Let There Be Light: Light Up Your Living Room with These 5 Hacks

Light Up Your Living Room with These 5 Hacks

You know how professional decorators say that focal points are the most significant things in the room? Well, if you apply that to the bigger picture, you’ll understand that living rooms represent the focal point of your whole house. That being said, the place that’s in the center of attention, where you spend most of your time and the place you use to spend quality time with your friends and family, deserves special attention. And what’s a better way to give a room that special something than to shower it with some light? Lighting plays a major role in interior design and these few tips will give you a proper insight on how to light up your living room accordingly.

Create the Perfect Ambiance

A living room should always radiate with a certain kind of emotion; it needs to exude warmth, hospitality and an overall inviting atmosphere. This is where ambient lighting comes in. The sole goal of this lighting system is to create a suitable environment to dwell in and it accomplishes this through the use of stylish chandeliers, valance lighting, ceiling lights as well as recessed lights. There’s a wide array of ambient lights available and all you have to do is choose the style according to the style of your living room.

Light Up Your Living Room with These 5 Hacks

Accentuate Certain Features

After you set the right mood, the next step is giving your living room a bit of structure. The best way to achieve this is by using accent lighting in order to put the focus on specific elements in the room. In most cases, accent lighting is used to illuminate certain architectural features, artistic elements, as well as specific areas and places in the room. In order for this type of lighting to be effective, it needs to be much brighter than surrounding lights, which is why adjustable lights and dimmers always go hand in hand.

Light Up Your Living Room with These 5 Hacks

Give It a Dose of Charm

Lighting features aren’t used solely for providing sufficient amounts of light, but also to give your room a specific dose of charm. Lamps are often used as decorative objects, which is why a stylish floor or table lamp always finds a way into a living space, while an extravagant chandelier usually makes a nice addition. Pendant lights are also quite a favorable choice when thinking about embellishing the room and you can always decide to add a bit of color by choosing bulbs in different hues.

Don’t Ignore Your Tasks

Every living room needs to have a designated reading nook. Sometimes, these spaces that are reserved solely for reading, painting or any similar activity, require brighter lighting. This is why proper lighting is a very important part of these small areas in the living room and it’s also the reason why task lighting exists. These are mostly adjustable lamps with LED bulbs which give you a direct light source and help you get a clear visual of the task in front of you.

Light Up Your Living Room with These 5 Hacks

Helpful Details

There are other significant aspects of lighting up a room that need to be considered. First of all, it’s important to know a good emergency electrician who’s competent enough to handle the entire electrical system in the house. Second, the type of bulb is an important aspect of proper lighting and in recent years, LED bulbs have become much more favorable than traditional, incandescent bulbs. The last thing to keep in mind is the importance of natural lighting and possible solutions on how to introduce more sunshine in your home.

Light Up Your Living Room with These 5 Hacks

With so many different lighting systems and options, sometimes it can be difficult to achieve a desired atmosphere in the living room. The goal is to learn how to consolidate all these different lighting options into one entirety and create a soothing and balanced setting.

 

 

 

Most popular home lighting mistakes

Appropriate lighting in a home is very important for both functionality and aesthetics. Unfortunately, trying to get the lighting right in your house can be a very complicated task, because the light can turn out to be too bright, too dark or in wrong color temperature. Also the light fixtures themselves can look inappropriate or odd in your space. So to make it a little easier for you to choose the lighting for your home, here are some of the most popular lighting mistakes that you should never make.

Most popular home lighting mistakes

Installing only overhead (ambient) lighting

Most people choose to install only ambient lighting in their homes, but interior designers recommend using three different types of lighting – ambient, accent and task lighting. Ambient lighting is the one that gives overall light to the room, and it is usually achieved by placing one or multiple overhead light fixtures all over the room. Accent lighting is used to emphasize some specific characteristics of a house for example, shelves, paintings or other wall decor. But task lighting is lights that are used to perform specific tasks, for example, it can be a desk lamp for doing paperwork or a nightlight next to your bed for reading. And combining these three types of lights will ensure sufficient lighting for everything and anything.

