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)


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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


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.


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.


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.

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.

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

How Low Can Lighting Go?

Photo by: joe.oconnell (Flickr)

Photo by: joe.oconnell (Flickr)

Lighting is the soul of a room. It takes a space and gives it energy. Using different lights and layering them together doesn’t only lighten a room, it gives it depth and style. One classic light is the dimmer. Interior designers love to add dimmers to many rooms, and it’s no surprise why. I personally prefer to have dimmers as I am able to control how bright a room is at any given time. They can create and change the mood of the room with the touch of a button. Dimmers not only add dimension to a room, but many save energy and money too.

  • How to Light Any Room Lighting should be planned out and layered in a way to add contrast and effect to each area of the home. This article covers the room and what type of lighting should be added along with which rooms work best with dimmers.
  • The Formula for Lighting a Room There literally is a formula for how much light needs to be in a room depending on its square footage. This article covers the rooms and types of light that should be in each one.
  • Bedroom Lighting The bedroom should be a relaxing room, but people’s mood are constantly changing. Dimmers are a great way to control the overall feel and light in a bedroom.
  • Lighting the Controlling Factor If there is one great thing about dimmers, it is its ability to control an entire room’s feel with the twist or touch of a button.

There are many different dimmer designs and you can add one to almost any light and room. Using adjustment lights in a formal dining room allows you to easily slide or turn the light lower for a romantic evening meal. Remote switches are an excellent way to dim the lights for watching TV in a family or entertainment room. If you have ever woken up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom, there is nothing like getting blinded by bright lights. Indicator dimmers are easy to turn on and keep the light low and easy on your eyes.

  • Types of Dimmer Switches You can control the lights with a remote or can even automatically dim. Choosing the type of dimmer depends on convenience, style, and your personal preference.
  • Luxurious Modern Lighting Living Room Decorating Ideas Dimmers add a dramatic effect to a room while saving money. Many professional decorators love to incorporate dimmers into a room to change the environment.
  • Designers’ Simplest Makeover Ideas While covering simple design makeover tips, this article also talks about how designers often spend a small amount to add a dimmer to a room to change the entire mood.

There is a little debate about whether dimmers actually do save you money or not. Older ones often use the same amount of energy despite emitting very low light. However, most new dimmers are designed to save energy. These ones prevent excess energy from going through the circuit. This can cut your electric bill down substantially. To preserve energy, dimmers cause the lights to flicker. You can’t see the flicker with your eyes because of how fast it goes on and off. This saves energy which over time saves you money. For the money you can save, adding dimmers to a room is an affordable way to add a soft but dramatic touch to any room.

  • Dimmers Save Energy and Money By adding a dimmer to a room, you save wattage and output energy. This will cut back on your electric bill every month if you keep rooms dimmed.
  • Do Dimmer Switches Save Energy? Newer dimmers save energy as they prevent excess energy from going to the light bulb. This gives you a little incentive to dim down the lights for a romantic night.
  • Saving Energy With Dimmer Switches An excellent article that goes into depth on how dimmers work and the flickering they create to save energy.

by Wendy Weinert

Adding Elegance and Charm with a Chandelier

Overall, there is one dominating, ongoing lifestyle motto: “Better and best, not more or most.” This continues to impact lighting design and trends in crystal lighting. Crystal chandeliers are growing in popularity due to the variety of designs available, ability to blend into both traditional and contemporary environments, and their meaningful and emotional value.


Schonbek Chandelier

Traditionally, homeowners add grandeur to their home by placing chandeliers in common areas. Homeowners enjoy the ambiance of a chandelier among their guests in entertaining areas such as, living rooms, foyers, and dining rooms. However, with the introduction of new chandelier styles and colors, homeowners feel inspired to place chandeliers in more personal spaces such as bedrooms, closets, bathrooms, or kitchens.


Chandeliers add a sense of elegance and mood to any space. Although you still see a majority of crystal chandeliers in foyers and dining rooms, the use of crystal chandeliers has expanded.  We have seen crystal chandeliers migrate into the bedroom, kitchens, even walk-in closets and bathrooms. With new styles, the possibilities are endless!


Schonbek Chandelier

Due to technological advancements, there is diversification in lighting manufacturing capabilities. The inclusion of crystal in these designs coupled with the most surprising materials and lighting technology is a trend that will continue well into the future. Crystal remains a key ingredient in cutting-edge lighting design; new and unexpected crystal applications are being designed and used. The illuminated candles and brilliant sparkle of crystal chandeliers provides multiple light points and creates a vivid, less static environment. From this, beautiful functionality warms the atmosphere of the room.


A home is a place for rejuvenation and comfort. Each room in your home is touched by personal items that evoke emotion and reflect your individual style. When decorating your interior, meaningfully objects that shape the space around you are essential. As well, there is a growing sense of timeless value expressed through carefully considered investments that correspond to a more sober and austere lifestyle.


A Schonbek chandelier, proudly made in the U.S., promises an expression of calm elegance, with its delicately handcrafted metalwork and precious crystals. With various application potential, a Schonbek chandelier can beautifully contrast a modern interior or perfectly complement a traditional room. No matter the application, each authentic Schonbek masterpiece shines with its own special character and will illuminate generations to come.


Schonbek Chandelier

A Swarovski chandelier is an object of atmospheric beauty achieved through the very best of today’s design innovation. As if by magic, a Swarovski chandelier creates awe and is certain to surprise as it takes crystal and light to dazzling new heights. It captures and communicates a broad spectrum of styles and desires ideal for residential and hospitality environs alike, fulfilling the highest technical standards of modern illumination.



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Choosing Wisely: How to Select the Right Chandelier for Your Home

A chandelier, suspended over the dining table, not only serves as an ornate decorative element that creates an elegant atmosphere, it can also be the focal point of the room.  A dimmable chandelier can create different moods, from a soft glowing atmosphere to one that is bright and conducive to a variety of tasks.  Choosing the right chandelier for a room can be tricky, as a variety of considerations come into play.  Aside from choosing the most visually appealing chandelier design for the space, the size of the room, the size of the table, the mounting height, and the wattage are all important to consider.

  • Size of the Room: Fitting the chandelier to the proportions of the room will help significantly in enhancing the visual appeal of the space.  Simply add the length and width of the room in feet to get the diameter of the chandelier in inches.  For example, a 12-by-20 foot room would ideally need an approximately 32-inch chandelier like the Aberdeen by Hudson Valley Lighting, which features lofty stems and rich, pleated fabric shades for a contemporary appeal.


  • Size of the Table: Of key importance when it comes to choosing a chandelier is the size of your dining table.  A good rule of thumb to follow is to measure the table’s smallest width and then choose a chandelier that is 12-inches less in diameter than that width.  Access Lighting offers plenty of versatility when matching to different table designs and features laser cut metal and frosted glass for a contemporary/modern look.


  • Mounting Height: When it comes to the mounting height, the key thing to remember is that the bottom of the chandelier should not interfere with the movement or sight line of the people sitting at the table.  In most cases, the measurement should be 36-inches from the top of the table.  It’s simple to adjust the mounting height with a fixture like the Inertia by Corbett Lighting, which impresses with crystal and polished stainless prisms, and a silver leaf finish.


  •  Wattage:  When it comes to wattage, the total wattage of all the chandelier bulbs should be 200-400 watts to provide sufficient light.  However, keep in mind that shading affects the maximum wattage of a chandelier.  Ideally, a dimmer switch should be used to control the wattage and create the desired mood and atmosphere.

Follow the simple guidelines above to achieve exceptional results when choosing a chandelier for your home.