Light your kitchen for delicious activity

Is your kitchen the place where family and guests seem to gravitate? Whether your kitchen is large or small, you’ll want this gathering place to have adequate lighting for all the tasks that go on.

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One of the most useful trends in kitchens is under-cabinet lighting. It will quickly and easily illuminate countertops. Best of all, under-cabinet lights come in a variety of options, so they easily meld with the rest of the kitchen lighting. You can choose slim, energy-efficient fluorescents, miniature track lights or low-voltage linear systems.

The experts at the American Lighting Association, a trade industry group, offer tips on how to make the most of this beautiful, helpful lighting.
  • Think about reflection when you’re lighting countertops of marble or granite. Discuss with your lighting expert which lighting options will cause the least reflection.
  • Place under-cabinet fixtures at the front of your cabinets, not against the wall. This will distribute the light evenly over the area below.
  • Consider putting your under-cabinet lighting on a dimmer switch, separate from the kitchen’s other lighting. Not only will this save energy, but different levels of light can add depth and dramatic impact to your space. under lighting blue cabinets
The ALA has other kitchen lighting tips, too.
  • In a small kitchen, you may only need a central ceiling fixture and under-cabinet task lighting. Larger kitchens work best with a blend of general, task and accent lighting.
  • For island counters or breakfast bars, consider adding a group of miniature pendants. Install one pendant for every 2 feet of counter space. Try to use an odd number of pendants, which creates a better balance.Madera-Room2
  • You can also add a pendant fixture over your kitchen table. If your table is round, the fixture should be 12 inches narrower than the diameter of the table. For square or rectangular tables, choose a fixture that’s 12 inches narrower than the smallest side.
  • Over your kitchen sink, consider recessed downlights. They give you even illumination, and are great task lights for cleaning your dishes.

With one simple addition, your kitchen gains drama (the good kind) and ideal lighting for all your countertop work. So go ahead, transform your kitchen from drab to fab.

Precious metals: The hot materials that are on the lighting ‘it’ list

The décor trends of the year are reaching a fever pitch, and when it comes to lighting, one of the most sought-after looks is a more daring use of metal tones. No longer content with trim and detail that fades unnoticed into the background, homeowners are seeking new ways to beautify their spaces with lighting fixtures in a range of metals.

Gold: After enjoying a heyday in the 80s, rich golden tones turned passé in subsequent decades. But now gold is surging to the forefront of designers’ recommendations and showing up in homes, hotels and just about everywhere else you look. The warmth of gold can change the entire feel of a room, giving it welcoming glow. It also softens the look of some more stylistically restrained fixtures, such as the Thomas Lighting Allure Couture Gold Six-Light Chandelier.

79621108Silver: The material that took over gold’s former reign is still going strong. It’s one of the best-loved choices for those looking to create a streamlined, modern space, or a cooler touch to traditional forms. Sculptural pendants, like the Uttermost Alita Drum Pendant, make a dramatic statement that can bring style and personality to a room in just one step. Both polished finishes and matte options are equally on trend.

Copper: If you want a unique way to get in on the metal trend, set your sights on copper. Its warm, rich tones instantly draw attention, whether you use it indoors or choose outdoor fixtures, like the Hinckley Coastal Copper Outdoor series. Luckily, copper fixtures are available in an array of finishes and styles and can be incorporated into a multitude of home aesthetics, from Craftsman to Victorian to contemporary.

Essential pieces to lighten up your bedroom

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Your bedroom should be a retreat, an escape from life’s craziness, a place to relax. Your lighting should help create the atmosphere you want and need. A mixture of soft, ambient lighting and bright spots of task lighting is essential. Consider these choices as you seek to create a space that’s both useful and soothing.

157572506* Chandelier. Ceiling fixtures provide general ambient lighting. Chandeliers add style and a decorative focal point. Today’s chandeliers come in a wide choice of finishes, from bronze and nickel to alabaster and chrome. They also vary from modern to traditional, so you can easily find a style that blends in with your home’s décor. Pink chandeliers are a particularly nice touch for a girls bedroom.

