When selecting a lamp, consider its shade

When shopping online for lamps, we tend to look at certain styles to narrow down our search and choose the best option. But I’ve found that style is not the only factor we should consider. Choosing the right lamp shade is essential and can determine whether your lamp serves its purpose well.

More than likely, you aren’t just buying a lamp to use it as decor; you’re buying a lamp because you need light. The question is, however, what kind of light do you need? Are you planning to use your lamp for reading or other activities that require task lighting? Or do you want to add ambience and set a specific mood? Asking yourself these questions and pinpointing your reasons for needing a lamp will help you choose the right shade for your space.

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In my experience, both the shade’s thickness and color can contribute to the type of light it provides. Translucent shades in lighter colors will provide more light and are ideal for activities that require task lighting. If you’re buying a lamp for ambience, on the other hand, choose an opaque lamp shade in a darker color instead.

Now for the fun part: once you’ve determined what kind of lamp shade will provide the lighting your room needs, you can start searching for shades based on style. There are a lot of style choices you can make depending on your own preferences, but I would advise that you look for a smooth shade if your home is modern or contemporary. Pleated lamp shades, however, fit well into traditional or antique-style rooms.

In my opinion, the right lamp shade is both functional and stylish. Before you buy your next lamp, whether it’s a table lamp or one that sits on the floor, decide the type of lighting you desire and which shade will help you achieve it.

By Wendy Weinert

Lighten Up This Summer

Although home design evolves at a more leisurely pace than runway fashion, the 2014 Dallas Lighting Market tradeshow revealed an array of trends that mean big changes for the year ahead. And what better time than now—a season of renewal—to refresh your abode with cutting-edge lighting products and accessories? This season, be on the lookout for innovative technology and materials, new takes on tradition and playful explorations of scale and detail. Whether your home has a contemporary, transitional or traditional vibe, you’ll discover a wealth of on-trend luminaires for every style of décor. Check out some of our new favorites:

1. HAUTE TECH No longer the rising indie star, Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) are gaining mainstream super-fame as more lighting manufacturers start building elegant fixtures around the high-tech, energy-efficient module. Small-scale LEDs make it possible for designers to go beyond the boundaries of incandescent lamping in pursuit of sophisticated luminaires that provide illumination in ways that weren’t possible until now. Sonneman - Chromaglo Square Pendant   Consider Robert Sonneman’s Chromaglo Square Reflector LED Pendant, which simultaneously directs light downward from one LED source and upward from another, creating a balance of ambient and task illumination.   ALR-5563-DBRZ-INSTAL Justice Design Group’s Fusion Framed Rectangle LED Wall Sconce with dimmable LED is another great option. A bathroom-friendly wall fixture, it exudes warm light, dims down to 5%, and is rated for a seemingly infinite 50,000 hours. (Remember replacing burned-out bulbs? So 20th century.)

COMING SOON: After 30 years in the fan industry, Fanimation Fans is taking a new twist on technology with the launch of fanLink a universal ceiling fan remote control with Bluetooth capability that lets you control your fan(s) right from your smartphone. Once you take it for a spin, we suspect you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it.

Sonneman 16-light

Taking cues from mid-1960s artists ranging from George Segal to Laddie John Dill, lighting designers are transforming plexiglass, acrylic and other future-forward materials to create shapes and effects that are inconceivable with glass. Fusing LED-technology with intricate geometric compositions of white etched or clear crystal acrylic, Sonneman’s 16-Light Lattice Square Pendant is nothing less than a modern lighting masterpiece.