Most popular home lighting mistakes

Choosing the wrong light for the coloring of your rooms

What many people don’t know is that you should match your light to the colors in your interior, because colors of your walls and other design elements can severely change how you perceive the color of your lighting.

Black color absorbs light, but white reflects it light, blue color absorbs the red tones, but red – the blues. And that means that white-yellow light, which will have the color temperature of around 3,000 Kelvins, will make red, orange, and yellow tones more vivid in your interior, while blue-white colored light (with the color temperature around 6,500 Kelvins) will enhance the blues and the greens, but will mute warmer tones. So, depending on what mood you want to create in your space, you should choose the appropriate color of your light sources.

Using wrong color temperature lights

The color temperature of a light source also often is chosen wrongly. Beside the lamp itself, there are many factors that can determine the appropriate light color temperature for each room, for example, the dimensions of the space, the owner’s preferences and the feel that the owner is going for in their home. On top of that, each room also has different lighting needs and expectations, and you should consider all of this before you pick up your light bulbs.

How to figure out what type of color temperature lights will work best for you? Well the easiest way to do this is to figure out if you want your room to feel bright and awake, or you want a more cozy vibe in your space. If the former is true, then buy blue-white bulbs, but if you like your house warm and homey, then chose warm-white bulbs, that will help you achieve that.

Most popular home lighting mistakes

Installing the wrong size light fixtures

It is very important to choose appropriate size light fixtures to keep the balance in your space. Light fixtures that are too small for your space, like recessed lights or small accent lights can create a very cheap look, to your room, if they aren’t used correctly. At the same time, lamps that are too big, like solar outdoor lights or big chandeliers can make your room look disproportional.

The best method how to choose appropriate size light fixtures, so they look good in your space as well as provide enough illumination, is by creating a simple cardboard light model and hanging it up, because this way you will be able to see if it fits in the rooms interior or not.

Not thinking about wattage of your lights

Lastly, most people simply doesn’t consider how much watts their lighting uses to light each room and end up with huge electricity bills. So to solve this, you should first figure out what is the optimal brightness of light in each room in your home, and then buy your light bulbs according to these requirements. For example, you don’t usually need that bright of a light in your bedroom, so 800 lumen bulbs will provide enough illumination. But for your living room you should go for around 1,600 lumen output lights, because they will ensure that you have sufficient lighting to perform different everyday tasks.

But where does wattage comes in? Well, wattage is the thing you need to consider once you know what brightness bulbs you need. And it will come into play when you will be choosing between incandescent, fluorescent or LED bulbs, because each of these bulbs consumes different amount of watts while producing the same amount of light. For example, both a 100-watt incandescent and 16-watt LED bulbs will produce enough light to illuminate your living room. So you chose which type of light you want to buy.

Proper lighting in your home means that not only it will be lot easier to do different tasks because you will have sufficient lighting, but also that your home will have the right atmosphere. So no matter if you are designing a brand new lighting setup or just want to tweak your existing lighting situation, take some time to read these home lighting mistakes and to think about how to make sure that you are not making them in your house.

 
Authors bio: Arthur Smith is a blogger, efficient lighting enthusiast and solar power aficionado. He has been working in the lighting and solar industries for most of his life, and now shares his knowledge on these topics in his blog LEDwatcher.com.

