Jan 202015
 

how to use light to make a small space look big
An increasing number of people are moving towards smaller living. Smaller ecological footprint, smaller spending … smaller home. Whether your reasons for living small are by choice or by necessity, strategically placed lighting can create the illusion of a larger space.

If your room looks more like a closet than a family room, here are a few ways to make the space seem larger without the hassle and expense of a major construction overhaul…

Recessed Lights — In a small room where floor space can be a precious commodity, floor lamps probably won’t make the cut. Large light fixtures hanging from the ceiling can break up the room and make it seem smaller – an advantage in open living areas, but quite the opposite in an already tight space. Low-profile recessed lights solve this problem by creating a clean line of sight that can shine bright for tasks or be dimmed for a family movie night.

Track Lights — Track lights take up much less visual space than traditional fixtures, but can still make a decorative statement in the home. Each individual light on the track can be adjusted to bounce off of walls and ceilings, or lighten up a shadowed corner. When you combine the flexibility of track lighting with the low profile of recessed lighting, every corner of a room is brightly lit without compromising space or style.



Natural Light Sources — Capitalize on every bit of natural light by keeping windows as exposed as possible. Heavy drapes and dark curtains can take away from this valuable light source. Skylights are a wonderful solution to a poorly lit space, but are substantially more expensive when you start involving structural work. A more cost-effective alternative are solar light tubes, sometimes called sun tunnels. The metal tubes capture light at the roof and reflect it into the home. Look at the difference they make in this entryway:



Colors & Accessories — After you’ve put your perfect lighting strategy into place, expand on it with bright colors and artfully placed accessories. A large, strategically positioned mirror makes the space seem wider and longer, and reflects light back into the room. When considering paint choices, Freshome recommends using light blues, greens, light grays and neutrals to create a bright and airy feel.

Putting it all together – Whether your layout is cozy or expansive, having a strategic lighting plan is a crucial part of home design, and coming up with the right one can be daunting. Here are 5 super-helpful resources that can guide you through your lighting project:

Dec 112014
 

holiday mantles that shine

Whether shimmering, sparkling or softly glowing, incorporating light into your holiday mantle design is an instant way to add glitz. We have collected some gorgeous examples from Houzz designers where light played a role in creative holiday mantle decor, as well as simple ideas to make your mantle shine.

Quick tips for designing your holiday mantle:

  • Think outside the box (er, mantle) — If you don’t have a fireplace or mantle in your home, recreate the look easily and with just as much glamour using a large shelf or entry table.
  • Go outside! — A quick trip to the back yard can reap huge rewards for your holiday decor. Branches, twigs, holly and pinecones add to a rustic look.
  • Borrow baubles from the tree —  Extend your current theme by taking a handful of ornaments from the tree and scattering them throughout your design.
  • Get crafty – You’d be amazed at what a can of silver or gold spray paint and some glitter will do to make the mantle sparkle.
  • Add light! — Candles, string lights or just the simple glow from the fireplace are the finishing touches that can take your design from “Meh” to “Marvelous.”

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Dec 052014
 

Christmas, Hanukkah, Valentine’s Day, Independence Day and even Halloween … No holiday is immune to the spell of twinkling of lights. Since July 2009, we’ve written over 600 blog posts. It comes as no surprise that a large majority of them have centered around a holiday. If you are one of the many folks hauling out holiday lights this weekend, you’ll appreciate this round-up of 6 Popular Holiday Lighting How-To Blog Posts that we’ve accumulated throughout the years.

1. Holiday Lighting Guide

Get out your notepads because we’re building a strategy in this 2013 blog post with loads of tips on creating the ultimate holiday lighting plan.

holiday lighting guide
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Nov 132014
 

holiday to doHoliday menu planned? Check.
Christmas tree decorated? Check.
Cards mailed? Check.
Gifts wrapped? Check.

We painstakingly coordinate our holiday, fretting down to the last perfectly placed candy cane as we eagerly await the deluge of family and friends that rotate in and out of our home from mid November through the New Year. What we don’t always plan for is the unwelcome guest — the Thief.

Criminals love the holidays. Christmas trees are lit up like beacons that scream: “Hey! Bad guy! The expensive stuff is here, right under this huge window for easy access!”