2. METAL MANIA The Industrial Revolution may be long gone, but its legend lives on large, turn-of-the-century industrial-style warehouse lights, smaller sconces and swing-arm lights. Hudson Valley Lighting’s Pelham collection fuses proto-contemporary lines with machine-age details to provide distinctive downlighting for kitchen islands, dining rooms and other spaces. Plus, it’s available in rich finishes, ranging from bold Aged Brass to smooth Satin Nickel, to complement a variety of interiors. Although Bitcoin dominated the buzz online, the gold standard prevails offline in luxe aged and hand-rubbed brass tones. Hudson Valley Lighting exercises the Midas touch with the retro-inspired Ashland flush mount fixture and the fanciful Amenia semi-flush mount—note its unique ring-and-rod suspension. Calais-CMYK And if you’re seeking a gilty pleasure, pun intended, the Calais Chandelier from Troy Lighting was meant for you. A combination of hand-crafted aged wood and distressed gold leaf, it adds just the right amount casual opulence to a spring makeover. 3. BOLD SCHOOL More is more, and these distinctive styles prove it through a convergence of big ideas and intricate details. Dolcetti Corbett Lighting’s award-winning Dolcetti collection features exotic shells, shimmering crystals and steel accents. Vertigo And its Vertigo family—dramatic spirals of hand-crafted iron—is designed to leave you dizzy in the best possible way. But even when Corbett minimizes the scale, they amp up the glamour. The Barcelona Silver and Gold Leaf Mini Pendant shimmers with the intensity of jewelry fashioned by a master, and it’s so fabulously ornamental, it becomes makes an undeniable statement. As a perennial industry innovator, Varaluz has acquired legendary status for eclectic designs, recycled content and unsurpassed hand-craftsmanship. With the introduction of the Wright Stuff Chandelier, Varaluz takes a simple concept (early aeroplanes) and elevates it sky-high. Flow And their new Flow collection unites rhythmic and organic shapes with two-tone finishes, creating a sense of fluid motion, even in stillness. A BRIGHTER EVERYDAY There’s nothing like new lighting to transform the way you see your home—and the way others see it, too. Explore these emerging technologies and innovative trends to find new ways to brighten up your home and your life. By Wendy Weinert

What’s Bright Now: 4 Ways to Add LED to Your Home

We’ve rounded up some great ideas to help you induct LED lighting into your abode—and the best part is that you don’t need to be an expert to tap into lighting industry’s coolest, cutting-edge technology. Here’s a short list of exciting new ways to update your living spaces with LED fixtures, from effortless and affordable to artistic and innovative.

1. Make the switch

Changing an ordinary household light bulb is just about the easiest task imaginable, and the same holds true with replacing common lamping options like incandescent or compact fluorescent with Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs). Once you make the trade, the benefits are endless.

LED Lightbulbs

LED light bulbs

Unlike traditional bulbs, which emit light and heat all directions, LEDs provide bright directional light while remaining cool to the touch. They’re available for all types of fixtures, ranging from ceiling, wall and portable luminaires to outdoor residential and landscape lighting. They use less energy and most last approximately 50 thousand hours before losing intensity. This means you could change a bulb once and—depending on usage—forget about it for the next 20 to 30 years.

2. Mix it up

Want to give a room an instant makeover? Update one or more of your lighting fixtures, and it will change the way you see the entire room.

Access Lighting Tungsten Brushed Steel LED Mini Pendant

Access Lighting Tungsten Brushed Steel LED Mini Pendant with Opal Glass

Access Lighting offers more than 300 pendant lights to choose from, including an abundant selection of energy-efficient LED options. A trio of mini-pendants—like the mini pendants from Access Lighting’s Tungsten series—could transform a kitchen island into an uber-functional modern workspace and spice up your décor. (You can’t go wrong with chic opal glass and a brushed steel finish).

 Justice Design Group LED Porcelina semi-flush ceiling light fixture

Justice Design Group LED Porcelina

With Justice Design Group, you can choose from a range of options—including shade material, shade finish and metal structure—to get a customized luminaire for any décor. To add a warm, gracious note to a cozy nook or dining room, a semi-flush mount from Justice Design Group’s Porcelina™ creates just the right effect. And now that dimmable LED is now an option for thousands of products offered by Justice Design, you can now adjust the light for a bright family brunch or a softly lit romantic dinner for two.

3. Go bold at home

Some fixtures illuminate. Others enlighten. Voilà!

Sonneman 16 Light Lattice Square Pendant

Sonneman 16 Light Lattice Square Pendant

Designers like modern lighting pioneer Robert Sonneman work with future-forward materials like acrylic to create new shapes and unexpected effects. Uniting LED-technology with a sculptural composition, Sonneman’s 16-Light Lattice Square Pendant transcends functionality to create a thoroughly modern artistic statement.

Corbett Illusion LED Sconce

Corbett Illusion Silver Leaf LED Sconce

As a two-time recipient of the coveted ARTS Award for “Lighting Manufacturer of the Year,” Corbett Lighting has achieved international renown for luminaires with elegant lines, stylized materials and jewelry-inspired details. The collection ranges from small yet glamorous LED-stunners like the Tango One-Light Pendant to others driven by opulent excess like this wall sconce from Corbett’s Illusion collection. Covered in Silver Leaf with Polished Stainless Accents, this six-light fixture’s a made-you-look-marvel that dazzles, even before you flip the switch.

