Archive for the ‘Design’ Category
As the holidays approach, many of us will be entertaining guests in our homes. We want our homes to look just perfect for these celebrations. However, we also don’t want to spend a lot of time on getting our houses ready since we need that time to cook, prepare gifts, set up decorations and plan out our events. One quick and easy way to make sure that your home looks right for the holidays is to focus on selecting the right lighting for holiday entertainment.
Start with a dramatic entry
The first thing that your guests will see when they enter the home is your foyer, entryway or front hall. This is the area that you should concentrate on for your most dramatic lighting. That way your guests will be impressed as soon as they enter your space. Top lighting ideas for making your entryway more dramatic include:
- Add wall sconces. You can select very powerful dramatic wall sconces for your entryway to attract the eye of your guests as soon as they enter the room. Because sconces are relatively small, a very bold sconce will be beautiful rather than overwhelming in this space.
- Show off an amazing lamp. Is there a corner of your entryway that is empty? Place a stunning floor lamp there that your visitors won’t be able to miss when they walk in the door. They will immediately notice your exquisite sense of style.
- Use track lighting to show off entryway art. If you have a favorite art piece then highlight it. Alternatively, hang special holiday art to set the mood. The right track lighting will make the artwork look perfect.
Focus on kitchen and dining room lighting
The focus of almost all of our holiday celebrations is food. Thanksgiving dinner and Christmas dinner are both major events during the winter season. Often if we’re entertaining we may have people assisting us with the cooking in our kitchens. We’ll certainly have guests enjoying the food in the dining room. Since these areas are the focus of the holiday events, it’s smart to pay attention to updating the lighting in these areas.
How do you know which lighting is the right lighting to choose for your home? Wouldn’t it be great if you could get personalized product recommendations from professionals in the industry? Now that’s possible in a very easy way. Simply take advantage of the personal lighting shopper feature that is available here on our site.
Benefits of the Personal Shopper Feature
You can use our site’s personal shopper feature to obtain the following benefits:
- Get personalized recommendations for lighting products from a certified American Lighting Association consultant.
- Easily sort through the tens of thousands of products on our site to find the ones that are just right for you.
- Find the lighting fixtures that are within your price range.
- Ask questions about your lighting options so that you can choose the right fixtures for your home.
How to Use The Personal Shopper Feature
Our site’s personal lighting shopper feature makes it super simple for you to find the right lighting in seven easy steps. Simply go to the personal shopper page and do these things:
To get the best lighting effect in any room, you need to have multiple light fixtures. More importantly, you need to have the right amount of different types of light fixtures. But how do you know which types of fixtures you need? The key is to understand your lighting options and the way they are each incorporated into the room.
Three Primary Types of Light Fixtures
There are generally three types of light fixtures that you should have in each major room of the house:
1. Task lighting. As the name suggests, this type of lighting refers to the lights that are going to be used for different tasks in the home. For example, you may have a reading lamp in the bedroom or office that serves as the light for your reading tasks.
2. Accent lighting. Accent lighting is similar to task lighting in that it lights a specific area. However, the purpose is not functional (as with task lighting) but instead is decorative. Accent lighting directs your attention to key items in the room that you want to show off. For example, you may use accent lighting to highlight your favorite piece of artwork hanging on the wall.
3. Ambient lighting. Ambient lighting is different from the other two types of lighting in that it is designed to light the whole room. This is typically achieved by using an overhead hanging light.
The Correct Order for Selecting Your Light Fixtures
The biggest mistake that people make when choosing a room’s light fixtures is that they choose the ambient lighting first. The thinking here is that you want to take care of the biggest space first and then add to it. However, this thinking is backwards. Choosing your light fixtures this way typically ends up creating harsher light than what you want in your home. The correct order for choosing your light fixtures is:
Have you ever seen photos of celebrities in their homes? They always look stunning, don’t they? Of course, some of this has to do with their high-quality photographers, stylists and photo editing experts. But there’s often something more that helps famous people look great in their own houses. That something more is the lighting of the space.
The lighting in a room can make or break how well you look. Great lighting is flattering for the skin, sets the right mood and makes you look like you constantly have a casual glow as you go about your daily business. You don’t have to be a celebrity with an array of interior designers at your disposal to choose home lighting that flatters you. In fact, you merely need to follow a few basic rules to get the most flattering light for your home.
Rule #1: Avoid harsh overhead lighting.
The number one rule for making sure that the light in your home is flattering at all times is to avoid having harsh overhead lighting. You can make terrific statements with bold chandeliers and extravagant hanging pendant lights. However, it is only the fixtures that should be bold; the light coming from them should be soft. Use low-watt bulbs and dimmer switches to reduce the impact of this type of light.