3 Lighting Types That Will Make Your Home Glow With Elegance

3-lighting-types-that-will-make-your-home-glow-with-elegance

When lighting up your indoor spaces, you have to remember that the performance of the fixture relies heavily on the bulb used. Different bulbs have different lighting effects. The terms that you should familiarize yourself with when shopping for lighting fixtures for your home are as follows:

  • Wattage: this is the electricity amount consumed by a certain source
  • Lumens: the amount of light the source produces
  • Efficacy: the number of lumens produced per watt
  • Foot-candles: the light amount that reaches a subject.
  1. Ambient lighting
    When trying to set the mood for the home, proper illumination adds allure to both the space and the source of light. Floor lamps do not only serve the traditional purpose of lighting rooms up, they can be used to show creativity and create an illusion of expansiveness in spaces. Lamps that depict planetary illusions, sculpted wooden figures, wild animals and abstract art are some of the common floor light designs. There is no better way to make a statement with your lighting than installing a chandelier. These are ideal for places like living rooms, dens and other open spaces.
  2. Task lighting
    This is the type of light that will be useful when one is carrying out activities such as reading, cooking and so on. In areas like the kitchen, pendant lighting will be ideal while sconces and bath bars will be ideal for the bathroom. When installing task lighting, make sure that it is for the bright enough for the user to see but not too harsh to create an imbalance to the décor in the room. Consider enlisting the help of a Lowry Services: Electric, Plumbing, Heating & Cooling professional to install a dimmer or timer for added convenience to your room.
  3. Accent lighting
    This is the lighting type to use when you want to highlight specific objects in the room such as art on the walls, sculptures and book cases. Accent lighting is also great when highlighting other architectural features of the home. Track lights and picture lights are the conventional accent lighting options. However, candles can also fall under this category. If using candles to serve as accent lighting, make sure that they are unscented, especially when you use them in dining areas

Most homes will need the three main types of lighting for complete illumination and accentuation of the décor. As Oscar De La Renta once said, the most important thing is perfect lighting at all times. When lighting is done right, the home reflects class, elegance and beauty. Consulting experts in home lighting and improvement will help you get the beauty you envision.

 

Easy Kitchen Lighting Upgrade Ideas

kitchen lighting

A simple upgrade in your kitchen lighting will bring all the magic into your cooking space. Experts suggest that the most beautiful and effective kitchen lighting has 4 layers which include- ambient, task, decorative lightings and accent. The result is truly remarkable making your place inviting and very warm.

But having a tight budget is a downer when it comes to home upgrades. However, there are simple hacks and tricks that you can do to avoid emptying your bank account for kitchen upgrades. Adding or changing a few lighting fixtures will totally transform the kitchen.

Using under-cabinet LED light bars

Using an LED lighting fixture in your kitchen does not only add depth but it is also cost effective. LED under-cabinet light bars will last longer than incandescent light bulbs. LED lights can last up to a decade and no maintenance is needed.  This is very useful to promote safe food preparation in your countertop. Apart from that, it also avoids cooking accidents since you have ample lighting fixtures while making your favorite dish or just using your perfect French press for strong coffee to wake you up in the morning.

kitchen-lights

Under cabinet rope lights

If you don’t like light bars, then under cabinet rope lights are the better option. These are easier to install because it is thin and has a circuit board, which is flexible making it easier to bend and adjust. There are LED chips attached in the board and can be cut to size depending on how big or small your kitchen cabinets are. The best part is the adhesive backing to save you all the installation sweat.

Once these LED tapes are mounted, it gives a glowing silhouette making your kitchen cabinets appealing and inviting. Experts suggest using coated tapes when mounting the rope lights because it is more durable when exposed to moisture, food spills and heat.

Decorative Flush Mount

Flush mounts in kitchens are mostly used as a focal point in the kitchen. It is mostly in dome-shaped figure and is mostly mounted in the ceiling. You can choose the design that connects with your vibe and the overall design of your kitchen. Most homeowners can freely choose either a semi-flush mount or flush mount. Both offer versatility to design and function in your kitchen.

Swap a plain ceiling light for one that multitasks

Plain ceiling lights are a thing of the past. Modern houses today incorporate recessed lights in their kitchen to help with the meal prep and cooking dishes in the kitchen.  It does not only add beauty to the place but also helps avoid accidents like burning a pan-fried fish or when mixing ingredients for your chocolate cake. You have to make sure though that you chose the right lighting fixture to avoid dimming or glaring your kitchen.

