Apr 272011
 

vision declining Before “Aging in Place” Ever HappensThere’s a lot of talk about “aging in place” in the remodeling industry.  Homeowners are increasingly asking designers to help them envision home modifications that will serve future needs.

While the term “aging in place” fosters some negative connotations, it essentially means creating a more accessible and low-maintenance space (i.e., eliminating unnecessary steps, adding slip-resistant bathroom floors, etc.)  See the National Association of Home Builder’s checklist for more information.

Lighting adjustments do hold a prominent place on the “aging in place” checklist, but they would be better off on another list altogether.

People begin experiencing major changes in eyesight at the young age of 45.  As you get older, the changes accelerate: You are less able to discriminate between colors, more sensitive to glare, and less able to see small details.  Also, it begins to take increasingly longer to adapt to sudden changes in brightness.

Research shows that a 60-year-old needs twice as much light as a 30-year-old.  Most of the commonly found lighting guidelines are written with the 30-year-old user in mind.  -American Lighting Association

Continue reading »

Mar 162011
 

Have you ever seen a cove lighting installation in action?  Our xenon low voltage strip was featured on the DIY network TV show Rescue Renovation!  The episode features a young man who bought his first home from 1000 miles away.  Needless to say, it turned out to be quite a “fixer-upper.”

In this clip, you’ll see the Rescue Renovation team coming in to help.  They use the light strip behind crown molding to accentuate the home’s original cove ceiling.  View the video after the jump! Continue reading »

Feb 212011
 

measuring for under cabinet lights How Many Under Cabinet Lights Do I Need?If you are about to embark on a kitchen remodel and are installing under cabinet lights, follow these guidelines to determine how many fixtures you should purchase.

First, measure the length of the “cavity” under your cabinet where you are going to place the fixtures.

If you are installing puck lights…

For a 6-10 inch cavity measurement (in length), use 1 puck light.

For 11-18 inches, use 2-3 puck lights.  For 19-26 inches, use 3-4 puck lights. For  27-34 inches, use 4-5 puck lights.  For 35-42 inches, use 5-7 puck lights.  For 43-50 inches, use 6-8 puck lights.

Continue reading »

 Posted by on February 21, 2011 at 10:00 am
Feb 012011
 

night lights pros and cons Is It Lights Out Time For Your Kids?Are night lights really good for our kids or should we be encouraging them to sleep in the dark? Research shows that the question is not quite that simple.  In fact, it’s all depends on the amount and quality of sleep your kids are getting.

It’s not unusual for young children to sleep with a night light, and there are certainly advantages for both parents and children. For parents, it means that you can peek into their room and see how they are doing without waking them by turning on a harsh light.  For kids, it’s often about security. Dark shadows can terrify some little ones. Continue reading »

 Posted by on February 1, 2011 at 10:00 am
Dec 132010
 

My Account A Bright Idea Little Known Facts about Energy Efficient Lighting

The Huffington Post recently published a great article about home lighting.  We figured some of their ‘little-known facts’ might be no-brainers to our blog readers, so we wanted to share just the best of the information here:

For each $1 you invest in efficient lighting, you will be paid back up to $6 in energy savings.

You have all heard that CFLs beat incandescent bulbs as far as energy efficiency, but exactly how energy efficient they are might draw a blank.  Think about it this way: if you use a 75-watt incandescent for six hours a day, you’d pay approximately $54 a year on energy (this includes the costs of replacement bulbs at 75 cents per bulb).  A 20-watt CFL with the same light output would cost $14 a year to power.  That bulb would cost $6 to purchase initially but it’d last four years for six hours a day, so the total expenditure per year would be $15.50.  That’s $38.50 less per year, which is a return on investment of 642%! Continue reading »

 Posted by on December 13, 2010 at 11:47 am
Nov 182010
 
Saving Cents How to Remodel Your Kitchen on a Budget1. Take one step at a time:

There’s no rule that says you must complete each component of a kitchen remodel at the same time.  Figure out which project is most important to you and start there.  If you’re dying to replace the cabinets, get a quote and finish that project first before starting on the countertops, flooring, or lighting.  It’ll be less daunting to budget in smaller pieces.  Also, you’ll avoid living with a non-functional kitchen if you’re only tackling one project at a time!