* Ceiling fixtures, fanlights, wall sconces and recessed downlights. All of these will give you the illumination you need to dress and see into drawers, without overwhelming.

* Portable lamps. These are great choices for task lighting, and provide plenty of light for reading. Swing-arm wall lamps free up space on end tables, but still give you the light you need. You could also hang pendants next to your bed or install recessed downlights in the ceiling over the bed.

* Closet lighting. Choose recessed or close-to-the-ceiling fixtures to get the general lighting you need without taking up much space. This is an excellent place to use compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs), which give you the light you want while saving you energy costs.

If you have a dressing table, add an adjustable, lighted magnifying mirror for the task lighting you need.

The bedroom is also an excellent location for dimmer controls, so that you have the flexibility to vary the light to create different moods.

How you combine ambient lighting versus task lighting depends on the age and lifestyle of the bedroom’s main occupants. And older person may want more task lighting, while someone younger will appreciate more general lighting.

Image Source: Pinterest to studiom/bedroom-ideas-inspiration/

 

Bathroom lighting should help you look your best

Today’s bathrooms are private retreats designed for relaxation and escape, and the lighting should underscore the mood. Bathroom lighting should be both attractive and highly functional. It needs to be bright enough for grooming, but also soften the room’s ambiance and provide a warm glow.

There are two “must-haves” for proper bath lighting, points out the American Lighting Association, an industry trade group: an ambient light source and task lighting. The task lighting must be bright enough to do its job, but must also work well with indirect accent lighting.

This is a great time to buy a decorative ambient light fixture, because manufacturers have created fixtures that are both elegant and highly functional. Trends include soft, contemporary styles with bronze finish, as well as ornate, sophisticated fixtures.

While you’ll need task lighting around your mirror, your choices vary based on the mirror size.

708FR52202ORBSmall mirror – Decorative wall fixtures placed on each side of the mirror provide the even, shadow-free facial illumination you want for grooming tasks. For best results, mount the fixtures at least 28 inches apart and 60 inches off the floor. If you have a recessed light over your sink, it should supplement the wall-mounted lighting – don’t use it as the primary light, because it will create shadows on your face.

Large mirror – A strip of horizontal vanity lights, mounted 78 inches off the floor, ensures that each person has sufficient light. The best lighting solution includes a shade for each bulb.

The ALA suggests also adding a dimmer to your vanity lights. You’ll be amazed how often you’ll use it, and how much comfort it adds to the use of your bathroom, say the ALA experts. Being able to adjust the light levels for different situations is amazingly practical.

Light your landscape for splendor and safety

You can keep your home safe while enhancing your landscape’s beauty – just improve your outdoor lighting. It expands your outdoor entertaining opportunities, provides better sidewalk illumination for guests, adds a bit of romance to your porch and makes your yard interesting in the evening.

Front entrance Exteriors Prescott II

A well-lit stoop allows you to identify visitors, and gives guests a warm welcome. Choose wall lanterns on either side of the front door that match your home’s look, whether it’s traditional or modern.

Garage exterior 23026-BRZ-CLR

Match the wall lanterns on your home’s entrance to ones on either side of your garage door. If part of your house would still be in shadow, illuminate with a spotlight above the garage door. Consider installing a motion sensor on these fixtures, or a photocell that turns the lights on at dusk and off at dawn. This will conserve energy. Be a considerate neighbor – make sure your lights don’t shine directly into your neighbors’ windows.

Steps and pathways Executive home

Path lights or post lanterns will not only add beauty to your home’s exterior, they will also add safety for visitors. Low-level path lights, which spread circular patterns of light, will not only show the way to your front entrance, but can also highlight nearby flower beds, shrubs and ground cover. They can also help define the boundaries of long driveways.

Decks, porches and patios Exteriors Fredericksburg

Convert these into romantic retreats with low-voltage lighting. You’ll also be creating outdoor “rooms,” extending your entertaining spaces. Plus, chasing away shadows from these areas adds to your safety. Grills and serving areas, of course, need brighter task lighting, which could be provided by wall-mounted or free-standing lamps.