4. Take it outside

Troy Bronze Deck Light

Troy Natural Bronze LED Micro Deck-Light

Once you’ve transformed your home’s interior, perhaps you’re ready to take on the biggest challenge—the exterior. A light at the front door is ubiquitous, and by adding additional LED fixtures to accentuate the architecture and landscape, your residence can shine with all the drama of a Rembrandt.

Troy Lighting has been making sophisticated and original hand-forged iron and solid brass fixtures since 1963. The G243 Bronze Deck-Light blends well with numerous design themes, making it a popular outdoor LED Micro-Light.

CSL LED Steplight

CSL LED Steplight

Illuminate your world, one step at a time.  One option is CSL’s LED Steplights Collection, which includes versatile designs and requires zero maintenance. They blend in seamlessly with nearly any environment, completely changing the way you see it.

By Wendy Weinert

 

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

Light your home like a pro with these 3 easy steps

Light your home like a pro with these 3 easy steps

Creating a lighting plan for a room is a lot different than simply replacing a light fixture or adding a new light source. When making a lighting plan, you are starting from scratch, which makes it that much more important to carefully consider the best way to get good lighting for your space. Make sure each room is properly lit by following these three steps.

Light your home like a pro with these 3 easy steps

1. Draw out a plan of your room

The setup of a room will largely influence where you will need the most light. Even if you don’t have the room furnished, map out where you intend to place furniture and accent décor. Then, pinpoint the areas where specific tasks will take place and pieces or architectural elements that you want to feature. This will not only give you an idea of where to place light fixtures, but also what type of light source is best suited for your needs. Be sure to take note of existing sockets in the room, which may influence where you can place lamps.

Light your home like a pro with these 3 easy steps

2. Consider connecting rooms/spaces

Even though every room requires a unique lighting plan, it’s important to factor the transition from room to room. You want to ease people into a space. A softly-lit room that connects to a bright hallway creates a harsh transition that neither you nor guests will appreciate.

 

Light your home like a pro with these 3 easy steps

3. Determine the style you hope to achieve

The light fixtures you choose should be functional, but that doesn’t mean they can’t also be stylish. A pendant light or sconce can have a huge impact on a room’s overall look, so consider what you want a fixture to do for your space and the style you hope to achieve. This will narrow down your list of options and make the shopping process easier.

Now that you know the style and type of light fixtures you need, you can finally start shopping! Give yourself plenty of time to browse different options so you can find the perfect light fixtures to match your room’s style and functional needs.

By Wendy Weinert

How your surrounds can effect learning

Lighting has to do a great deal with learning. As a matter of fact the University of Alabama has created a few tips in order to create the optimum environment for studying. It should come to no surprise, that lighting is a part of this formula. When it comes to music, there is no difference to this formula. A good environment and good lighting create a place where learning can flourish! Here is one piano teacher’s experience as she renovated her music studio…

88 Notes School of music before

88 Notes School of music before

88 Notes School of music before

88 Notes School of music before

As a business owner and more importantly a professional music teacher who strives to provide quality music education, it was important to me when I was creating an environment in my studio space that portrays a certain element of casual elegance. Through my teaching experiences as a classically trained pianist, I have learned that the environment in which learning occurs greatly affects students’ concentration, love of learning, and overall learning retention. I believe that you cannot ignore the education of times past, nor do I believe that I would be doing my students any favors by teaching only the classics and ignoring our current learning styles, technology and environment. Whereold meets new is where well balanced and well-rounded education occurs. Our learning space needs to reflect the old and new balance.

Beautiful Crystorama Olde Silver Three-Light Chandelier Bellacor #492099

Beautiful Crystorama Olde Silver Three-Light Chandelier Bellacor #492099

When I started working on the build-out for my new teaching space, I wanted an environment that reflected my teaching style and philosophy: classical elegance with a contemporary edge. I centered the design of my school around the lighting fixtures I chose – Crystorama fixtures which perfectly blend modern edges with antique simplicity! The clean design of the fixtures made designing the rest of the space simple. My school now reflects the elements of education that I stand for while maintaining the open creative space I desired.  I have incorporated classic antique pieces such as a century old book cabinet and sofa as and my half-century old piano with cutting edge computer & software along with fixture designs and flooring to blend the old and new. Current students and new clientele alike walk into my school and express the inviting atmosphere with delight. The lighting pieces truly made all the difference!

