to see better and perform tasks more easily. It also provides safety, security and a sense of comfort. Lighting and lighting controls also provide you with the flexibility to adjust and adapt the mood and ambiance of your home.

Lighting fixtures are ideal, and often inexpensive, accessories to supplement the interior design of your home. With an unlimited range of styles, shapes, colors and sizes, lighting fixtures can add sparkle and a final, finishing touch to your décor.

Properly used lighting should complement your lifestyle and meet your family's needs. When planning your home's lighting, keep these tips
 in mind:

  • Identify the activities that occur in each room (reading, food preparation, hobby work, grooming, laundry, homework, etc.).

  • Identify the mood or ambiance that you want to create in each space.

  • Identify any decorative elements you wish to emphasize, such as artwork or wall textures.

  • Identify areas with dark wall colors and finishes. These areas absorb more light than those with lighter finishes, so supplemental lighting may be required.

 

 

Energy Efficiency

Lighting typically accounts for about 17% of residential electricity use, but there are easy ways you can reduce energy consumption by lighting in your residence without compromising lighting quality or convenience.

1. Turn off the lights when you do not need them.

2. Install (and use!) dimming controls where possible.

3. Use photoelectric lighting controls such as motion or occupancy sensors or timers to automatically turn off lighting, especially outdoors.

4. Use the lowest wattage and most efficient bulb that will properly fulfill your lighting needs.

Compact fluorescent bulbs, for instance, provide excellent energy-efficient lighting for laundry rooms, storage rooms, kitchen and baths. LEDs are very efficient light sources for a growing number of applications, such as undercabinet lighting, task lighting and outdoor step lights. 

For tasks such as reading, however, incandescent bulbs are often still the best choice because of their brightness. To be as energy-efficient as possible, use halogen incandescent bulbs instead of standard bulbs. 

5. Look for products that carry the ENERGY STAR symbol.  These products have had to undergo more rigorous testing to earn the label thus ensuring a higher quality product in terms of efficiency.

Living / Family Room

To meet the varied needs of a living room or family room - entertaining, watching television, reading, playing games, accenting artwork - three to four layers of lighting should be used. These might include recessed lighting around the perimeter of the room, a chandelier or central decorative fixture for general lighting, wall sconces for mood and portable lamps for reading and other tasks. Use dimmers whenever possible for maximum control of all fixtures.

Reading requires task lighting that comes from behind and to the side of the reader's shoulder. This can be accomplished with a portable lamp. The bottom of the lampshade should be located at eye level to avoid glare.

Televisions and computer monitors require low-level ambient lighting that does not wash out the screen's image or reflect into viewers' eyes. Recessed miniature downlights or miniature track lighting can be installed in the near vicinity for task lighting. Wall sconces with an indirect lighting function, used with a dimmer, are ideal for creating a soft, non-glaring light for watching TV, or, if your television is in an armoire, consider installing undercabinet lighting to create a pleasing glow.

Fireplaces made of brick or stone can be emphasized with recessed downlights installed over the mantle to create a dramatic grazing effect. Wall sconces on either side of the fireplace are another option that brings attention to the fireplace area while providing general lighting for the living room.

Artwork can be highlighted with recessed adjustable fixtures or with low-voltage, halogen picture lights. One of our sales associates can help determine how many fixtures are needed depending on the size of the painting and the proper aiming angle.

Kitchen

Today's kitchen, the center of family activity, wins hands-down as the modern home's busiest room. Lighting requirements depend on the size and complexity of the kitchen space. While the kitchen is primarily a work area, it may also be used for dining or as a gathering place for family and friends. Small kitchens may require only a central ceiling fixture and task lighting tucked under a cabinet. More elaborate kitchens will demand a blend of general, task and accent lighting.

 


Lighting over the kitchen table is multipurpose – used for dining, homework, hobbies or family business. A decorative pendant will provide sufficient task lighting while also adding a touch of style and personality to your space.

Mount pendant fixtures 30" above the table top. If your table is round, the fixture should ideally be 12" narrower than the diameter of the table. For square and rectangular tables, choose a fixture that is 12" narrower than the smallest side.

