Oct 182012

Stringing lights onto your Christmas tree can be a major nightmare. I mean, people have written songs about how terrible it is. Before the stress of the season takes over, check out our latest guest post from holiday expert Linda Knighton. These simple tips for lighting your artificial Christmas tree will help keep peace on earth throughout your holiday preparation.

If you’re new to owning an artificial Christmas tree, you may discover that it’s a little different to decorate. Although it generally takes more time to put light strands on an artificial Christmas tree, the benefit is that once you’ve placed them on the branches, you won’t have to remove them again. Below are some ideas for selecting the right lights for your Christmas tree, and some tips on how to decorate with them.

  • Use 50-foot light strands. According to Better Homes and Gardens, these lights are less likely to have electrical problems or burn out. If you want subdued lighting, Better Homes’ website suggests 12 boxes of 50-foot light strands for a 6-foot tree, or 20 boxes for an 8-foot tree. If you prefer a brighter look, use 20 boxes for a 6-foot tree or 30 boxes for an 8-foot tree.
  • Check the Christmas lights before you start putting them on the tree. Make sure all the strands are untangled and that none of the light bulbs are loose. Plug each into an electrical socket to ensure that they work and that none of the bulbs are burnt out. Continue reading »
 Posted by on October 18, 2012 at 10:11 am
Sep 172012
Motion Sensor Security

“Get Smart” 2008, The Laser Hallway, Courtesy of Eden FX and AWN.com

You know the story. There’s a jewel robbery happening. After intense planning, the thief infiltrates the museum, probably through an air conditioning vent. When he drops down into the main room he’s still got to navigate the motion sensing security system, slinking under, over, and between beams of light. Perhaps he makes it through, and puts the biggest diamond you’ve ever seen in a shabby sack, ready to make the getaway. Suddenly, he slips, or drops the bag, and activates the sensor by a thread. Foiled! The bad guys get caught and the museum keeps their precious jewel.

While you may not have any multi-million dollar rocks in need of serious protection, motion sensor lights can help you in a ton of different ways. They’re convenient, safe, and will save energy.

Unlike the classic museum sensors that use light to detect motion, most motion sensor lights use PIR (passive infrared) or pyroelectric sensors. These systems detect rapid changes in infrared energy, and thus can turn on the lights when people, animals, or cars approach.

While having every light you own set on a motion sensor might not be a good idea (I foresee superfluous arm waving), select motion-controlled lights can be an invaluable addition to your home or office. Here are a few ways to use them:

  1. Motion detecting step lightOutdoor Lights: If you find yourself stumbling up the front steps with grocery bags after dark, installing a motion sensor spotlight or a few step lights could make the difference between getting inside safely and taking a dangerous spill. Putting flood lights on a sensor will also make navigating your yard and driveway more secure, helping you see and deterring any intruders.
  2. Night Lights: Opting for a motion detector night light will help you save energy – only turning the light on when you need it. If you wake up in the night for a snack or a trip to the bathroom, these lights are also one of the gentlest ways to help yourself see – you don’t get blasted with the full lumens of your overhead light source, and you don’t even have to think about flipping a switch. Continue reading »
 Posted by on September 17, 2012 at 1:38 pm
Aug 222012

A House Lit up at Night

Today we have a guest post from Jillian Watkinson of Community Home Supply, a family-owned Chicago kitchen and bathroom showroom. Jillian’s post gives us some tips for improving the look of your home’s yard with strategically placed outdoor lighting.

Regardless of what your backyard looks like, how big it is or what landscape style it’s been built to, the addition of decorative dynamic lighting arrangements in strategic places is guaranteed to improve your yard’s look immensely. Placing lights around your property in certain patterns is not difficult or expensive and can turn even an ordinary yard into a nighttime wonder.

Take a look at the following tips and maybe use some of them to liven up your garden space with dynamic light arrangements.

What are Your Existing Yard Features?

As a first step towards setting out your lighting arrangements, take a good look at your front yard, back yard and any walkways you have to decide where lights could be placed for maximum effect. For example, if you have a walkway in your front yard and a large stone or wood patio in your back, you might want to think about surrounding their edges with small decorative lights in order to accent their presence and shape.

The idea here is to notice the features against which lighting would look best and make them stand out while muting other parts of your yard that would be better off more hidden in the dark. Continue reading »

 Posted by on August 22, 2012 at 10:00 am
Aug 202012

If you don’t know about LifeHacker.com, it’s a website about shortcuts to make your life easier. The site offers tons of articles about smart and handy tips and tricks for getting things done and solving annoying, everyday problems.

Below are just a few ideas from LifeHacker about lighting. Some are “hacks” about creating simple-yet-innovative light fixtures, and others use light to avoid common problems:

1. Use Rope or Tape Lights Under Cabinets to Prevent Toe Stubbing

This hack is pretty straightforward – all you need is a rope light, or some handy adhesive tape lights. You can cut them to the perfect length to run along the bottom of the cabinets in your kitchen or bathroom close to the floor. Wire them to a switch, and then when you get up for a late night snack, or trip to the bathroom, you’ll never stub your toe again. (They also add a really attractive layer of light.)

Rope Lights Under Cabinets

Courtesy of LifeHacker.com

Continue reading »

Jul 312012

Outdoor Security Lighting for a Home

A simple and relatively inexpensive way to protect your home from unwanted intruders is to install security lighting outside your home and to use timers to turn lights on and off inside your home. Thanks to Allen from YourLocalSecurity.com, an ADT authorized dealer, for this guest post with five easy tips to protect your home.

Lighting is a homeowner’s best friend when it comes to protecting home and property. Burglars love the darkness and feed on creeping around in the shadows. A poorly lit home reads like an invitation for them to commit a robbery. There is no such thing as having too much lighting inside and outside your home.

