Aug 192013
 

Wall Sconce 300x224 Good Lighting & Bright Lighting Are Not The Same Thing.When you think of a room with good lighting, what picture comes to mind? Does your room have skylights or giant windows? How about recessed cans or a constellation of pendants? What is the color temperature?

Bright, alone, doesn’t cut it.

There are a lot of different ways to light a room so it’s stylish and functional, comfortable and versatile. It just takes planning. Use these guidelines to get started:

  • Good lighting can change in a second. A well-lit room isn’t necessarily visible from space. You need different light levels for different tasks. Adjustable “layers” of different lights and dimmer switches will let you enjoy the room in more ways.
  • Good lighting embraces shadow. Large shadows along the walls and ceiling can turn a room into a dungeon. However, the right combination of light and shadow can help sculpt a room, giving it more character and atmosphere. Don’t be afraid of shadows that accentuate interesting textures or architecture in your space.
  • Good lighting isn’t distracting. Some lights shine right in your eyes. Some lights have ugly color temperatures. Some lights hum. Some lights heat up your whole room. When installing yours, make sure they’re not this obnoxious. Continue reading »
Aug 122013
 

As much as some good task lighting and a ceiling full of recessed cans will make a room come alive, there’s nothing like airy, natural light. You can change your home’s color, its style, and even its structure, but when it comes to the amount of sun you get, you can rarely change much. How much natural light you home receives depends on so many different factors both in and outside of your house – the direction your home faces, the topography and structures around, the number of windows you have – these can be costly or just impossible to fix.

So, when you’re on the market for a new house, be sure to consider the lighting potential of any dwelling – lest you end up with a dungeon, or an oven.

Here are some questions to keep in mind when scoping out a new property:

1. Which way does the house face?

Normally, south-facing homes get sun at the front of the house, and for most of the day. They tend to be brighter and warmer. A house that faces north gets light at the back and is cooler and darker. This may be especially important to note depending on your climate. When it’s cool most of the year, you may want a house that’s naturally a little warmer, if it’s warm for most of the year, you may prefer a house that doesn’t make you cook.

Also be sure to take a look around your property and note what could potentially affect your light. Does your house face an open field, or another row of houses? Are you at the base of a hill that will cast a shadow for most of the day, or at the top, almost always exposed to sunlight? These factors will influence the brightness in your home, and also the temperature.

bigstock modern house in the night 15661763 Seeing the Light: How Much Sun Will Your New House Get?

2. How and when will you use the rooms? Continue reading »

Aug 052013
 

So, your living space isn’t exactly Versailles. Even if the ceilings are low, windows are few and far between, and architecture leaves much to be desired, you can still transform your home into a bright, artful, and interesting space.

Just look to the light.

No matter how boring or boxy a room might be, lighting can always give it color, texture, and form. Here are some ways you can use lighting to turn a drab space into something really special:

1. Wash a wall with light.

Wall washing is a lighting technique that can add beauty and visual interest almost anywhere – it uses recessed cans with wall wash trims to evenly illuminate walls. This technique will call attention to texture on your walls, and will perfectly highlight wall hangings. Wall washing is especially helpful for smaller rooms – by emphasizing the vertical surfaces, your space will appear to expand. Check out this article to learn the details.

Stock Photo Wall Washing How To Save A Boring Room (With Light!)

2. Get creative with accent lighting.

If your room is literally just a box, accent lighting will save you from the design doldrums. First, make sure you have light coming from different angles throughout your room – downlights, floor lamps, cabinet lights, desk lamps – this will give a boring, flat room more depth and dimension. Next, use accent lights to play up interesting objects in your room. For instance, a puck light used to highlight a small sculpture on your shelf can really play up the angles. Finally, consider colored accent lights for a surprising, unconventional impact.

Blue Indirect Lighting in a Kitchen 646 How To Save A Boring Room (With Light!)

Continue reading »

Jul 262013
 

A wine cellar is more than just a place to stack and store your bottles. It’s about drama, hospitality, and convenience. The lights you choose to use in your wine cellar play a huge role in creating the right ambiance.

Here are a few ways you can use lighting to create the perfect wine cellar:

1. Low-heat light sources.

Incandescent and halogen light bulbs give off far too much heat to be used close to wine. Heat can easily damage your precious collection, so stick to the light sources that stay relatively cooler, like LEDs.

Rope Lights In Wine Cellar 6 Ways To Light A Wine Cellar

2. Ceiling lights.

If you have floor-to-ceiling shelving to store your wine, you may want to illuminate them with LED downlights. You can install them on your ceiling with special wall washing trims to highlight the angles of your wine racks. Track lighting works great for this too. For more on wall washing, check out this article. You can also put these lights on a dimmer switch to control the light level in the room for different occasions. Continue reading »

Jul 222013
 

Comfort and convenience – these should be your two main goals when creating a nursery lighting scheme. Babies are extra-sensitive to harsh lighting, so you should use lights that are gentle and calming to their young eyes. However, you still need enough light to perform necessary tasks quickly and easily.