Wouldn’t you want to learn in this space?

MellisaAbout Mellisa Weinert, MAME, NCTM:
A nationally certified music teacher with a masters degree, Mellisa has a passion for instilling her love of music into others, no matter the age. Her philosophy is that music is for a lifetime and her goal is to nurture that love to everyone that she has the privilege to teach. She also has a definite style and viewpoint on how to create the best environment for the benefit of her students!

5 easy ways to get your living room ready for entertaining

When guests are coming over, it’s essential that your living room is prepared for entertaining. It doesn’t matter whether you’re hosting a large party or just having your closest friends over for drinks. The wrong living room set up can turn a promising evening into a disappointing dud. Here’s how to make sure your living room is ready for company so that the evening runs smoothly and everyone has a good time.

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interior design livingroom real estate home

interior design livingroom real estate home1. Create mood lighting – The right mood lighting should be dark enough so that everyone can feel relaxed and comfortable. It should also, however, be bright enough that your guests can still see! Use multiple light sources throughout the room and dim your overhead light so that it doesn’t feel too harsh.

Mambo

2. Set up furniture to create an intimate setting – While your furniture setup might be ideal for everyday living, it may not be the best arrangement for a party environment. Rearrange your furniture close together so that people can converse without straining themselves.

3. Allow room for movement – You want your guests to circulate! So as you’re rearranging your furniture, keep in mind that while you want to create an intimate setting, the room should also have clear paths so guests can easily move about. If the room isn’t setup for movement, your guests might feel stuck in one place all night.

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Photo credit: Everydayelsie

4. Have a drink station – Even though you’re the host, you shouldn’t have to be in the kitchen all night making drinks. With a drink station set up in your living room, you can either let your guests help themselves, or serve them drinks without having to leave all of the fun.

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5. Make sure your space is clutter-free – You’ve already deep-cleaned the living room, but it’s easy for miscellaneous items to somehow make their way back. The day of the party, be sure to do one final check to make sure everything is neatly organized and put away in the right spot.

Throwing a good party takes some planning and strategic decorating. On the night of the event, however, all your hard work will pay off and your party will be a smashing success.

By Wendy Weinert

11 Problems with Lighting

Photo By: chris.corwin (Flickr)

Photo By: chris.corwin (Flickr)

When it comes to interior design, lighting is an element that often gets overlooked. I have walked into a room many times and felt that something was a little off; the couches look good, the fabric of the curtains hangs nicely against the wall, and the rug is the perfect size, but something is missing. A quick scope of the lights, and there is my answer. Lighting ties a room together. It is the beginning and final touches of a room. When designing a room, problems with lighting can arise. Sometimes you can’t get it to electrically work, and often it simply does not work in a room. Here are 11 problems that are often found in a room.

Lighting in all the Wrong Places

I could have twenty different lights in the same room, but if they aren’t placed correctly, it might end up dark in the place I need the light the most. This is often a struggle when a room is wired electrically wrong.

Unsightly Lighting

If a light is ugly it doesn’t matter how bright it shines or where it hangs; it will be continue to be an eyesore. Read about these awful light-fixtures and why they should never have been hung in these rooms.

No Task Light in the Kitchen

The kitchen is where I cook, and it is so frustrating when the upper cabinets block the light from my working space. Learn about how installing lighting under your cabinets adds function with a touch of style.

No Dimmers

My mood changes throughout the day and a dimmer makes it easy to adjust the feel of a room. I have to have a dimmer in the family room. Being able to lower the lights while watching a movie is important. Adding a dimmer, along with these other lighting tips, will get your house glowing in the right way.

Too Many Recessed Lights

I love using can lights in a room, but when they are the only thing lighting a room it can feel dark. Recessed lights make it difficult for the light to escape and stretch out in the room. Read more about using too many recessed lights along with five other lighting mistakes in a home.

Energy Wasters

The biggest thing I look at when remodeling or designing any room is creating a room that is stunning and functional. Too many people jump on a design they love without thinking about the comfort or cost in the long run. Selecting energy-efficient lights can save energy and money while still giving the desired look.

Electrical Problems

If you are changing light-bulbs constantly or watching the bulb flicker, you are probably experiencing electrical problems. Read about the most common electrical problems and whether your little problem is actually a big one.