Rule #2: Combine natural lighting and soft lighting with great light fixtures.
Secondly, you want to make sure that you have different types of soft light coming in to your home at all times. During the day this can be achieved by allowing natural light to filter in through transparent curtains. At night you can use the glow from a fireplace or candles to enhance the light that comes from your light fixtures. These natural and flickering light options help to set a great mood for your space while flattering your natural features.
Closets tend to get overlooked when it comes to planning effective lighting for the home. But poor lighting in a closet or dressing area can be just as bad as trying to get dressed in the dark. Good lighting, on the other hand, can make all the difference when it comes to leaving the house with socks that match each other and don’t clash with the rest of your outfit. Flattering lighting can also provide an ego boost as you stand in front of the dressing room mirror. Read on for some lighting guidelines that will help you avoid any wardrobe malfunctions.
The most effective method of lighting your clothes is with a strip of light mounted along the front edge of a shelf above the clothes rail and hidden behind a pelmet. Cool, white light that mimics daylight will do the best job of letting you see the true color of your clothes, helpful for anyone who has a habit of mistaking navy blue for black.
This method can be repeated above closet shelves to illuminate their contents. Small LED lights can also be placed at the top of shoe cubbies. These touches not only help you to better see what you’re doing while picking out an outfit, but also lend your closet the feel of a posh boutique.
In the past, we’ve taken a look at lighting for living rooms, kitchens, home offices and children’s rooms. Over the next few weeks, we’ll help you cast the rest of your house in its best light, beginning with entryways. Whether you have a roomy front porch leading into a spacious grand foyer, or a simple stoop leading into a corner of the front room where you’ve stashed a coat rack, your front entry creates your home’s first impression. The right lighting can help to ensure that that impression is a good one.
Outside: After dark, no matter how large or small your front entrance and the path leading up to it, safety is the first concern. Light any potential obstacles and provide enough light to make visitors feel secure as they approach your home (and to ward off those whose interest in your home is less than savory). Use eye-catching light fixtures to help guide visitors to your front door, and make sure your house number is well-lit. These steps will go a long way toward making guests feel welcome before they even set foot inside your home.
Illusion: Inside, use the lighting tricks we’ve discussed in previous posts to your full advantage to set the tone you would like visitors to carry with them throughout your home. If you feel your grand foyer is too spacious and daunting to new visitors, dimming the lights and directing lighting toward the floor will make the space feel smaller and more intimate. Read the rest of this entry »
A new year often brings new direction–not only personal resolutions, but also changes in social and economic thought that are reflected in home decor and lighting trends. That’s as true as ever in this new year, with continual advances in technology and energy efficiency making it easier than ever to go green with your lighting. Here are some growing lighting trends to watch for in 2010.
We mention various types of light fixtures all the time here at Lighting by Lux, but what do all the terms mean, exactly? In order to perfect your lighting plan, it’s essential to know the difference between different types of fixtures and the type of lighting they produce. Here is a quick and easy reference guide to the three main categories of light fixtures – portable, surface-mount and recessed – and the types of fixtures that fall under each category:
A Portable Fixture has a cord with a plug and can be easily moved from place to place. Portable fixtures include table lamps, floor lamps, torchieres (a floor lamp that projects light toward the ceiling), uplights (a small fixture that can be placed on the floor and concealed behind furniture), swags (hanging fixtures with a plug-in cord), adjustable accent lights, and external stake lights for your garden. These tend to be the most widely-used fixtures in residences, most likely because of their flexibility and ease-of-use, as well as because of their usefulness in providing both ambient and task lighting..
The term “surface-mounted” is fairly self-explanatory – these are fixtures that are permanently mounted to the wall, floor or ceiling (or some other surface outdoors), and require being hardwired into your electrical system. These include flush and semi-flush ceiling fixtures, pendants and chandeliers, wall sconces, porch lights and track lights. The problem with surface-mounted lighting is that, unless it is wired to a dimmer switch, it is often too bright to serve as ambient lighting, and it usually casts too many shadows to serve well as task lighting. For this reason, surface-mounted fixtures are often decorative and should almost never be relied on as a sole source of illumination in your room’s lighting plan.
Recessed fixtures, like surface-mounted, are hardwired into the home’s electrical system, and are sunken beneath the surface of the floor or ceiling. Since their installation involves cutting, drilling and wiring, they are usually only added to a home during either new construction or a remodeling project. The type of recessed fixture you choose depends on which your home is undergoing, as fixture housing is designed for either one or the other. If you are in a position to install recessed lighting, be sure your design places them where they are easy to get to for maintenance purposes. They won’t do you much good once they burn out if access is too difficult to be worth the trouble.
