Architectural Lights made easy

At night, the lights turn on and the city comes alive. One of my favorite things about visiting different cities is experiencing what they look like at night. Las Vegas is a city that has architectural lighting down, with exploding colors. It seems to be as bright at night as it is during the day. From glowing arches and colorful fountains to buildings draped in an artistic design, cities around the world are using lighting to stand out from the rest. Architectural lighting is what illuminates commercial buildings with color and style. It is not something designers just slap together; it is thought out and arranged in specific patterns to create the desired effect. Lighting can be expensive, and a professional not only wants the outside of a building to look good, but they work to fit it in a budget while still keeping the energy bill down. Lights can make a huge impact on your building and create positive exposure of your location and business. With a little study, planning, and work, you can add architectural lighting to a commercial or even residential building without breaking the budget or overworking your brain.

Photo by Moyan Brenn (Flickr)

Photo by Moyan Brenn (Flickr)

Design

Before buying any lights for a building, you are going to have to make some design decisions. I love lighting that screams for attention, but it doesn’t work for every business or building. Decide on what you want your building to “feel” like. I know that seems silly, but subtle lights around the corners and landscaping can give the feeling of peace. Bright lights that are filled with colors might signify action and adventure. Other buildings need lights to keep the outdoors lit while people are working; spotlights will help employees feel comfortable and safe.

Budget

We would all love to add as many lights and accessories as we envision, but sometimes the final decision is left to the budget. Choose what lights are necessary first. Depending on what time of day your building is most occupied, you might need to focus on night lights or accent day lights. Once you have figured out the necessary areas, you can then begin adding extra lights to darker areas or to advertise your building. I know for my home, having my walkway lit is important, but adding lights under the roof line is an added bonus if the budget allows for it.

Map it Out

Once you have figured out the budget and type of lights you want, it is time to map it out. This will help you recognize areas where lighting is needed most; doors and walkways will need the most lighting. Arrange the lights to cover all darkened areas, and slowly trace back to add architectural lights to increase curb appeal and add that little extra something.

Night Lights

Night lights serve multiple purposes; some lights are used to prevent break-ins, while others help guide people to the door and keep the area safely lit. For buildings that are open at night, adding bright architectural lights can helps direct customers your way. When you think about big cities, night lights can be everything to make a commercial building stand out and look alive.

Day Lights

Lights during the day might sound a little like overkill, but adding them under the building roof line helps people feel comfortable and know the business is open. Creating lights that can be used both at night and during the day is a great way to get the benefits of both on a tight budget. Getting help from a professional is the easiest way to ensure complete visibility, style, and curb appeal on a budget.

By Wendy Weinert

Get A Timeless Look with Luxury Items

Keeping up with the newest design trends every couple years is a hassle and expensive. Save yourself some money and invest in a sophisticated look that is timeless instead. Designing a look that lasts is easy with the right selection of luxury items!

Hinkley

Although homeowners want a luxurious home, they tend to shy away from “luxury” items.  Investing in a couple quality items, however, can instantly transform a room’s look. Plus, luxury items won’t become worn or need to be replaced right away like the cheaper alternatives. Try stepping up the style in these rooms with luxury items:

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Living room

With just a couple of items, you can make a casual living room appear more formal. Cover your hard wood floor – or even your carpet – with a hand tied area rug. Rugs that are designed with intricate patterns and rich colors will give your space that one-of-a-kind look, without going out of style.

Hang a decorative chandelier in the living room to give the space a beautiful and majestic look. A chandelier is dramatic and has the power to make an ordinary room look exceptional. Guests will be in awe when they first step into the room.

Vigo Undermount Stainless Steel Kitchen Sink

Vigo Undermount Stainless Steel Kitchen Sink

Kitchen

Just because the kitchen is where you prepare food, doesn’t mean it can’t be luxurious! To give your kitchen a new sophisticated look, invest in a stainless steel sink that is made of lower gauge. Lower gauge numbers means thicker and better quality stainless steel.