Even worse is the absence of any light. If your house sits in the dark on a street full of twinkling lawn ornaments, it sends a clear message: “Hi, Mr. Thug? My house is pitch black because I’m out of town visiting the in-laws. But you already know this because you saw my teenager’s social post that we’d be 2,000 miles away for the next 4 days, right? Awesome.” Continue reading »

Nov 052014
 

using your tablet in bed bad idea

The conclusion of Daylight Saving time this past weekend means the night comes a little earlier. Logic may tell you that the longer and darker evenings will make falling asleep easier. However, even though the nights are longer we are also using smartphones, tablets and HDTV’s more and more in the 21st Century, particularly at night. Some scientists believe that Mr. Sandman has a new nemesis – the little blue light in all of these new-fangled devices.

What It Is

Naturally occurring blue light, a short wavelength in the light spectrum, is abundant in sunshine and hugely beneficial during the day when the majority of people need to be awake and alert. It’s been said to boost mood and increase attention span by stimulating sensors in the eye that then send signals to our internal clock. It also suppresses melatonin — a hormone produced by humans that helps regulate sleep-wake cycles — more than any other light wave. In fact, blue light is so efficient at suppressing melatonin that it’s often used to treat seasonal sleep disorders by mimicking the naturally occurring light of the sun. Here is where the problem surfaces — modern devices like high definition televisions, smartphones and tablets are massive producers of blue light. This blue light wreaks havoc on our circadian rhythms — our internal “body clock” that regulates 24-hour cycles, approximately — by basically tricking our brains into thinking it’s still daytime. Continue reading »

Oct 092014
 

It’s Zombie season! Halloween decor is already beginning to line the streets with witches, ghosts, monsters …. and ZOMBIES. And with the season premier of The Walking Dead looming on the horizon (a mere 3 days away), I’m all aflutter with the living dead.

Nobody wants to be caught in the dark with a drooling, moaning, rotting Zombie hoard, am I right? Take note fellow survivors, we’ve compiled a list of 9 must-have zombie-apocalypse light sources.

1. Solar and Battery-Operated Lights

Powered by the energy of the sun, you’ll never have to make a dangerous trip into the city to get more batteries with Solar LED spotlights. If you prefer the adrenaline rush of city trips, you may want to position battery-operated motion-sensor spotlights around your campsite to alert you to any sneaky Zombies.  Take them with you when you’re doing late night reconnaissance.  Doomsday Tip: Make sure there is an off-switch. Nothing worse than trying to douse your light with a zombie on your trail.

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Oct 022014
 

diverse design options for lightingI’m reminded of a book that I once read to my children called “It’s OK to Be Different” by Todd Parr. In this colorful board book, the author takes us through a series of scenarios that often plague young and old alike. “It’s okay to be shy,” and “It’s okay to make mistakes,” he writes.  And though (understandably) he didn’t have a page dedicated to lighting, the message remains the same.  Read on for tips on how to successfully merge different layouts, styles & moods in lighting design, and when it really is “OK to be different.” Continue reading »

Aug 052014
 

It’s incredible the way lighting can change outdoor spaces. As is the case with indoor spaces, spending comparatively little on lighting can produce dramatic results. A DIY outdoor lighting project might be just the thing to make you fall in love with your home all over again. But before you begin an outdoor lighting project, it’s important to think about your options. Here are 10 tips for 10 approaches to outdoor lighting.

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Jul 182014
 

New Room

If you’re thinking about a home remodel or new home project, then you have some serious decision making to do regarding your ceiling lights. Some people don’t realize this, but few things make as big an impact on how your space looks and feels than lighting, especially ceiling lights. And there are many different types of ceiling lights. You might start out wanting recessed ceiling lights, and, despite other choices like flush mount, semi flush mount, or track lighting, etc, you might end up STILL wanting recessed lights. But have you given thought to what size pot lights? Low voltage or line voltage? Square trim, round trim, or no trim at all? What about finish? Plain old white, or maybe brushed nickel? It doesn’t have to be overwhelming. In fact, asking five questions will make the process much simpler. So before you swipe that debit card, check out what’s below.

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