Just follow these 5 lighting rules, and your nursery will be in ship-shape and ready for baby in no time:

1. Choose soft ceiling lights.

HGTV nursery 5 Tips For Great Nursery Lighting

Image via HGTV.com

You never want bright, severe ceiling lights shining down into your baby’s eyes. Ideally, your overhead lighting should be shielded or diffused with a shade or cover. Hanging lights like pendants or chandeliers are probably your best choice for ambient lighting. If you have recessed lights or track lighting in your nursery, make sure none shine directly on the crib. Continue reading »

Jul 122013
 

LED Mini Guide Lights 300x195 Practical Magic: How To Have Great Lighting In The Kids RoomLighting is perhaps the only design element that lets you change the look and mood of a room instantly. When that room belongs to your child, variation is even more important. The right lighting can be warm and comforting, creative and energetic, and above all – able to keep up with your children’s many needs. It can help soothe them to sleep, wake them up in the morning, and encourage critical thinking and self expression during the day.

Here are a few elements that add a little practical magic to the kids’ bedroom:

1. Night Lights

I’d say safety and sleep are the first two things to address when lighting a child’s bedroom. How to help your child sleep through the night, and how to help him navigate in the dark without mishaps. A night light can solve both these issues. (No wonder it’s a bedroom classic!) Of course, you can go with the standard plug-in variety, or you can use battery operated guide lights to add light where your child needs it most.

Night Light and Child Practical Magic: How To Have Great Lighting In The Kids Room

I love the idea of a halo of soft mini guide lights around a headboard to comfort a child at night, or a bedside guide light she can use to reach the bathroom safely in the dark. Continue reading »

Jul 032013
 

We like to talk at length about the importance of long lasting lights. But, there’s one day when all of that flies out the window (or up into the sky, as it is). The fleeting light from fireworks on the Fourth of July can be among the most dazzling and memorable lights you’ll ever see.

Since July 4th is tomorrow, I’m dedicating this blog post to some of the most amazing light shows in the U.S.

Fair St. Louis at the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, MO:

fairsaintlouis org 10 Spectacular Fireworks Shows For July 4th

Image via FairSaintLouis.org

Kaboom Town in Addison, TX:

Addison TravelChannel com 10 Spectacular Fireworks Shows For July 4th

Image via TravelChannel.com

Continue reading »

Jun 172013
 

stock photo outdoor space vertical The 5 Rules of Outdoor Universal Lighting Design
Every space you inhabit should be safe and welcoming.

If you’re a designer, or if you live with a person who has special needs due to age, you’re probably familiar with universal design. It’s all about making a living space accessible to everyone. Universal lighting design specifically uses light to make these improvements and accommodations possible.

Most often, you hear about universal lighting design for task areas in kitchens and bathrooms, but it’s also a very important concept for the exteriors of homes and buildings.

When night falls, universally designed exterior lighting ensures a smooth transition between inside and out. It keeps porches, patios, steps, and walkways always inviting.

Use these rules to create an outdoor environment that is safer for everyone.

1. Create a visual destination.

Aging eyes need more light to distinguish detail. So, when an elderly person navigates in the dark, he needs the light to clearly indicate where he should go. All the lights should converge on, or point to a single destination, usually the front door or entrance. This spot is the brightest spot on the property.

bigstock Contemporary grand entrance 6548309 The 5 Rules of Outdoor Universal Lighting Design

2. Clearly define outdoor “zones.” Continue reading »

May 172013
 

Here’s a daring alternative to normal kitchen lighting: Instead of traditional accent lights that only emit white light, use kitchen lights that can change color.

Color-changing LED tape lights have the perfect linear, low-profile design to be great under cabinet lights, toe-kick lights, or cove lighting. But instead of shining with just white light, they can emit light in 16 different colors. Imagine, being able to change the entire look and feel of your kitchen in seconds. You can tailor the space to any occasion, from family game nights to big holiday parties, from early morning baking frenzies to a couple’s night in.

Can you pull off this dramatic feature in your kitchen? To help you find out, I’ve whipped up a few different “color recipes” explaining how each color can transform it into something new.

Green: Get Energized At Your Tranquil Health Club

Comfortable Home Design Green Over Cabinet Lights The Magic Of Color Changing Kitchen Lights

Image via ComfortableHomeDesign.com

Green is a clean, comforting color. Physiologically, green can be good for your heart, it can help you relax your muscles and breathe deeper and slower. Set your lights to an emerald hue for the afternoon, and suddenly, you’ll feel in just the right mood to have a cool glass of water and a piece of fruit. It’s the perfect scheme to use after a long workout or spending time outdoors too. Continue reading »

May 082013
 

 

Taking your kitchen from dim and dull to bright and beautiful is no small task. While experts agree lighting is one of the most important design features in any room, it might not be so easy to create your perfect kitchen lighting scheme flying solo.

A stylish, functional kitchen needs to have overhead/ambient lighting, accent lighting, and of course task or under cabinet lights.

If you’re still in the dark about what lighting scheme will work best in your kitchen, check out these 11 amazing photos for a little inspiration:

1. Microfluorescent Under Cabinet Lights

Microfluorescent Under Cabinets and Over Sink 11 Beautiful Photos Of Under Cabinet Lighting

 The microfluorescent fixtures under the cabinets in this kitchen provide bright white light, adding to the space’s ultramodern feel.

2. LED Puck Lights

Puck Lights In Kitchen 11 Beautiful Photos Of Under Cabinet Lighting

These bright LED puck lights add pops of much needed illumination in the main work areas of this contemporary white kitchen. To find out how many puck lights you need in your kitchen, check out this helpful article.

3. LED Motion Sensor Lights

Motion Sensor Under Cabinet Lights 11 Beautiful Photos Of Under Cabinet Lighting

If you prefer your task lighting quick, easy, and automatic, battery operated LED motion sensing lights will turn on only when you need them.  Continue reading »

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