When choosing to mount a multitasking ceiling light, it is important to control the lights separately. This is to ensure flexibility and efficiency in your kitchen lighting.  You can opt for dimmable LED lights, or choose halogen or incandescent lights. You can control the lights by having multiple switches or a wallbox system that is programmed to control the lighting fixtures in your kitchen.

Kitchen

Consider plug-in wall sconces

Having plug-in wall sconces definitely add a chic vibe to your kitchen. Most of the time, sconces are added to bathrooms, hallway or in a reading nook to add more light source in the room. Today, plug-in wall sconces are added to the kitchen to have additional lighting. There are various designs to choose from but one great disadvantage is that you will need to conceal or rewire the newly mounted sconces so that the cords are not seen everywhere.

Kitchen upgrades are not just essential and pleasing to the eye but it also paves the way for effective and accident-free meal prep and cooking. Choosing the right lighting fixtures are essential to achieve your dream kitchen upgrade. You don’t have to worry about spending a lot though, since there are cheap but efficient ways on how to improve your home.

 

Decorating with light captures the fresh spirit of spring

Tips To Bring More Light Into Your Home

skylights
Image veluxusa.com

Something about spring seems to inspire us to lavish attention on our homes. Whether enthusiastically cleaning or freshening decor, Americans seize spring as an opportunity to breathe new life into interior spaces. While painting and decluttering are great ways to revitalize home decor, for sheer spring-like impact it’s hard to beat decorating with light.

Incorporating light into interior design can go far beyond a few strategically placed, attractive lamps and some upgraded overhead lights. It’s possible to use both natural and artificial lighting to complement other decor and architectural elements, and to create a brighter, upbeat mood that’s perfect for warm weather. Not sure where to begin? Here are a few concepts to keep in mind as you begin decorating with light:

Natural beauty

There’s no debating the benefits of natural light for boosting mood. After dark, short winter days, spring brings abundant sunshine, and you can put all that natural light to work in your home. Boost daylighting by lightening up window treatments to admit as much sunshine as possible, choose fresh paint colors that interplay well with the direction from which light enters a room, and consider adding skylights to rooms that demand drama or where adding a window isn’t practical.

A relatively low cost home improvement that can be accomplished by a professional in a day or two or over a single weekend, adding a skylight not only enhances home decor, it delivers energy-saving benefits as well. Skylights can help reduce dependence on artificial lighting – saving money on electricity bills. And, if you choose an ENERGY STAR certified solar-powered, fresh-air skylight like those made by Velux America and add remote-controlled, solar-powered blinds, you can improve the skylight’s energy performance rating by as much as 45 percent while improving indoor air quality through the venting effect of open skylights (which close automatically in case of rain). -Solar-powered skylights and blinds qualify for a 30 percent federal tax credit, as does the cost of installation. Visit www.whyskylights.com to learn more.

Lightening colors

spring decorSome hues absorb more light, making them appear darker which causes the room to look dark as well. Spring is a great time to lighten colors throughout the home, and not just wall colors. Fresh paint brightens any room, but to amplify the effect, choose lighter, less intense colors such as pastel yellows, peaches and soft blues.

Continue the color upgrade through key decorating elements such as upholstery fabric, accent rugs, window treatments and wall art. Choose colors that speak to you of spring, whether it’s an Easter egg pale purple, a cheerful sky blue or a bright grass green. Replace heavy winter drapes with translucent sheers that admit natural light and give rooms an airy, open feeling.

Upgrading other light sources

While you take steps to maximize the amount of natural light that enters you home, artificial lighting will always be needed, especially when spring showers darken the skies for a while. Choose light fixtures – including floor and table lamps – that continue the bright, easy atmosphere you’ve already created with color and natural light.

Keep in mind the importance of layering light with a mix of sources throughout a room, and choose lighting styles that fit the room’s purpose. For example, in kitchens where a lot of work gets done, overhead and under-counter lights provide the best illumination for cooking and other chores. In bedrooms, wall sconces and table lamps provide softer, more soothing light.