Photo Credit: Divine Kitchen LLC

You can also give the kitchen ambience by installing LED lighting underneath the cabinets. You’ll be amazed at the difference new lighting can make.

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Master bedroom

There’s nothing quite like the look and feel of a luxurious hotel room. To give your bedroom the same style, invest in quality décor like high-end wallpaper. High-end wallpaper won’t fade or become worn as easily as the typical selection and offers more diverse looks than paint. You can also cover your bed with a soft, stylish down comforter for a good night’s sleep. Every night will feel like a vacation in your new lavish room.

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Bathroom

The bathroom should have a relaxed feel that will help you wind down after a long day at work. To create a soft glow in the bathroom and give it a spa-like look, install stylish lights fixtures on the wall. Even the little details such as the drawer pulls and faucet fixtures you choose can have a huge impact in bathroom style.

Give your home a timeless look and invest in some luxury items that last!

 

Author

A Spotlight on Energy Efficiency in the Bathroom

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Access Lighting Vail Brushed Steel One-Light Medium Wall and Vanity Light

Bathroom lighting can be tricky. We spend a rather significant amount of time in this often-forgotten part of the house, and yet its design doesn’t possess the elegant grandeur or thoughtful comfort of the dining or living rooms. Bathroom lighting needs to be bright enough to catch blemishes, flattering enough that it won’t prevent you from leaving the house, and soft enough to evoke relaxation during bath time. Plus, fixtures have to be approved for damp environments. You may never use the den or grand dining room, but a day doesn’t go by when you don’t use the bathroom (if all goes well). We turn those lights on and off multiple times a day – why not also make them energy efficient?

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It’s thrilling how far energy efficient lighting has come in terms of design aesthetic and light quality. Most energy efficient lighting uses either LED lights or compact fluorescent bulbs (CFL) instead of the old familiar incandescent bulb. The difference in energy use of these newer developments from the classic light bulb is remarkable.

Take LEDs. “Light emitting diodes” started out as tiny single bulbs used for electronics, but, due to their efficiency and flexibility, creative designers have been grouping these bulbs together in new and interesting ways, creating warm, radiant – and efficient – lighting fixtures. A beautiful example is Nuvo’s Raindrop. Combining polished nickel and Lucite, the fNuvoLightingRaindropixture has slightly retro styling with very contemporary electronics. Raindrop uses three 4-watt LED modules. Wattage is often mistakenly equated with light output, but, actually, watts refer to the quantity of energy used to illuminate the bulb. Instead of wattage, LEDs are measured in “lumens,” which refers instead to the amount of light emitted. The Raindrop uses about 12 watts, but gives off about 870 lumens. You’d need 60 watts of incandescent light to give off the same brightness. Go with LEDs and you’re using less than a quarter the amount of energy! Not only that, but they last longer – an average LED bulb will be going strong for 50,000 hours – compare that with an incandescent’s quick little life span of 1,200. A fixture like the Raindrop or Access Lighting’s sleek and minimal 31003LEDD will not only save you money on your energy bill, it’ll save you time changing light bulbs.

ElectricityBillBulbs(EmilyWilde)

PhotoCredit: Pegasus Lighting Blog

Even if you’re satisfied with your current bathroom fixture, it’s easy to snag a little more efficiency simply by switching out the old incandescent for a CFL bulb. Placed somewhere between LEDs and incandescents in terms of efficiency, you can generally get about 8,000 hours of use per compact fluorescent (compared with 50,000 for LEDs and 1,200 for an incandescent). Their old reputation for harsh bright light no longer stands (we’d never recommend that for the bathroom!). CFLs measure brightness in Kelvins – choose a CFL that offers 2700-300K and you’ll find the same warmth of a traditional incandescent, but use about a quarter of the wattage.

So take some time to give your bathroom a little love – and save some money and the environment by switching to energy efficient lighting options.

