May 132013
 

step lights
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 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

 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

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

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 »

Mar 212013
 

bathroom-lighting
Your bathroom should not be annoying.
It should be a rejuvenating space within your house. It should be a sanctuary of sorts, really. The problem is, there are just so many ways the place can get annoying…

…Like when it gets excessively moist and you’re constantly fighting back the mold.

…Like when you’re in there in the middle of the night under the glare of bright lights.

…Like when your lights are cheap, ugly, or just don’t match your style.

…Like when your loud exhaust fan makes it impossible to relax.

If your bathroom annoys you in one or more of those ways here’s how exhaust fans can solve each of those terrible annoyances:

For The Moldy Bathroom

If your bathroom gets too moist when you shower and you’d rather not cultivate a garden of mold where you clean yourself every day, get an exhaust fan. To pick one that’s right for you, you just need to determine the recommended fan capacity for your bathroom. This is measured in CFM (Cubic Feet per Minute), which is the volume of air the fan can remove from a room within a certain period of time. You can find your bathroom’s recommended CFM by multiplying the room’s square footage by 1.1 if you have an 8-foot ceiling, or by 1.5 if you have a 9-foot ceiling. For example, a bathroom of 60 square feet with an 8-foot ceiling would need a fan with a CFM of about 66.

Bathroom Exhaust Fan 2

Continue reading »

Mar 042013
 

This post is the fifth in a series on how to optimize the lighting in your home or business for the utmost energy savings.

The bathroom offers a unique combination of utility and luxury. It’s an essential in every home and every office, and an integral part of everyone’s daily routine. Not to mention that the restroom is also a place for rest and rejuvenation. For some of us, it’s the only place where we can find a little peace and quiet.

luxury suite bathroom

When a room is as important as this one, you make sure the lighting is of the highest quality. Because what is a functional room without functional lighting? And what is a luxurious room when the lighting is harsh and abrasive?

Having quality bathroom lights that also save energy might seem like too tall an order, but making your bathroom lighting energy-efficient is actually easier than you might think. Just follow my lead…

1. Change out those light bulbs!

By now, you probably know that upgrading your light bulbs to more energy-efficient varieties is the easiest way to save a little energy. But, some of these newer lamps won’t thrive in the variable atmosphere of the bathroom. Continue reading »

Mar 012013
 

Having adequate, quality, and – heaven forbid – stylish lighting when you live in a rented space can seem like a far-away dream. Your landlord or property manager has certain limits and regulations on what changes you can make, so creating a lighting design you like feels next to impossible.

What’s a renter to do? It’s time to get creative with your lighting.

For The Kitchen

Let me guess. When you moved into your current place, your kitchen had a single ceiling light fixture – a linear fluorescent, a track light – on a basic on/off light switch. The brightness of that single ceiling light is too jarring in the morning, and when you’re chopping, dicing, and frying in the evening, it’s not enough.

Fluorescent Under Cabinet Lights

The best thing you can do in here is add one or two light layers for extra task light. Start with under cabinet lights, because they’ll make it easier for you to see while cooking, and add a nice ambiance to the room. You can opt to leave the ceiling lights off when you want a lower light level, or use them with your ceiling lights when you’ve got your chef’s hat on. Continue reading »

Feb 262013
 

This is the fourth post in a series on saving energy with your lights. We’re tackling every space in your home and business to make sure you’re saving the most power possible.

For many of us,  the garage is one of the most utilitarian rooms in the house, so there shouldn’t be any excuse for having lights that consume unnecessary energy. Whether you use your garage as a full-on workshop, or just as a place to stash your holiday decorations, you might be surprised at how much you can save with just a few simple lighting upgrades.

iStock_000019156158Small

Let’s start by dividing the garage into different regions with unique functions: the storage area, the task area, and the entrances and exits.  Continue reading »

 Posted by on February 26, 2013 at 12:49 pm
Feb 222013
 

In this series, we’re helping you save energy at your homes and businesses, room by room.

Your bedroom can be many things. A space to kick back after a long day. A place to romance your sweetie. Maybe it doubles as an office, or maybe it’s just the only personal space you have in this whole wide world.

Whatever your bedroom, boudoir, or inner sanctum may function as, there’s one thing it should never be: a needless energy-sucker.

Lighting is an important part of any bedroom. It adds style, ambiance, and functionality, but having great lighting in the bedroom doesn’t have to use up a ton of power.

Large Bedroom Interior

We’re pulling out all the stops to give you the best tips to use in the bedroom – for energy-efficient lighting, that is!