Consider installing a
dimming system so you can lower the light for ambiance during dining and entertaining.

Island counters and breakfast bars demand a combination of task and general lighting. A very good solution is to add a group of miniature pendants.

Mount each pendant so that the bottom of the shade is approximately 66" above the floor so it is possible to look across the room below the pendants. If the shades are not very deep and there is seating at the kitchen island or peninsula, install the pendants a few inches lower (60" above the floor).

In general, you should install one pendant for every two feet of counter space and try to use an odd number of pendants to create better balance. Thin, narrow pendants, however, might look more pleasing with the addition of one or two extra fixtures.

For lighting in the center of the ceiling, a large, surface fluorescent provides the most light for the least cost. Look for fixtures with the ENERGY STAR label. These fixtures are the most energy-efficient, and they use fluorescent bulbs that are rated very high in color rendering, which means that colors and people will look their best. 

General lighting can also be achieved with either recessed lighting or a central, decorative chandelier. Recessed lighting is best placed around the perimeter of the room and approximately 30" away from the wall. Chandeliers can be used in addition to other lighting in the space. In the kitchen, it is best to use chandeliers with semi-transparent glass shades instead of fabric shades because the glass is much easier to clean.

Undercabinet lighting will quickly and easily illuminate your countertops. It is available in a variety of choices, including slim, energy-efficient fluorescents, miniature track lights and low-voltage linear systems. 

Place undercabinet fixtures at the front of your cabinet – not against the wall – so the light will be distributed evenly over the area below.

Also, consider putting your undercabinet lighting on a
dimmer separate from other lighting in your kitchen. The different levels of light can add depth and dramatic impact to your space, and dimming is an easy way to save energy. 

Bathroom

More spacious and multifunctional than ever before, the once-utilitarian bathroom has evolved into a private retreat for relaxation, escape and self-indulgence. The right lighting can make a bathroom even more gracious.

Whether built new or recently remodeled, bathrooms today demand intricate lighting solutions. Task lighting must be bright enough to do its job, but also work well with indirect accent lighting to soften the room's ambiance and provide a warm glow. Decorative and ornate light fixtures and lamps provide elegance and sophistication. Shower light brighten up enclosed stalls. Reading lamps by the toilet provide more focused light.

Decorative wall fixtures placed on each side of the mirror will provide the even, shadow-free facial illumination necessary for daily grooming tasks. For best results, mount fixtures at least 28" apart and 60" off the floor.

Newer techniques of bathroom lighting even include using small pendants on either side of the mirror.

Shower and tub lighting should be bright enough for cleaning, shaving and reading shampoo labels. Choose recessed downlights designed for use in wet areas. Shielded fixtures will protect reclining bathers' eyes from glare.

An adjustable accent light aiming from outside the tub is dramatic, glare-free and great for those who bring books to the bath.

 In the center of the ceiling, a decorative light fixture that blends with the rest of your decor provides an elegant touch while providing adequate light for safety, cleaning and moving about. It also balances the brightness of other bathroom lights.

Ceiling mount fixtures, small chandeliers and decorative vent fans with integrated lighting are a few of the options for modern bathrooms.

Bedroom

When lighting a bedroom, you will want to create an overall atmosphere of quiet relaxation, while providing some bright spots for reading and other activities. A combination of general and task lighting that takes into account the age and lifestyle of the occupant(s) is needed. Remember, dimming controls give you the flexibility to vary the light to suit different moods and activities.

 General, ambient lighting can be provided by ceiling fixtures, chandeliers, fan lights, recessed downlights or wall sconces, giving you the illumination you need to dress and see into drawers and closets.

 Next to the bed, portable lamps provide plenty of light for reading, or you can install swing-arm wall lamps to free up the space on your end tables. Another idea is to hang pendants next to the bed or install recessed downlights in the ceiling over the bed.

 For closets, recessed or close-to-the-ceiling fixtures give you good general lighting without taking up much space. Closets are a good place to save energy by using compact fluorescent bulbs.

 Children's fixtures can add whimsy and style to your child's room. For a practical solution, consider track lights, which can be swiveled, rotated and aimed in any direction to shed light on play areas, desks or artwork.

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