Don’t overlook energy efficiency when you’re revamping your artificial lighting. Spring is a great time to boost your home’s energy efficiency by replacing old, electricity-guzzling incandescent light bulbs with energy-sipping CFLs and LEDs. While these bulbs may cost more to purchase, you’ll save money over their usable life. Energy.gov says these bulbs use 25 to 80 percent less energy than incandescents, and can last three to 25 times longer.

High Impact, Low Maintenance Home Improvement

No-leak skylights

The best kind of home improvements: high-impact, low-maintenance

Yes, everyone knows making home improvements is a worthy investment in your greatest material asset. Sure you want every improvement job done well with top-notch end results. But when all is said and done, do you really want to have to put a lot of effort and money into maintaining those improvements? For most people – whether they’ll admit it or not – the answer is “no.”

The best home improvements are the ones that not only enhance your home’s value and livability, but also require little work from you afterward to keep them looking great and functioning well. If you’re looking for high-impact, low-maintenance home improvements, consider these popular projects:

No-leak skylights

When it comes to an improvement that brightens your home, enhances its indoor air quality and boosts energy-efficiency, skylights deliver. Unfortunately, early skylights had a reputation for being leaky – a problem that simply doesn’t occur with modern, no leak, energy-efficient skylights like those made by Velux America. Pre-engineered flashing kits (the metal shield that surrounds any opening in a wall or roof) work with all types of roofs, from shingles to metal, to ensure a properly installed skylight won’t leak.

Need further low-maintenance points to make the case for adding a skylight? Not only do modern skylights keep water out, they’re energy efficient as well. Energy Star-qualified, no leak solar-powered fresh air skylights, like those from Velux, deliver fresh air through cost-effective passive ventilation. Adding remote-controlled, solar-powered blinds allows you to easily open or close a fresh air skylight and shade it when the sun hits that part of the roof, boosting the skylight’s energy efficiency by 39 percent. Keep the shade open during cold weather to admit warmth and reduce heating costs. A 30 percent federal tax credit on both products and installation costs makes a skylight project even more appealing. Visit www.veluxusa.com for a tax calculator to show your savings for a new installation or replacement skylights and a skylight planner app to show exactly how skylights and blinds will look in any area of your home.

Lighting upgrade

Older light fixtures not only look dated, they often use outdated, inefficient bulbs and are lacking in the energy-efficient emphasis that comes with newer fixtures. Upgrading lighting throughout your home is a great way to ensure you won’t have to think about it again any time soon.

tubular skylights with lightingIf a total lighting redesign is out of the question, you can still make your existing light fixtures lower maintenance simply by swapping out old, inefficient incandescent light bulbs with newer, electricity-sipping versions. Options like CFLs and LEDs provide all the light of incandescents while using a fraction of the energy. Energy.gov says Energy Star-rated LEDs use at least 75 percent less power than incandescent bulbs, and last 25 times longer. Imagine the time, hassle and money you’ll save not having to replace bulbs constantly – especially in lights that get a lot of use, like porch lights, or that are hard to reach, like the chandelier in your two-story entryway.

Vinyl siding

Wood, fiber cement, stucco, brick – there are nearly as many types of exterior siding as there are colors to paint it. When it comes to low- or no-maintenance siding, vinyl remains the gold standard.

While early versions of vinyl siding introduced in the 1950s earned criticism for being less lovely than wood, even those less sophisticated versions had staying power; it’s possible to find homes in use today sporting vinyl siding that was added to the house in the 1970s or even earlier.

Vinyl siding never needs to be painted, and when properly installed provides exceptional shielding from the elements. New technology has made modern vinyl siding look better and last longer without fading issues associated with older versions of vinyl. It requires basic cleaning, and overall maintenance demands are much less than other types of siding.

