Insider Solutions

Light Up Your Home To Light Up Your Life

"What to do about lighting?� is the question every client asks me. They want to know: "Do I buy lamps, install track lighting, have recessed cans put in the ceiling, use up-lights, indirect lights or cable lights? What’s the difference between halogen bulbs and incandescent bulbs?

Lighting, magically, makes everything in a room come alive, so it’s important to place lights strategically. You can create much with lighting. All color is affected by light, so the kind of lighting, bulb or lamp will make a huge difference in the color and feel of your rooms. Lighting also affects mood and brings style and personality to an environment. You can have tranquility or excitement with a flick of a switch.

There is no one answer. You have to decide the effect you want to create in your home. Builders understand the importance of lighting and are providing recessed canned lights, which are flush with the ceiling; however, they don’t provide very many. Add more cans in strategic areas where lighting is beneficial and create the effect you want to achieve.

Bulbs: Incandescent or halogen? The glow from incandescent bulbs gives off a yellow light. Halogen bulbs throw off a white light. White light doesn’t change the true color of the environment, such as fabrics, wall coverings and flooring. Yellow light adds warmth. Lenses can also be changed to control the spread of the light.

Today, MR16s (small halogen bulbs) are being used to highlight and spot a particular area or object. These same bulbs are also used in the popular pendant lights, which hang down from a wire over a specific area. The shades/globes of pendant lights are usually made of glass and come in a variety of designs and colors.

Halogen gives off more heat, which needs to be considered if you are standing under it - particularly if you use halogen in the kitchen. Place these lights in soffits or just over the work areas. If you have an area where heat control is necessary, you can use fluorescents, which do not give off much heat. This also provides the effect of all-over lighting, which is more functional.

Switches: I’m a great believer in using as many as possible and is practical - it’s a great way to save money, particularly if you have installed several ceiling lights. Switching lights individually gives versatility and is cost-efficient. The more you separate the lights and give them their own switches, the greater the choice you have in putting light where it is needed or wanted.

Lighting can be glaring so you might want to include dimmer switches. They control the amount of light you want in a room and often add a wonderful mood.

Lamps: When choosing a lamp, consider design, size and proportion, as well as color and material. Shades come in many colors and with trims such as beads or glass. Ask yourself: Is the lamp making a fashion statement or is it an art object? Of course, whatever you choose has to go with or accent the style of the room.

Up-lights: Up-lights on timers can be used to highlight plants and artwork. The drama of up-lights is also a surprise feature. Because people don’t customarily expect lighting on the floor, it adds a new dimension to the room. It also creates designs on your ceiling.

Remember, rooms have no feelings, YOU do! So light up your life!

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