For all this lighting, experts suggest you buy the best-quality and well-constructed fixtures you can afford. They will last longer and be better values in the long run.

Layered lighting – what it is and where you need it

Cercado_9018COB_roomshot1How many rooms in your home have just one light fixture? For most rooms, the bulk of the lighting work is done by an overhead light, but that could leave much of your space in the dark, literally and figuratively. By adding different kinds of lighting throughout a room, you’ll not only make the space look bigger, you’ll also be giving yourself more useable space.

The idea of layered lighting is one that can improve virtually every high-use living space. The design concept illuminates a space more thoroughly, but also more thoughtfully, as determined by how you use a room.

So, how and where would it work in your home?

 In the living room: The gathering spot for movie night, the place to kick back and chat after holiday smorgasbords, or the at-home arena for the big game – a living room can be a lot of things. In this space, bright ambient lighting provides the ideal backdrop, and can be achieved with carefully placed recessed fixtures. Take screen glare into account if this is where you watch TV. Warmer accent lights, like bookshelf or picture lighting, or even wall sconces, provide some extra versatility; turn off the ambient lights and you’ll still have a well-lit space, but one that’s more cozy. Finally, task lighting, like a floor lamp next to a favorite reading chair, should be tailored to the way you use the room most.

Track lighting can provide a wonderful, bright atmosphere for the kitchen, but it also allows you to direct added brightness where it’s most needed – like the places where you do a lot of meal prep like chopping. If your kitchen has an eat-in area, pendant lights are a perfect way to add some design personality as well as shed light on the places where you dine. For a subtle final touch, under cabinet lighting might be small, but it can help to brighten the whole room, or draw attention to stylish kitchen accessories.

Layered lighting is all about making your home more dynamic and your rooms more useful. The added benefit is that it can also add beauty, particularly if you select attention-getting accent lights.

The three rooms that need accent light the most

Interior design might seem to be all about style, but beneath the beautiful surface, it’s all about function. Figuring out how rooms can be more livable, useful and enjoyable is at the heart of every design question. One of those questions, which comes up again and again, is “How can light improve this room?” In many instances, adding accent light provides the answer.

So, where can accent lighting make a difference in your home? These are three key spaces where lighting often needs to be added through accents that are both stylish and practical:

  • The dining room:  This is a room that has to be a bit of a chameleon. Sometimes, it’s the scene for quick weeknight meals; other times, it’s the focal point of special-occasion feasts. Whether you’re dressing it up or dressing it down, lighting in the dining room plays a big role. A chandelier might be the crowning glory of the room, but recessed spotlights can add ambient light, while sconces combine decorative flair and a soft glow.
  • The bathroom: Bathrooms can be beautiful, but they are some of the hardest-working rooms in your home. Morning after morning and night after night, the whole family takes care of their getting-ready tasks here. Bright light is in high demand, but one fixture generally can’t do it all. Overhead lighting for the shower and tub enhances safety and practicality, while accents angled toward the mirror make grooming much easier.
  • The entry: This is where guests will get their first impression of your home – and you want it to be a good one. Directed recessed lights are practical here, as it’s often where coats, shoes and other personal articles tend to accumulate.  The shape of your space will help determine the other types of lighting that will work; a long track lighting fixture will illuminate the length of a hallway, and while a chandelier might be a hazard in a low-ceiling entry, if yours soars, it can fill the space with interest. A side table with lamps can add even more warmth to your welcome.

From blah to spa: How bathroom lighting can turn your space into an oasis

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Whether your bathroom is hectic or heavenly depends on more than just the size of the room. With the right décor and lighting touches, any bathroom can become more tranquil, providing you a spa-like getaway whenever you need it.

Lighting should be at the heart of your bathroom design – and the more options you give yourself, the more versatile the room will become. But the details of the lighting you choose will also make a big difference, so select wisely.