Understanding Home Automation (aka Smart Home)

You may remember a cartoon on TV from the early ‘60s, which was set in a future, where large flat panel TVs came down from the ceiling, people communicated by video conferencing and they used mobile communicators.  It was called The Jetsons. Believe it or not, much of the amazing technology from the show already exists and many of us use it every day.  Those flat TVs that came down from the ceiling in the show – I get to install those!  My business is about integrating the latest technology to other people’s homes and businesses.  One of the technologies I’d like to talk about in this article is home automation, also known as a “smart home”.

The terms “home automation” and “smart home” have been used so much over the past several years, but many understanding home automationpeople don’t understand what they mean or why they’re useful.  That’s a shame, because there are many benefits home automation has to offer.  To put it simply, home automation is all about controlling things.  I’m not talking about control in the traditional sense, where you walk up to a light switch and turn it on, but other ways of controlling things.  Before I get into how you can control things, I’d like to talk about some of the things you can control.

You may be surprised to know how many things that are currently available and can be controlled by home automation systems.  Some of the more common items include: lights, thermostats, shades, and audio/video systems. Then, there are some things you probably would have never guessed that you can control – like an oven!

The main idea is that “home automation” makes things happen automaticallyOk, so you can control any of those things now, by going up to them and pressing a button or turning a knob.  With home automation, there’s a big difference – you don’t always need to go up to each device to make them work.  The main idea is that “automation” makes things happen automatically. That’s where part of the magic comes in.  This type of control is best described using lighting as an example.  Many lighting automation systems have a controller, which includes something called an “astronomical clock”.  What it does is pretty interesting. You can think of it as a timer, but unlike traditional timers, an astronomical clock knows when the sun comes up and when it goes down, regardless of what season it is.  This type of intelligence eliminates the need to make seasonal adjustments for longer or shorter daylight hours.  This is a huge benefit.  Here’s one popular way lighting automation is used.  Let’s say you like to have outdoor lights turn on at night, so your pathway is lit when you get home from work, they can automatically be set to do so.  When the sun starts to go down, the lights come on.  When the sun starts to come up, the lights can automatically turn off.  Not only is it great for security, but also for the safety of having a well-lit pathway in the dark.  Of course, there are potential energy saving benefits to have lights turn on and off at the appropriate times as well, particularly if dimmers are used instead of regular switches.

Besides timers, there are some other types of controls often used for home automation. Possibly the most common handheld remote controls are often used for home automationare handheld remote controls.  These can range anywhere from a dedicated remote for controlling a single item,  to a universal remote, which can control a whole house worth of thermostats, lights, shades, TVs and more.  There are also in-wall controls, such as keypads and full-color touch screens.  The in-wall controllers are typically placed in various convenient locations, so you can control any part of your automation system from anywhere in the house and not worry about where the handheld remote is.  Last, but not least, are the third-party.

Examples of these interfaces include: iPod, iPad, smartphones and web browsersOne of my favorite things about home automation is that it doesn’t need to be incredibly expensive and is often modular.  What that means is you can do a little at a time if you are on a budget and build it up over time.  Modern wireless technology has made installation much more convenient and hassle-free, compared to older systems.  When replacing thermostats or light dimmers with ones capable of being controlled by a home automation system, no new wiring is necessary with many systems.  This will save a lot of money on installation labor.interfaces.  Some examples of these interfaces include: iPod, iPad, smartphones and web browsers.  These are extremely useful, particularly if you are out of the house, need to check on a second home or just can’t be there in person.  You simply go to a secure web page, which can look like the screen on the controllers you may already be used to, and check on the temperature, turn lights on or off, or even set the alarm while you’re away.  It’s all incredibly convenient and efficient.  Possibly the most important part is that it can be very, very easy to use, even for those who are not tech-savvy.

Here are a couple of situations our customers have had, where home automation helped them.

Situation 1 – Lights Out: One of my customers was driving home from a long day at work.  The sidewalk and Many home automation systems know when the sun comes up and when it goes downdriveway were covered in snow, but he forgot that no one would be home to turn the outside lights on, so he didn’t slip on the ice.

