May 252012
 

bookcase lights 220x300 Use Bookshelf Lights to Help Tell Your StoryWhether 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!

 

Apr 252012
 

bedroom 300x191 Lighting to Bring Out the Best in Any Bedroom Color SchemeWe are pleased to offer you, our readers, another guest post with great lighting tips for bringing out the best in your bedroom color scheme.

Have you ever noticed how different lighting types affect the color of your room? From the warm colors of the standard incandescent light bulb (which is being phased out) to the cool colors of fluorescent, the type of lighting you select affects your color scheme – for better or for worse. After investing in bedding, drapes, and accessories for your bedroom, don’t make the mistake of overlooking the lighting. Select the wrong lighting and you’ll ruin the mood; select the right lighting and your bedroom’s color scheme will pop!

Warm versus Cool

In general, “warm” light sources bring out the warm colors such as orange, red, and yellow, while “cool” lighting intensifies cool colors such as blue. This concept is referred to as color temperature, which is measured in units called “kelvin” or “K.” For example, warm incandescent light bulbs typically equal about 2,700K, soft white light falls in the 3,000K range, cool white is about 4,100K, and daylight is about 6,500K. Continue reading »

 Posted by on April 25, 2012 at 10:45 am
Apr 232012
 

senior citizens 300x199 Lighting Tips for the ElderlyWe are pleased to present this guest post from Daniel Frank, a blogger for Stannah Stairlifts, about the unique lighting needs for everyone as we age.

Lighting is vital for our health and well-being, and it becomes particularly important the older we get. As we age, two things happen to our eyes. The ability of our pupils to dilate decreases, which effectively makes them smaller, and our lenses become thicker. This means our retinas receive less light, and more of the light that gets through our pupils is absorbed or refracted before it gets to the retina, making an image softer.

This poses some serious safety risks as tripping hazards and other obstacles may not be as obvious as they would be to a younger person. The effects of glare on bright surfaces are also worsened as we get older, making detailed tasks such as drawing or sewing harder. However, there are some fairly simple lighting solutions to this “age old” problem. Continue reading »

 Posted by on April 23, 2012 at 10:00 am
Apr 192012
 

xenonproject 3 300x224 5 Ways Lighting Improves the Homeowners Life

We are pleased to have this guest post from Christine Cooney, a writer at The House Designers, about the five benefits homeowners can get from proper lighting. Thanks so much Christine!

We are creatures that are made to live in the light, not the darkness. The lack of sunlight can leave the homeowner facing a number of negative effects, ranging from poor mood to the lack of energy needed to face the day. However, properly lit homes can counter these ailments, allowing individuals to live in a more productive, happier environment.

If you’re living in a dark, poorly-lit home, you should immediately start considering the advantages of proper lighting. The following are a few of the many benefits that lighting provides for the individual homeowner:

1. Increased Productivity
Many homeowners have a home office, from which they may spend hours at a time, staring at a computer screen. However, the lack of balance between artificial and natural light can strain eyes and lead to serious health issues. In addition, poor lighting can affect your attitude towards work, leading to decreased productivity. In order to make sure that the home office is used to full effect, it is vital to make sure it is well lit as possible. Continue reading »

 Posted by on April 19, 2012 at 10:00 am
Apr 092012
 

Have you ever critiqued the interior design on your favorite TV show? It may sound strange, but it’s interesting to look past the characters and consider what you would have done differently (or similarly) with furniture placement, color schemes, and lighting design. I’ve definitely found myself thinking, “nice under cabinet lighting” a time or two while watching a show set in a luxury kitchen. Maybe that makes me a lighting nerd …

Modern Family is one of the most popular sitcoms on ABC right now, featuring three households that are impeccably designed. Phil and Claire Dunphy live in a traditional style family home with their three children, Jay Pritchett and wife Gloria live in a sleek, modern house with Gloria’s son Manny, and Mitchell and Cam’s home is a blend between the two styles. I included a few snapshots below, along with lighting design lessons:

1. Just a few recessed light fixtures can wash an entire wall with light. You can see just four recessed cans in this photo, but they create a wall washing effect so that the far wall becomes a focal point. I actually wrote a post recently on how wall washing recessed lighting  is often used in museums, hotels, and art galleries because it makes quite a statement. As you can see, it’s just as easy to incorporate into a home! The photo is of the Dunphy living room. Read more on how to wash a wall with light here.

Dunphy family room What You Can Learn About Lighting Design From Modern Family

Photo via zimbio.com

Continue reading »

Mar 262012
 

illuminated artwork How To Get The Most Out of the Artwork In Your HomeWant to call more attention to the beautiful artwork gracing the walls of your home? When it comes to enhancing textures, showing off detail, and making colors more vibrant, it’s all about getting the lighting right.

In general, you should light up artwork three times brighter than the rest of the room. It might be a good idea to put your artwork lighting on a dimmer so that you can install lamps with high lumen output and then tweak the light levels.

To avoid glare, place your picture lights or adjustable recessed trims at a 30 degree angle from the painting or photograph. For very large frames (such as the one in the photo above), increase the angle to about 35 degrees so that you won’t cast a shadow. For paintings with texture, decrease the angle to about 25 degrees to accentuate.