6366153-244Think muted: Rather than super-shiny and crystal clear designs, frosted glass and muted metals can create a softer, more relaxing atmosphere. A vanity light like the Minka-Lavery Aged Stone Three-Light Bath Fixture is a great choice that also incorporates natural stone for an organic feel.

Layered lights: Flipping one light switch and being overwhelmed with brightness is the exact opposite of the spa effect. Consider putting overhead lighting, sconces and vanity lighting on separate switches that better allow you to control where the light is coming from.

Dim it down: If you’re limited in the number of fixtures you can add to your bathroom, one simple way to achieve a more versatile look is to put your existing fixtures on dimmers. That way, you can dial down the brightness when you want a more serene space for relaxation.

Everyone needs a place to escape, even in their own home. With a few simple changes in lighting, the bathroom can become your go-to space when you need a little R&R.

Where and why to use wall sconces

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It’s patently obvious why you need overhead lighting fixtures, but the endless options for accent lighting can be confusing enough that some homeowners forgo them completely. But if you do, you’re missing out on an opportunity to add functionality and extra touches of style throughout your interior design. Sconces in particular are versatile enough to be used throughout a home and can add a variety of effects that enhance your space.

If you’re unsure about how to get started with sconces, follow these tips about where – and why – to use them.

Bathroom: This is the room where your day gets started, but also where it ends, so bathroom lighting needs to be adaptable. Bright light gives you that extra energy you need to shake off sleep in the morning, but using calming, offset light as you get ready for bed can help you settle down for a good night’s sleep. Sconces are great for bathrooms because they can do both jobs. In the morning, used in tandem with overhead lights, they brighten the whole space – and your view of the mirror. Use them on their own at night for a more serene, glowing light.

Guest room: Giving your visitors a comfortable place to stay goes a long way toward making you the host with the most. Placing sconces on either side of a bed is a simple touch that makes a room much more comfortable – your guests can read by them and not have to worry about getting out of bed to shut off or turn on an overhead light.

Dining room: Here’s a secret from food stylists – your meals will look a lot prettier when they’re not presented under glaring direct light. Whether you’re hosting a dinner party, a cozy holiday meal or an at-home date night, sconces can provide the offset, glowy lighting that will set the atmosphere perfectly. Sconces are also great above a sideboard or credenza; set out an array of dishes, buffet style, and sconces will provide the perfect amount of extra lighting.

These ideas can get you started, but as you explore your options, consider how sconces can enhance other rooms in your home, from the kitchen to the living room and beyond.

Outdoor lighting design that does more than shine

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Way back when, all you needed for a backyard party was a little charcoal grill, some plastic cups, paper plates and bug spray. But today, outdoor entertaining is much more than that – it’s all about style and creating an ambience that your guests can savor and are sure to remember. Hosting warm-weather get-togethers doesn’t need to be complicated, though. In fact, one simple tip will go a long way in creating the perfect party environment.

So, what’s the secret? Create the perfect backdrop, then add to it.

Just as you wouldn’t pick out elements for your interior living room that clash and mismatch, you shouldn’t carelessly select unrelated items for your outdoor space. If you can tie into the overall aesthetic of your home’s exterior, so much the better.

There are a few key elements that every outdoor space needs: tables, seating, pots for plants and lighting. How you select and arrange those elements is central to creating a setting that’s more like an outdoor extension of your home, rather than any old patio in the neighborhood.

Outdoor lighting  is often an afterthought, but it should be front and center in your design process. It’s certainly a functional element – guiding your guests safely to and from your home and patio. It adds ambience to parties at dusk and after dark – plus it also presents an opportunity to create a cohesive look for your space.

For example, if you live in a classic bungalow, landscape lighting with a Mission or Craftsman touch, like the Kichler Cross Creek Path and Spread Light, will look great. Or, if your home has a classic Colonial look, the World Imports Revere Large Outdoor Wall Mount light would be the perfect complement. Paired with furniture and planters that have similar lines and character, and you’ll establish a design foundation that can be adapted to suit any soiree.

There are few things better than spending time outdoors when the weather’s at its finest. Utilize these tips and you’ll enjoy a season of sensational outdoor parties.