5 things you might not know about LED lighting

You’ve surely heard the hubbub about getting rid of old-style incandescent light bulbs and switching to more eco-friendly, energy-efficient bulbs to light your home. The hype has started for good reason – lights like LEDs really are longer-lasting and more efficient, and come in a multitude of shapes and sizes. But many people are still reluctant to make the switch.

Photo Credit: Corbett Lighting

If you’re curious about LED lighting, but not sure about making the transition, here are five key things you need to know.

LED_Bulb

1. What are LEDs, anyway? LED stands for “light emitting diode” and it’s those diodes that make the lights different from traditional incandescent and CFL bulbs, which contain filaments inside a glass bulb. The LED “bulb” contains tiny light sources or lenses that illuminate when an electrical current passes through a semiconductor within the bulb.

2. Do LED bulbs really last longer? Yes, they do! One LED bulb can have a life of 100,000 hours. Compare that to the average life span of a traditional incandescent light – just 750 hours.

3. Are LEDs actually eco-friendly? It’s not just a sales tactic – LEDs use less energy (less demand on the environment), last longer (fewer bulbs to throw away) and contain no toxic materials. They’re even recyclable.

4. LEDs are only for small fixtures, right? Nope! LED light fixtures have come a long way in recent years, and homeowners with a strong sense of taste can rejoice – virtually any style of fixture is now available in an LED version. So from your living room chandelier to the pendants above your kitchen bar, LEDs can light the way – and do it beautifully.LED_OutdoorPostLantern

5. Can LEDs be used outside? Absolutely! Whether you’re lighting up a pathway to your patio space or welcoming your guests to your front door, outdoor LED light fixtures will do the task – and save you the headaches of having to replace bulbs on a regular basis.

Pretty as a picture: Options for lighting up your art collection

A house with bare walls doesn’t have a whole lot of personality. Photos, paintings and other art objects tell a story about who you are, where you’ve been and what you value – they’re what make a home uniquely yours. But if they languish unseen in dark corners, your works of art can easily go unnoticed. Using the right lighting strategies, though, you can really make them shine.

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Picture lighting: For framed works of art, whether it’s a portrait from your wedding day or an heirloom painting passed down through the generations, picture lighting is a top choice. The most common form is a bar-shaped fixture, mounted to the wall, which shines down on the picture. It’s the perfect choice for inviting visitors to really take a close look at the works of art on your walls, and for highlighting the intricate details in an image. Picture lighting is available in a range of styles, from sleek and contemporary, to elegant and traditional.

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Track lighting: If you’re a collector building a gallery wall of art, track lighting is a versatile option that allows you to highlight numerous artworks with just one fixture. Track lighting can also be ideal for small spaces with art on multiple walls – simply angle the fixtures in different directions to cast light on key pieces.

Ledra_Matte_Chrome_RecessedRecessed lighting: The most unobtrusive lighting option, recessed lighting is also useful in drawing attention to art that thinks outside the frame, like sculptures, textiles or collectible objects. Built into the ceiling, recessed lights can be placed wherever you need them, and can shine straight down or at an angle, depending on whether you choose stationary or swiveling fixtures. As the Wall Street Journal, reported, what a great option for your recessed lighting needs.

Vickerman and Holiday Decor

I know that it isn’t even Halloween yet, and the Holidays are not something that you want to start thinking about.  There are, after all, still 65 days left to shop.  But if think about it, there is a lot less time to shop for your Holiday décor if you want your home to be decorated in time for all of the celebrating!  Only 36 more days until Thanksgiving is over and the Christmas motif comes out—at which time you better be ready to decorate!

Bellacor has over 1,100 holiday items in their Seasonal Decor category. Come browse our selection for décor to fit your needs and get ready to save with weekly promotions offered throughout the month.

In addition, enter to win up to $500 in Vickerman Holiday product in our first-of-the-season Holiday contest sponsored by Vickerman.  Vickerman specializes in a wide variety of artificial trees, wreaths and garland for your home.  Visit Bellacor before November 8, 2010 to sign up for your chance to win!  Good luck!!