Typically, for smaller pieces of artwork, it’s best to install one light per frame. It creates a cohesive effect and ensures that each piece receives enough illumination. However, for a mural or piece of artwork that extends horizontally on the wall, you will probably want to install multiple lights. The general rule is to use one display light for every 2-3 feet of wall space.

You also have to take into account potential UV and heat damage from your lighting – particularly with oil paintings. To avoid UV damage, stick with LED lighting, which does not emit any ultraviolet or infrared radiation. To avoid heat damage, use the “hand test”  with picture lights – simply place your hand in between the artwork and the light fixture. If you can feel any heat, it may be damaging to an oil painting. Fluorescent and LED lights are both great options for minimal heat exposure. Halogen display lights tend to give off a great deal of heat.

Mar 152012
 

bathroom lighting 325px How Lighting Can Easily Match the Ambiance of any Bathroom

Helen Davies of Better Bathrooms shares this guest post with us about ways to choose the right lighting for your bathroom. Thanks Helen!

The secret to creating the best ambiance for any room, including the bathroom, is simply having the correct type of lighting. It is a shame to build and decorate the bathroom of your dreams, only to have the feel of the room let down by the quality of the lighting. For example, a person may have gone for a modern inspired bathroom and ruined the decor with an aged ceiling lamp. With the vast majority of different lighting options available, it couldn’t be easier to find a light fixture to match the overall style of your bathroom.

If you have a small bathroom or en suite, lighting is the perfect way to maximize the space. A selection of ceiling spotlights can create the illusion of a larger space, taking away that cramped feeling and improving the overall feel of the room. The good thing about spotlights is that they can be installed into everything from the ceiling to the top of your bathroom cabinets. By installing the lights into shelves or bathroom cabinets you can create the illusion of extra space while showcasing any decorative items or products displayed on these units. Continue reading »

 Posted by on March 15, 2012 at 4:25 pm
Mar 072012
 
dimming tool Fun Tool: How Much Energy Can You Save?

Plug in the bulb type, hours used per day, wattage, and calculate your 5-year savings!

We are big fans of Lutron dimmers. The company – Lutron Electronics, Inc. – was founded over 50 years ago, so they have a lot of experience in the light control business. They are award-winning innovators. Plus, their products are just fantastic! The dimming controls are intuitive, the design is sleek, and the technology is sophisticated.

Not surprisingly, we sell a wide selection of Lutron dimmers.

I came across a fun tool this morning on Lutron’s website. It’s an Energy Saving Calculator allowing you to find out exactly how much electricity (and money) you can save in a particular room by adding a dimmer. You specify which dimmer you want to install, what type of light bulbs it will be used with, and how many hours per day you have the lights on.

Try it out for yourself! I plugged in the numbers for the light bulbs in my bathroom with a Maestro dimmer and found this:

Lutron Savings Calculator Fun Tool: How Much Energy Can You Save?

More than justifies the $35 cost of the Line Voltage Maestro Dimmer, doesn’t it?

Feb 162012
 
DSCN69162 225x300 How To Replace An Outlet With An In Wall Night Light DSCN69272 225x300 How To Replace An Outlet With An In Wall Night Light

What are the night lights in your home like?

If they’re a little like the picture on the left, or if night lights in your mind only belong in children’s bedrooms, this post is for you.

First; night lights, unlike Trix cereal, are not just for kids. Ever fallen on a dark flight of stairs? Or blindly stumbled to the bathroom in the middle of the night?  Night lights are points of safety illumination – and they don’t have to be eyesores.

Our in-wall night lights are fantastic solutions if you’re looking for sophisticated, smart night lights that give off a bright glow! I recently installed several in my fiance’s house.

This post will walk you through the installation. It’s fairly easy and can be done in an afternoon. If you have drab night lights that need to be switched on manually, it’ll be a huge improvement.

DSCN6915 300x225 How To Replace An Outlet With An In Wall Night Light

Materials Needed:

  • Phillips or Flat-Head Screwdriver (Depending on your existing outlet’s screws)
  • Electrical Tape
  • Wire Cutters
  • LED In-Wall Night Lights (Wirenuts and screws included in package)

Steps:

1. Snap off the faceplate cover from your LED In-Wall Night Light. Continue reading »

 Posted by on February 16, 2012 at 8:27 am
Jan 122012
 

home buying 5 Lighting Renovations That Will Help Sell Your HomeIf you’re in the market to sell, you probably feel like you could use all the help you can get. You’ve heard realtors talk about remodeling projects to make your home stand out, but which are worth it?

If you’re asking yourself that question, your most helpful tool will be Remodeling Magazine’s Cost versus Value report. Published once a year, it’s an analysis of  remodeling projects with the highest (and lowest) value. You can select your region (New England, Middle Atlantic, etc.) and view the average cost of particular projects as well as the estimated resale value.

Obviously, those numbers are incredibly difficult to pin down, but Remodeling Magazine does their research, using figures from the National Association of Realtors, several market research companies, and thousands of web-based surveys.

If you decide to remodel a particular room after using the report, use these additional tips to amp up the lighting – and make your home more attractive to buyers: Continue reading »

 Posted by on January 12, 2012 at 2:42 pm