2. Shop for the deals:

Be patient so you can take up every opportunity for a discount.  It’s easy to buy everything from one home improvement supplier, but it’s not likely you’ll get the best prices if you take that route.  Ask your contractor for the inside scoop – a lot of times contractors get significant discounts on supplies.  If you’re shopping for lighting fixtures, make sure to subscribe to our email newsletter.  We offer exclusive coupons to our subscribers each month.

3. Try DIY:

Not everyone can do it, but if you’re at all handy around the house, consider taking on part of the remodel yourself!  You can find extensive resources online or at the bookstore with tips and how-to’s to walk you through almost any project.

 Posted by on November 18, 2010 at 3:11 pm
Oct 282010
 
holiday lights How To Lower Your Energy Bill This Winter

Think twice before using the same old strand of incandescent lights.

Between the extra costs of heating your home in the cold weather, turning the lights on earlier as Daylight Savings Time comes to an end, and higher fuel costs in general this year, energy bills tend to skyrocket during winter months.

If you use the standard incandescent light strings during the holidays, this is the year to think twice.

LED string lighting uses 90% less energy than its incandescent counterpart.  It lasts about ten times longer and is highly durable, meaning you will no longer be heading out to the store each year when yet another string is spent.

Also, LED lighting is cool to the touch.  The holiday lighting fire hazard you hear about is caused by the fact that incandescent lights emit a lot of heat (never a good combination when you’re talking about stringing it across millions of dry Christmas trees). Continue reading »

 Posted by on October 28, 2010 at 9:02 am
Oct 122010
 

tracklighting Track Lighting 101Track lights are one of the most versatile lighting systems because the individual fixtures can be positioned anywhere along the track and then swiveled, rotated, and aimed in any direction.  It’s possible to create a variety of different effects, and you can tailor the lights to best accentuate your room.

However, this also means it’s hard to know where to start!  Consider this your how-to guide for using track lights to create the perfect effect.

First, you’ll need to decide what type of light you want the track fixtures to provide.  Track lights are typically used in one of three ways:

  • Accent lighting, highlighting a particular object such as a work of art.
  • Wall washing, evenly illuminating a wall.  Should be used for non-textured vertical surfaces.
  • Wall grazing, dramatically highlighting the texture in a wall.  Should be used for textured vertical surfaces like brick, stone, or draperies.

Continue reading »

 Posted by on October 12, 2010 at 10:00 am
Sep 282010
 

Recessed Lighting Layout How To Layout Recessed Lighting in 4 Easy StepsWe received a question on Twitter recently about how to layout recessed lighting and I realized we don’t have any blog posts on that topic!

If you’re using recessed lights (aka cans, high hats, pot lights, or downlights) to provide the general lighting in a room, follow these tips to create the ideal level of brightness:

1. Ready your sketchbook.

Use a blueprint of the room to pencil in exactly where you want the recessed lights to go.  Before you start, take measurements of any furniture in the room and create paper shapes that are correctly scaled for the blueprint.   This way, you’ll be able to see where the light will fall. Continue reading »

 Posted by on September 28, 2010 at 8:58 am
Sep 152010
 

corner over cabinet 250 Small Kitchens, Be Gone!Homeowners approach kitchen designers all the time with those three familiar words: “it’s too small.”  Since it’s not always in the budget to knock out the walls, cut the living room square footage in half, and create a massive dream kitchen from scratch, designers usually have to come up with a few other ideas.

Listed below are solutions for tackling that too-small kitchen.  Let me know if I missed any in the comments!

Paint Lightly: Rooms painted with a lighter color will feel more open.  Try to gravitate toward colors like light blue, white, yellow, or beige.  This applies not only to walls but also to cabinets, countertops, and appliances.  Dark colors have a way of visually closing in your space. Continue reading »

 Posted by on September 15, 2010 at 10:00 am