There are plenty of ways to get the most out of your interior and exterior lighting so you can turn your home into a secure environment for you and your family. Consider these lighting tips to discourage burglars from targeting your home:

1. Install motion sensors

Nothing startles a burglar and stops them dead in their tracks better than an exterior light suddenly flipping on as they are snooping around. When you install exterior lighting that operates on motion sensors, it gives the appearance that someone is home – even when no one is there.

Burglars canvas neighborhoods over a period of several days while they search for houses that are in the dark. Lights operating on motion sensors will encourage them to move on from your residence and choose an easier target elsewhere.

Exterior lights operating on motion sensors should be installed at the front and the back of your house. It is also a good idea to position lights at each corner of your house so that the motion sensors can catch anyone approaching from a side or an angle. Continue reading »

 Posted by on July 31, 2012 at 10:00 am
Jul 092012

Are you ready for a positive life change? (Or maybe just a bit of fun…) Check out our new video about the many advantages of dimmers:

Dimmers really can help you in ways you wouldn’t expect. Allow me to elaborate:

They’re Versatile:

By varying the lumen output of the lights in any room, you can immediately change the look and feel. It’s like having multiple rooms in one that you can enter with the simplest touch of a button. For instance, you can change your den from a lounge perfect for festive fraternization into a very official home theater.

They’re Tranquil:

Dimmers can create a peaceful environment to relax. Lowering the lights in your living room while you read, or for a nice long soak in the tub will keep you feeling very Zen. If harsh lights bother you in the morning, slowly brightening the lights is a gentle way to ease yourself into the new day.

They’re Romantic:

There really is no easier way to create ambiance at the drop of a hat. When you and your sweetie are feeling amorous, you can instantly transform any room into a romantic lovers’ retreat by simply turning down the lights. Try it for a date night – it’s a marvelous, imitate alternative to crowded, expensive restaurants. Continue reading »

Jul 032012

Lost in the Woods
Summer is the season of fun in the sun, for relaxation and adventure. But whether you’re camping, road tripping, enjoying calm nights at home, or off in the far corners of the earth, accidents can happen.

While it’s impossible to prevent some misfortunes, you’d be amazed at how much a small light can help you avert disaster. Here are a few instances when a portable lamp would come very much in handy, so you can be prepared for whatever you do:

Power Outages

If you live in any area with intense weather, you know you may be at risk for a power failure. Instead of scrambling to find candles or flashlights when a storm hits, check out these power outage lights. They ensure you’ll never be caught in the dark. The lights automatically detect when there’s a power outage via radio signal, and immediately turn on to keep you comfortable and safe. Continue reading »

Jun 042012

Lighting food photography Ever wonder how food photographers can have you salivating at the first glimpse of a strawberry? A lot of what makes food look so tasty in pictures is the way photographers use the light. Observe the seafood medley to the right. How does the photographer achieve such a clean yet colorful image? Often times it isn’t enough simply to place a plate by the window and snap a few frames—it takes planning! Here are a few ways to use the light to document your next culinary masterpiece:

Consider the time.

The brightness of the light you use should depend on what meal you’re photographing. Use a light bulb with a measure of 1,000+ lumens if you’re taking shots of breakfast foods like these cappuccino doughnuts. An evening meal on the other hand should be photographed in lower light, channeling the elegant ambiance of the dinner hour.

Cappuccino Doughnuts Food Photograph by Ann Stratton

Cappuccino Doughnuts courtesy of Ann Stratton from CountryLiving.com

Continue reading »

May 252012

book case lightsWhether they shelve books, artwork, or heirlooms, bookcases are a great way to feature your unique interests. However, it can be easy to let your special things fall into the shadows if they’re not properly lit. Here are a few different ways to spotlight your most precious items:

Strips and Microfluorescents

If you prefer to highlight your entire bookshelf, running a Xenon Low Voltage Light Strip or a microfluorescent light fixture along each shelf will do the trick. Just make sure you install the lights in a place they can’t be seen—that way they’ll draw attention to what is important and really make your display pop. As an added bonus, they’ll also provide a significant light source to the entire room.

Puck Lights and Recessed Lights

Do you have a favorite painting, sculpture, or photograph sitting on your bookcase? Feature it with a small puck light attached to the shelf above. This finishing touch draws attention to the item and adds diverse visual interest to the entire bookshelf. If your bookcases are freestanding and have curiosities on top, you can use recessed lighting to attract the eye above. Installing recessed lights is also an easy way to emphasize a bookshelf without illuminating the whole room, although this option will highlight the shelf more than its contents.

Need more ideas on how to display your favorite belongings? Check out these thoughtful shelf decorating tips by HGTV’s Leah Hennen!


May 092012

Jewelry doesn’t sparkle and shine on its own – the reason a gem looks radiant is because of the way it reflects light! That being said, lighting is integral to retail design in a jewelry store. You want your displays to entice customers and show off your products in all their brilliance! Hopefully, we can help. This post will lay out options for various jewelry lighting displays.

The Illuminated Wall Display:

Planning on featuring jewelry within shelving units alongside a wall of your store? It’s a great way to display a large amount of inventory, but it’s important to make sure items don’t get lost in the shadows.

For the most dramatic effect, use puck lights to call attention to individual pieces, as seen in the photo to the right. Puck lighting above jewelry creates beautiful silhouettes and puts a spotlight on each piece.

If you love the look of evenly illuminated in-wall shelving displays, there is a way to avoid the spotlight effect. For a more subtle glow, install light fixtures on the inside edges of your shelves. See these photos for an example of this type of display case installation. You can accomplish this using our Xenon Low Voltage Light Strip or any of our microfluorescent fixtures. Continue reading »

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