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 »

Jun 192013
 

Pendant 200x300 How To Get More Out Of Your Recessed Cans
It’s hard to brighten a room with minimal overhead lighting, but it’s not impossible.

The easiest way to get more light, and enhance the impact of your recessed cans is to convert them into hanging lights, or pendants.

So how can you make this happen?

First, choose your pendant lights based on where they’ll hang in your space. If you’re going to put them over a counter, kitchen island, or table, you can choose ones that will hang slightly lower. This will provide brighter task lighting without getting in the way. If you plan to install them in hallways or open areas, pick lights that will hang very close to the ceiling so they don’t eat up your headroom.

To install the pendant lights in your recessed cans, you’ll need the following:

  • Recessed light converter kit
  • Small vanity plate to cover the old recessed hole in your ceiling
  • Screwdriver
  • Painter’s tape
  • Ladder
  • Circuit tester

Before you begin, make sure your city doesn’t have any codes requiring a licensed electrician to perform the conversion. Continue reading »

Jun 142013
 

Step lighting can take any staircase from dangerous and dull to safe and stunning. Whether you’re lighting stairs in the foyer or the basement, up to the porch or down to the patio, step lights add that perfect finishing touch.

If you’re thinking of adding stair lighting to any set of steps in your home, you may wonder what kind will look the best. For this blog post, I’ve pulled together 8 of my favorite step lighting photos that illustrate just how many ways you can use these handy light fixtures.

In the end, I’m sure you’ll agree that these are stairs worth staring at:

1. Shrouded Brick Step Lights

LED Step Lights At Home 8 Ways To Use Step Lights (Photo Inspiration)

These warm LED lights create the perfect atmosphere for breezy summer evenings on the porch.

2. LED Step Lights With Lenses

LED Step Lights Indoors 8 Ways To Use Step Lights (Photo Inspiration)

These sleek staircase lights add a beautiful layer of light to this basement, while also acting as safety lighting. Continue reading »

Jun 072013
 
Basement Drop Ceilings 300x225 How To Install Recessed Lights In A Drop Ceiling

Image via BasmentDropCeilings.com

A drop ceiling is a very common feature in offices, basements, theaters, and schools. It’s made from a metal grid and “tiles” or “panels” hung below the structural ceiling. Also known as a secondary ceiling, suspended ceiling, T-bar ceiling, or false ceiling, it most often conceals air ducts or pipes for a clean look in a previously unfinished area. Often, these ceilings feature recessed can lights – a sleek option to illuminate a space without diminishing any headroom.

Whether you’re building a brand new drop ceiling complete with recessed cans, or adding them to an existing ceiling, you’ll need to accommodate some special electrical and structural needs with your installation.

Follow these steps to add recessed lights to your drop ceiling:

1. Find the right lights.

Heat is your biggest concern when choosing recessed lights for your ceiling. If a light generates too much heat, especially around plastic surfaced or fiberglass panels, it can create a fire hazard. LED recessed light fixtures run cooler than other light sources, so they’re generally your best option. You should also choose lights with adjustable mounting arms, or heavy duty clips that can attach to support wires or bars above the ceiling.

2. Layout your lights.

Use graph paper to make a scale drawing of your room, so you can plan where each light should go. You should space them out according to your ceiling height, any focal points that you want to add, and how bright you want your room’s ambient light to be. For more detailed advice on how to layout your recessed lights, check out this blog post: How To Layout Recessed Lighting in 4 Easy Steps.

3. Establish supports.

Drop ceilings are too delicate to support the weight of recessed lights on their own. Also, as your structure settles and shifts, the drop ceiling will move. Install extra wire supports over the tile to help hold the lights – one wire for each of the four corners of the tile. Using support bars or blocks with an additional frame that rests on the ceiling grid will work too. Make sure you can mount the light so it’s flush with the face of the tile. For more info on using wire supports, check out this article from eHow. For more on support bars and frames, read this article from Armstrong World Industries. Continue reading »

Jun 052013
 

Today’s infographic breaks down the essential facts about energy efficiency. It explains why energy efficiency is so important, and goes into detail about how wasting energy can harm the environment. Then, after convincing you that conserving power is a good idea, it offers a comprehensive guide to help you start saving more energy at home, assessing the efficacy of your appliances, insulation, and of course, your lighting.

I especially like this infographic for the Incandescent/CFL/LED comparison chart at the very bottom. Good stuff!

Save The World By Saving Energy Infographic infographicsmania A Guide To Energy Efficiency [Infographic]

Continue reading »

May 202013
 

rope light coil 300x300 How To Use Outdoor Rope Lights
Summer is just around the corner. If you’re one who enjoys long nights under the stars, you’re probably already thinking of way to spice up your deck, patio, or yard for the season.