Lacking Variety

Don’t get too excited and start hanging all your favorite lights in the same room. Having variety is important, but this applies to the entire house. The kitchen, bathroom, and family room all serve a very different purpose. Lights should play a role in helping that room be functional.

Misuse of Natural Light

Natural light can play a huge part in lighting a room during the day. Embracing it can make a room completely bright without turning on any switches.

No Accent Lighting

I absolutely love accent lights in interior design. Using it around artwork, along stairs, and under cabinets in the kitchen and bathrooms are a few of my favorite places to see the little lights glowing.

Too Many Lights

I have talked about how less is more, and it applies to lighting as well. Having too many different lights can be overwhelming and distracting. Position a couple of lights appropriately can give the same effect and provide an equal amount of brightness as hanging several lights; it also can save money on your electric bill.

by Wendy Weinert

Party-ready your Home with these 3 Lighting Tips

LivingRoom_Chandelier_Milano

You’ve rearranged your furniture, cleaned every inch of your home, created a playlist, and picked out your party outfit. All you need to do now is set the mood with a great lighting strategy. Lighting can have a huge impact on a room’s ambience, which means it can also have a pretty big effect on your party. Set just the right mood and make your party a night to remember by following these three lighting tips.

Elegant dining

1. Keep lighting low: While you might appreciate having your overhead light turned on during the day, the bright light can feel a little harsh during a party. Consider switching out your light bulbs for ones with lower watts. Or, install dimmer switches so you can create a darker setting at a moment’s notice. You also have the option to just leave your overhead lighting off, and use indirect lighting instead.

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2. Use multiple light sources: Creating the right amount of lighting can be tricky. While you want to keep the lighting low, it’s important that you also prevent certain areas of the room from becoming too dark.

Using multiple light sources throughout the room will allow you to keep all areas of your space lit just right. Lighting options you might consider include hanging up a string of lights, turning on lamps, lighting candles, installing a dimmed chandelier and displaying wall sconces.

Anora_Collection

3. Accentuate interesting elements: Mood lighting tends to hide the imperfections in your home such as a stain on your carpet or a scratched cabinet. You can also, however, use accent lighting to highlight décor or architectural elements you want to show off. Place lights strategically behind plants and furniture for a dramatic look. A well-placed wall sconce can be used to enhance a piece of artwork you want your guests to notice.

Every party needs a little mood lighting to make the evening feel more special. Try using these lighting tips in your own home and your home will be party-ready in no time!

By Wendy Weinert

Changes to the lighting industry: How will it affect you?

The final stage of the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) went into effect on Jan. 1, 2014, which means traditional 60 watt and 40 watt bulbs are no longer being produced. Instead, manufacturing companies must make bulbs that produce the same amount of lumens for less wattage. But what does all of this mean exactly and how does it affect you? How does this effect the fixtures in your home?

Overall, this act means that you will start saving energy and money, which of course is good news for you! The new energy-saving bulbs use up to 80 percent less power than a traditional 60 watt bulb to produce the same amount of light. They also last longer. So even though these new bulbs are more expensive, you end up saving money in the long run because of lower energy bills and fewer replacements.
bulbs

Buying light bulbs is now easier too. In the past, you always had to look at watts to determine which bulb you wanted. Watts, however, only tell you how much energy a bulb uses, not how bright the bulb is. Instead of listing watts, new bulb labels will tell you exactly how bright a bulb is by providing the number of lumens. Just remember, the more lumens a bulb has, the brighter the light.

Lumens
When shopping for new energy-saving bulbs, use this conversion chart as a guide:

  • 150 w = 2600 lm
  • 100 w = 1600 lm
  • 75 w = 1100 lm
  • 60 w = 800 lm
  • 40 w = 450 lm

The new label on bulb packages follows the same format as the ones you see all of the time on food products. To make shopping online easier for you, Bellacor will start uploading the Lighting Facts Label as an alternate image on all Bulbrite bulbs. Besides lumens, this label will tell you an estimate of energy cost, an estimate of how long the bulb will last, the shade of light and whether the bulb contains mercury.

Lighting facts Label
Change can make people feel uncomfortable at times, but in this case change is a good thing. There’s a lot to love about these new energy-saving bulbs and you don’t have to buy special fixtures to enjoy them! Even dimmers are compatible with many of these energy-saving bulbs. Finally, you can enjoy having a well-lit home while still being efficient and cost-effective.

Learn more about these light facts at Energy.gov5 Myths about the Light Bulb Ban

By Wendy Weinert