Knowing the right terms should make both planning and shopping for the right light fixture much easier. Of course, the best lighting plans integrate combinations from all three categories to provide functional, flexible lighting in any room.
The phrase “mood lighting” may call to mind romantic candlelight and a cozy fire flickering in the hearth, but really, almost all types of lighting have an impact on our moods. Using general ambient lighting to brighten a room on a cloudy day can contribute to a positive mood, just as dimming the lights in the evening can help us wind down and relax. Festive lighting can contribute to a party spirit, and utilitarian task lighting can help put us in the mood to get work done.
The keys to successful mood lighting are flexibility and control. Adding lighting in layers, utilizing three-way lamps, installing dimmer switches and having separate controls for all of your lighting sources are effective ways to achieve both. Think beyond the dimmer switch if you plan to use energy efficient lighting. While a dimmer can change the color temperature of an incandescent bulb, all it can do to an LED or CFL bulb is reduce the output. A cooler light, when dimmed, can cast light that’s as gray and depressing as a cloudy day. Opt for a warmer bulb in lighting fixtures that you plan to dim after dark.
Be selective about which lighting layers you use to create mood. Having every light on at once, at the same intensity, is not only unattractive, but also an energy drain. Try combining layers at different levels and combinations to achieve the right atmosphere. When daylight is dominant, leave accent lighting turned off, since it won’t be seen at its full impact. At dusk, turning just the ambient layer up to its highest intensity can extend the feeling of daylight and help our eyes transition from natural to artificial lighting. After the sun sets, turning down the ambient light and turning up the accent layer can create a warm, relaxed atmosphere that’s perfect for transitioning to bedtime.
More dramatic moods can be achieved by manipulating the contrast between light and shadow. Something as simple as switching from uplighting to downlighting can have a major impact on the look and feel of a room just by changing the shadows. Combinations of light add more drama and interest than uniform lighting – consider a hallway lit with narrow-beamed recessed downlights, creating pools of light that lead to a dramatically backlit object at the end of the hall.
Backlighting a sculpture or a patterned screen has a dramatically different effect than lighting it from the front, while front-lighting an interestingly shaped object casts interesting shadows on the wall behind it. The key to dramatic lighting is to downplay the ambient lighting and play up accent lights – and to not be afraid to play with shadow and contrast.
Last week we showed you that lighting can be used to create interest and add space to a room. This week, we bring you some how-to tips to add definition and accentuate the details of your homes interior.
In homes with architectural details such as molding, columns, archways, built-in bookshelves or display nooks, light can highlight these features and bring out the character of your home. Uplighting is usually best for this. Use a low-glare, narrow-beam halogen or warm white LED light with a 10-degree spread. The source should be set deep into the floor or otherwise concealed to prevent glare and keep the fixture itself from drawing attention. It should also be set close to the feature so it casts a pattern of light and shadow over horizontal elements. Try this uplighting effect on either side of your fireplace to create a warm glow and add emphasis even when the fire isn’t lit.
In more contemporary homes without a lot of architectural detail, something as simple as a wash of light over a wall to bring out texture or highlight flaws in a smooth surface can add interest provide your home with its own character. Create this effect with a white xenon recessed downlight or a concealed LED strip located close and shining down over the wall. For a more even wash over the entire wall, rather than emphasizing the top, try a recessed directional downlight located further out from the wall with a frosted lens to dilute and soften the effect. A wash can also be achieved with a series of uplights on the floor, positioned close to the wall and grazing the surface with light.
No matter what type of home you have, lighting staircases, bookshelves and niches or recesses is a great way to bring dead space to life while adding accent lighting and elevating a room’s impact. On staircases, set recessed uplights into each step to create a low-level wash of light going up the front of the stairs, and also along the floorboards on the underside of the staircase to widen and enliven the space. For display nooks and bookcases, install undercabinet lights to highlight objects from above, or try mini surface-mounted lights to accentuate displays by either spotlighting them from the front, or mount them behind objects to cast them in silhouette. Linear shelf lights, flexible picture lights, and colored string lights are also useful tools for illuminating these areas and highlighting objects displayed within.
By now you should be getting a picture of the versatility of light and the many ways it can be used not just to illuminate, but also to enhance your décor. Next week we’ll broaden the picture by looking at even more ways light can be used to create contrast and drama.