Bath, Kitchen & Whole House Inside and Outside
Lighting can make a big difference in the interior environment of your home. Good lighting used properly helps you to see better and perform tasks more easily. It also provides safety, security and a sense of comfort. Lighting and lighting controls also provide you with the flexibility to adjust and adapt the mood and ambiance of your home.
· Identify the activities that occur in each room (reading, food preparation, hobby work, grooming, laundry, homework, etc.).
· Identify the mood or ambiance that you want to create in each space.
· Identify any decorative elements you wish to emphasize, such as artwork or wall textures.
· Identify areas with dark wall colors and finishes. These areas absorb more light than those with lighter finishes, so supplemental lighting may be required.
Today's kitchen, the center of family activity, wins hands-down as the modern home's busiest room. Lighting requirements depend on the size and complexity of the kitchen space. While the kitchen is primarily a work area, it may also be used for dining or as a gathering place for family and friends. Small kitchens may require only a central ceiling fixture and task lighting tucked under a cabinet. More elaborate kitchens will demand a blend of general, task and accent lighting.
Featured Article: A Recipe for Great Kitchen Lighting
Lighting Techniques for the Kitchen
More spacious and multifunctional than ever before, the once-utilitarian bathroom has evolved into a private retreat for relaxation, escape and self-indulgence. The right lighting can make a bathroom even more gracious.
Whether built new or recently remodeled, bathrooms today demand intricate lighting solutions. Task lighting must be bright enough to do its job, but also work well with indirect accent lighting to soften the room's ambiance and provide a warm glow. Decorative and ornate light fixtures and lamps provide elegance and sophistication. Shower light brighten up enclosed stalls. Reading lamps by the toilet provide more focused light.
Lighting Techniques for the Bathroom
Setting the Scene: Put Your Outdoor Living Space in the Best Light
Curb appeal is essential, whether you are selling or buying a home, or giving a warm welcome to friends and family. According to the American Lighting Association (ALA), consumers should look for outdoor lighting products in a family of sizes so they can maintain a theme throughout their residence.
“When people are looking to upgrade their outdoor lighting, starting with the front of the house usually helps guide them through the complete outdoor lighting package,” explains Toby Boyd of Philips Professional Luminaires, which manufactures the Philips HADCO Landscape and Hanover Lantern lines. “Remember, when guests visit, the first thing they notice when they arrive is the front of the home – and it’s also the last thing they see when they leave.”
In choosing a new lighting package, size is as important as style and color. As a rule of thumb, if only one fixture is going to be used at the entrance, Boyd recommends it measures one-third the height of the door. If installing two fixtures, make each about one-quarter the size of the door.
“Because LED is such a new and developing technology, the lower-cost products also tend to be low quality,” Rey-Barreau explains. “I’d strongly recommend consumers visit a lighting showroom where they can see a wider variety of models and styles plus evaluate the quality of the light.” At many ALA-member lighting showrooms, educated employees can show how the fixture will look in realistic settings.
Boyd agrees. “The rule of thumb differs for the front door compared to the fixtures used to illuminate landscaping around the home. The entryway focuses on style, size and color based on the theme you want to project. When lighting landscape applications, however, seeing what the fixture does at night is more important than seeing the fixture in the light of day,” he says.
Consulting with an ALA-accredited lighting specialist will yield maximum results because they will determine what is most important to you – such as patio, deck or pool area lighting or highlighting landscape features. “Some homeowners want a particular tree, statue or fountain to be the focal point,” Boyd says. A lighting professional will make sure there are ample light levels for every aspect.
Finding the Right Style for Your Home
With backyard “rooms” becoming a common way of extending living space, the lines are blurring between indoor and outdoor styles for furniture and lighting. Similarly, al fresco dining is more popular than ever and the addition of fireplaces and gas heaters has led to year-round enjoyment. As a result, the latest exterior lighting fixtures are designed to complement their interior counterparts, allowing homeowners to create a uniform appearance inside and out.
“As a general trend, cleaner looks are being seen across all styles – not just in contemporary collections,” says James Thomas, senior designer for Progress Lighting, a division of Hubbell, manufacturer of outdoor and landscape fixtures. “Today’s fixtures have less fluting and detail, and highlight more of a simplified style. Many companies are starting to offer versatile fixtures that can be used indoors as well as outdoors. For example, Progress Lighting’s new Parker model can be used with end caps if placed outside, but the top and bottom can be removed for indoor use as a wall sconce.”
Can Energy-Efficient Lighting Look Attractive?
By now many homeowners have replaced at least one incandescent bulb in their homes with a compact fluorescent lamp (CFL), and some have done the same outside.
“The choices in CFL bulbs today require decisions about shape, color and light output,” Rey-Barreau says. “An outdoor lantern should have no less than 20-watt capacity for a CFL source, but those colors range from a visually warm color to a very visually cold hue. It is best to always choose the warm colors for residential applications because it more closely matches the incandescent lighting in other parts of the house.”
The shape is a major consideration only if the bulb can be seen. If that’s the case, search for a CFL bulb that is in the familiar shape of a typical incandescent (this is referred to as an A-lamp). This type has the same relative efficiencies as the spiral shape, but has a covering over the spiral that makes it resemble an incandescent. You might not find this variety at a home center, but most lighting stores have it.
Additionally, many light fixtures are designed to hide the bulb. “Energy-efficient outdoor fixtures are available in many styles. Manufacturers typically use different glass patterns – such as frosted, antique distressed or seeded – to disguise the outline of the CFL,” Thomas adds. “There are also fixtures that offer more room to fit both a CFL or incandescent bulb, combined with a glass treatment, so consumers can choose which type of light source they want to use.”
If the light cast by CFLs and LEDs is not appealing to you, Thomas suggests using low-voltage halogen systems, daylight sensors and timers, which all provide ways for consumers to reduce energy consumption. “Because these technologies can be used with a variety of fixtures, people still have the flexibility to determine which designs best fit their homes and preferences,” he says.