1. Take a survey of all your light fixtures – table lamps, floor lamps, track lights, and any ceiling fans, chandeliers, or pendant lights. How many of these use incandescent light bulbs? If the answer is greater than zero, we’ve identified the first way you can cut down your energy consumption in the bedroom: Swap out all your incandescent household, chandelier, and reflector light bulbs for LEDs or CFLs. Continue reading »

 Posted by on February 22, 2013 at 10:30 am
Feb 152013
 

It’s 2013, and if you’re still spending a ton on your energy bill, you should know that it doesn’t have to be that way. Right now, about 20% of the energy we consume goes to lighting. But, with a few energy-efficient changes, we can see that number (and the numbers on our monthly bills) dwindle. This post is the first in a series on how to make the lighting in your home or business more energy-efficient. 

Everyone’s got to eat, and for many of us, the kitchen is the very heart of the home. The kitchen also requires excellent lighting for cooking and cleaning up. So, I figure it will be a good place to start an energy-efficient lighting makeover.

LED Under Cabinet Lights Kitchen

There are many different ways to upgrade the lights in your kitchen, some are quick and easy, and others are more extensive.

Easy Upgrades

  • Eliminate the incandescents. Nothing sucks energy quite like and incandescent light bulb. It wastes about 90% of the energy it uses, giving it off as heat (incidentally making your kitchen feel more like a sweat lodge than it should). If you replace every light bulb with a CFL (compact fluorescent), whether it’s a household lamp, a reflector lamp, or even a chandelier light bulb, you’ll start seeing energy savings right away!
  • Add a dimmer.  Putting your overhead lights, pendant lights, and even your under cabinet lights on dimmers will help you save even more energy. A light bulb doesn’t need to use as much energy when dimmed to a lower level. Also, dimming will increase the life of your light bulb, which means you won’t have to pay for (or use up) so many. Just make sure that if you’re using your dimmers on CFLs, the dimmer and the light bulb are compatible. Continue reading »
 Posted by on February 15, 2013 at 10:39 am
Feb 012013
 

Valentine's Lighting
It’s February already, which means Valentine’s Day isn’t far away. If you’re planning something special for your special someone you should remember that nothing says “Love Me Tender” like some sultry mood lighting.

For an amorous evening in, it’s up to you to to create the perfect atmosphere for the night. And let me tell you, lighting will be essential. What else could completely transform a regular room into a romantic retreat in seconds? If you’re strapped for time, or lacking ideas for lighting this Valentine’s, we’ve got your back. We’ve put together a list of our best (and easiest) romantic lighting ideas to make sure your night goes right.

1. Dimmers

Bedroom Lights on a dimmer, romantic

 

If you only make one lighting change for Valentine’s Day, make it this: put your overhead lights on a dimmer. It’s a simple, affordable switch to make, but it will make all the difference when you’re turning your den, dining room, or boudoir into an enchanting paradise. And let’s face it – everyone looks better in softly dimmed ambient light, which can’t hurt on a day like February 14th. Plus, once you install the dimmer, you’ll be able to enjoy it all year round.

2. String Lights

Image via thesoho.blogspot.com

Image via thesoho.blogspot.com

After you establish romantic ambient lighting it’s all about adding a little magic with accent lights. If you have some white string lights left over from the holidays, they can add a bit of sparkle to your evening. Try draping them behind sheer curtains or around the dinner table or bed’s headboard. They’ll have you and your sweetie starry-eyed in no time. Continue reading »

 Posted by on February 1, 2013 at 11:49 am
Jan 212013
 

Image via Chicago Architect COOK ARCHITECTURAL Design Studio


With the New Year upon us, many have decided to upgrade their fitness routines by installing home gyms, or dusting off the treadmills they already own. But, if you have dingy or inadequate home gym lighting, it can be even more difficult to actually make use of the space 3-5 times a week.

Am I saying lighting can help you achieve your fitness goals? Not exactly, but I’m not saying that it can’t.

When deciding on the lights for your home gym, here are some things to consider:

1. Brightness

So you sweat it out for half an hour and then move on with your life. What’s the point of putting effort into comfortably lighting your home gym if you don’t spend a lot of time being comfortable in there anyway? Well, good lighting might actually help motivate you to spend longer, more quality time exercising. Nothing is quite as depressing as a home gym with a single ceiling light fixture and gloomy shadows cast on every surface. Studies show that cool, bright light naturally increases your energy levels, which means you could have an easier time putting in those 30 minutes on the elliptical.

LED Track Lighting Continue reading »

 Posted by on January 21, 2013 at 12:05 pm

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