Solution: Automated lighting.  Many home automation systems know when the sun comes up and when it goes down. This is called an “astronomical clock”.  It can be set to turn the lights on at night and off in the day.  Some of them can even turn themselves on, based on how much light there is.  With these types of systems, there is no need to worry about it.  A small remote control, similar to a garage door opener, can even be programmed to turn certain lights on and off from the car.

Situation 2 – Freezing Pipes: A couple packed up their vacation home in the fall and would not be back until the spring.  Unfortunately, they forgot to turn the heat up and some of the pipes froze, causing a lot of water damage and expense for them.

There are thermostats available, which have been designed to work with home automation systemsSolution: Climate control.  There are thermostats available, which have been designed to work with home automation systems.  They can be set to be at certain temperatures at certain times of the day.  With internet access and a web browser, a homeowner can check the temperature in their house and change it if they’d like. Some systems can be programmed to send an e-mail, if the temperature drops too low or goes too high.  As long as the system is running, there’s no need to make a special trip or worry about a pipe bursting.

For those who prefer a slightly more “hands-on” approach, here are a couple of other common examples. When you Home Automation can simplify your life and help make your home more efficientgo to bed, you can press a button to set everything the way you want it.  Have all the lights turn off, except for a select few that you keep just bright enough to light your path if you happen to get up at night. Motorized shades close. The thermostats adjust, so you save energy while you sleep.  Finally, your alarm system activates, so you can rest easy.  When you get up, another button press deactivates the alarm, the shades open, lights adjust to your morning routine and thermostats set to the temperature you want when waking up.

Automation can simplify your life and help make your home more efficient.  The possibilities are endless.

There are several companies out there who strictly develop, produce and sell automation and control products.  Crestron, a 40-year-old US-based company, is noted for being the most highly respected brand and a leader in the industry.

Guest Post By:

Damon Della Greca, owner of Premier Audio Video Designs, based in Westchester, NY.  Damon has been involved in pro audio since 1991 and in the consumer electronics industry since 1998.

Think of lighting as art for your home

Think of lighting as art for your homeLighting is possibly the most powerful tool you have when it comes to interior design. It does not make sense to invest in beautiful furniture, rugs, paintings and accessories if they are in the dark. The perfect light fixture not only illuminates a space – it is also a beautiful, decorative design element.

“When looking for a light fixture, think of yourself as a curator looking for a perfect piece of art,” says interior designer Laurie Smith, known for her role as a featured designer on the hit television show Trading Spaces (2000-2008). Smith says, “Like art, a fabulous fixture can make a strong design statement, as well as provide illumination for your space.”

Often consumers do not realize the difference updated lighting can make in their homes. Smith suggests finding one special piece and building a room around it. “In design school, we learned that lighting is the most exciting and mysterious medium in design. Lighting is sculptural; it’s textural, it’s exciting,” she says.

“There are so many varying styles and designs in lighting today that the possibilities are endless. Different materials and shapes are just part of what goes into determining that perfect fixture,” says Smith. “For instance, do you want the shape of your piece to contrast with your room’s schematic or coordinate with it? Taking a traditional fixture and placing it into a modern setting creates interest through contrast, while taking a sleek modern fixture and putting it into a traditional setting infuses new vitality and a sophisticated accent.”

With so many choices on the market, the task of selecting a light fixture can be difficult and overwhelming for many homeowners. It’s just a matter of developing a plan or one idea. To help consumers get started, Smith talks about the importance of lighting to interior design in a new video series. Each minute-long video, created by the American Lighting Association, focuses on a different aspect of lighting and ways to incorporate it into every homeowner’s design plan.

Videos in the series include:

* Choosing the Right Lighting Fixture
* Find an Object of Inspiration
* The Impact of a Single Lamp
* Lighting Fixtures as Art

The videos can be viewed on the ALA website at www.AmericanLightingAssoc.com.

How do you think lighting can change the appearance of your home?  We love to hear your feedback!

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