How To Choose Light Bulbs For Your Home: Ceiling Fans

Lighted ceiling fans are making their debut today in our “How To Choose Light Bulbs For Your Home” series. (Catch up on our tips for table/floor lamps here, and here for recessed light fixtures).

Ceiling fans with light fixtures are installed for a lot of different reasons. Before you choose light bulbs to go in yours, you need to think about what purpose it serves.

Is it the sole source of light in the entire room? First and foremost, we would recommend remedying that by adding a lamp or two, or perhaps a few recessed lights. Lighting serves multiple purposes in a room, and it’s pretty impossible for one light fixture to do it all.

If that’s not possible, or you’re just not willing to devote more money to your lighting budget at this time, then you’ll need to make sure you can get as much illumination as possible out of the ceiling fan. Take a close look at lumen output of the light bulbs you’re considering – anything less than 800 lumens (the equivalent of a standard 60-watt incandescent light bulb) won’t do it. For more information about lumen output, see here. (more…)

Read More

How To Choose Light Bulbs For Your Home: Recessed Cans

This is the second post in a series dedicated to helping you create a home with beautiful lighting by choosing the best light bulbs. Yesterday, we tackled light bulbs for table and floor lamps. Recessed lights are a little more complicated, but once you’ve got the basics down, it’s smooth sailing!

The first thing you’ll need to do is determine which light bulb size your recessed light fixture takes. Here’s what you’ll see among recessed lighting options: BR30, MR11, MR16, PAR16, PAR20, PAR30, PAR38, R20, R30, R40.

Wow. Let’s break that down a little: (more…)

Read More

How To Choose Light Bulbs For Your Home: Table/Floor Lamps

Architect Louis Kahn once said, “Just think, that man can claim a slice of the sun.” What a beautiful way to describe lighting!

Of course, choosing light bulbs for your home doesn’t always feel so empowering, because there’s a little bit of leg work to get there. The finished product is what you’re looking for: A room with lighting that’s just right and adaptable to any situation, whether you’re entertaining, relaxing, or working around the house. Do you envision sophisticated light fixtures with dimmer controls, sparkling chandeliers, decorative pendants, or all of the above?

This post is the first in a new series that will help you realize that vision. After all, every light fixture needs a light bulb. We’ll start with the easiest category – table and floor lamps …

Chances are, your household lamps take the classic “A-lamp” shaped light bulb. You have a few options here:

  • You can stick with the tried and true incandescent light bulb, making sure to comply with the maximum wattage specified on the lamp. You’ll get a good amount of light output, but there’s a whole lot of heat that comes with it, and it’s as about as inefficient as you can find. Read on if you want to branch out to something a little more energy bill friendly.
  • The halogen light bulb is ideal for those incandescent lovers out there. It’s actually a type of incandescent – it just has a bit of halogen gas added inside the glass envelope of the lamp to lengthen the lifetime a little. The thing is, halogen lamps still give off a lot of heat, and the strides in efficiency are not very far. Still, halogen A-lamps are good alternatives to standard incandescent lamps. (more…)

Read More

Use Bookshelf Lights to Help Tell Your Story

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!


Read More

Lighting to Bring Out the Best in Any Bedroom Color Scheme

BedroomWe 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. (more…)

Read More

Lighting Tips for the Elderly

Senior Citizens at homeWe 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. (more…)

Read More

5 Ways Lighting Improves the Homeowner’s Life

Under cabinet lights lit at night

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. (more…)

Read More

What You Can Learn About Lighting Design From Modern Family

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.

Photo via


Read More

How To Get The Most Out of the Artwork In Your Home

Want 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.

Read More

How Lighting Can Easily Match the Ambiance of any Bathroom

Modern Bathroom Lighting

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. (more…)

Read More