To add a little no-fuss accent light to your space, you may want to try a few strings of LED outdoor rope lights. They’re flexible and weatherproof, and they come in 6 different lengths and 2 different color temperatures.

Here are some of the many ways you can use rope lights to liven up your yard for summer:

  • Highlight a deck or porch by wrapping lights around the handrail.
rope lights around handrail via Apartment Therapy How To Use Outdoor Rope Lights

Image via ApartmentTherapy.com

  • Use rope lights for safety, lining steps and garden pathways with the bright LEDs. Continue reading »
May 132013
 

step lights 300x199 How To Use Step Lights In Indoor Spaces
For a little more impact in a home’s foyer, or a little more safety in a dark basement, step lighting can help.

This blog post will help you learn how to light an indoor staircase, what lights you should choose for your project and how to install them.

Let’s get started!

First, decide where you want your lights to go…

On the step.

For a subtle accent on each step, you can install recessed lights within the riser (vertical) or the tread (horizontal) portion of the step. Your stairs will get a little more impact, but the lights won’t alter the overall brightness of the room very much. Tread lighting will give steps a runway-like appeal, while riser lighting will typically illuminate the center region of the stairs. If you choose to install your lights here, you’ll need to cut portions of the steps to set and hardwire the lights. We recommend you consult with a professional electrician before setting off to work.

Beside the step.

Another popular step lighting option that adds a little more brightness to the room’s overall light level is wall lighting. Here, you would install your step lights on the wall right next to your staircase, so the lights would cast beams directly down onto the step. Since you don’t have to worry about mounting these lights on the surface of the step, you have a little more artistic freedom – the lights don’t have to be flush with the wall, and they can be a little flashier if you choose. We recommend installing 1 light every 3 steps or so, but you can play with this number depending on how bright you want your staircase to be. Continue reading »

May 102013
 

Edge LitLEDEXITSign1 Prepare Your Emergency Plans! Check Those Exit Sign Batteries

My lights have already gone out once this spring, thanks to a lovely, unexpected North Carolina thunderstorm. Lucky for me, I live in an apartment with small rooms and large windows. During the day, electric lights don’t make that much of a difference.

However, if you’re charged managing a large shopping mall, school, theater, or office, your power outage protocol isn’t nearly as simple.

When the lights go out, it’s up to you to ensure the people’s safety.

Are you prepared?

Most importantly, you’ve got to maintain functional exit signs, because they might be the only thing during an outage that stands between order and panic. When the power goes out, your lighted exit signs will too, unless they have functional backup batteries.

We suggest you make it a goal to inspect the exit sign batteries around your establishment at least once every three months. Most exit signs have convenient “push to test buttons” that let you do this in a matter of seconds.

What if the battery isn’t working? Continue reading »

Apr 092013
 

Bookshelf lighting 220x300 How To Make Your Museum Lighting More Energy Efficient
We’re teaching how to go green and save energy with the lights in every space we can think of!

The right lighting is essential for any museum. Each exhibit needs a lighting scheme that will preserve the artistic, historical, or scientific integrity of the articles on display. And it just has to look good too.

If you’ve already landed on a lighting scheme that works for your museum, you’re probably apprehensive to change it, even if you could save money.

Good news: Upgrading your museum lighting is easier than you might think. There are a ton of small, barely noticeable changes you can make to your museum lighting that will save you energy. Also, newer energy-efficient lighting options may actually provide more versatile, higher quality light for your displays.

Let’s get started, shall we?

Small Changes:  

1. Guide Lights

If you have dark areas in your museum – night simulations or moody displays – you’ll always need small guide lights to keep your visitors safe and comfortable. These are things like step lights along staircases and rope lights along pathways or handrails. These lights will never add to or take away from the integrity of your display. They’re just there. So why not save a little energy with them?

The most energy-efficient step lights and guide lights you can find on the market are probably LEDs. They’ll last much longer than older incandescent lights and most fluorescent lights, and they’ll produce the same brightness while only using a fraction of the energy.

2. Exit Signs

Exit signs are necessary features in any museum, but it’s not necessary that you use a lot of energy to operate them. A good LED exit sign only costs $2 to operate every year. Compare that to the $39 it costs to run a single incandescent exit sign. The LED will pay for itself within a year!

If you’re even more ambitious about saving energy, you can opt for photoluminescent exit signs. They’re made with a special material that absorbs ambient light and emits it when the lights go dark. No maintenance or electricity required. Continue reading »

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