Posts Tagged ‘Lighting’

How to Choose Proper Lighting for Your Home

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Tips

Light is an essential element to any room. Without proper lighting, a room can feel small and unwelcoming. Light helps color pop, it makes rooms feel much larger, and it gives a general good vibe throughout the atmosphere. When you think of design, the lighting may not be the first thing to cross your mind; however, this essential element will make or break any room. While floors, paint, and décor are essential, without light, you cannot even see the aesthetics of a room! Knowing how to properly showcase lights is important. There are three ways to light an atmosphere properly. Becoming familiar with them can help make sure your rooms in your home are properly illuminated.

General Lighting

Every room needs general lighting. This is the light that illuminates the space, and it can be an overhead light which covers the whole room in light. Your general light should provide adequate lighting to make a room easily maneuverable and not feel dark. Rooms with dark color themes like black walls, dark ceilings, or dark flooring may need more than one source of general light to illuminate the room.

Ambient Lighting

Take your light further and incorporate ambient lighting. This lighting is vital to support the room’s overall aesthetics and highlight attributes. You can use ambient lighting to highlight pictures, create a mood, or help amplify or showcase a focal point. This spotlighting is excellent to enhance a space and should be used as such. Overplaying ambient lighting can take away from its significance; however, too much light is never a bad thing.

Task Lighting

What about the areas which you need more fine-tuned lighting? A task light is a way to illuminate spots in which you may perform certain daily tasks. These can be installed under countertops where food is prepared or in a reading corner where you need a little more light. Task lighting is excellent because it is used when needed. Include task lighting throughout your home for a more complete look.

Some rooms may need several of each type of lighting. Others may only need general lighting. Additionally, natural lighting from windows is the best source to help revitalize your space. However, the sun is only available for so many hours, so do not miss out on proper lighting!

Task Lighting in the Living Room

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Design and Decorating, Tips

2012-09-24 14.08.06Lighting is one of the most important design elements in a room. Like color or flooring, lighting can change the look and feel of a room. In a living room, a variety of lighting should be used to create different lighting zones and layers of lighting for different activities.

Overhead lighting such as a pendant, chandelier or close to ceiling mounted fixture can bathe the room in a wash of light.  This is great for when you need bright light. Activities like family game night or a party might require overhead lighting.  Putting your ceiling light on a dimmer will make it more versatile. Having a soft overhead light combined with floor or table lamps gives the room a beautiful, well rounded light.

Table lamps and floor lamps can be used as task lighting, too.  Next to a chair or sofa, these lights can create a place to read or use the laptop.  When watching a movie, overhead light might be too bright. Using task light can give you enough light to see the popcorn and your drink without disrupting the ambiance.

If you don’t have a lot of floor space, a small task light is a good choice.  A swing arm lamp that can be adjusted makes for versatile light that can be directed over the chair, onto the floor or wall.  A lamp that clamps onto a table or even a swing arm wall sconce like the one pictured above can save even more valuable table space.

Hanging Christmas Lights

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Christmas, Design and Decorating, Hints and Advice, Holidays

If you are like most of us you may have hung your outdoor Christmas decorations over Thanksgiving weekend. Or maybe you didn’t. Maybe you put it off until now because you didn’t want to deal with the ladder, the weather and untangling the mess of lights from last year. There is no time like the present to overcome all of those obstacles and get the outside of your home looking perfect for the season.

Gather all the items you will need to begin your outdoor lighting project. The ladder, extension cords, timers, clips, hooks and clamps, power stakes, work gloves and a few basic tools like a hammer, a screwdriver and some pliers. It’s also a great idea to measure everything you want to adorn with lights. Also measure the distance to each power source. It’s a pain, but so worth it.

Decide where you want to hang your lights. Some of the most popular spots to hang lights are on the eaves of your home, or along your roofline. Atop bushes, hedges and trees. On pillars, posts and railings. Around windows and doorframes. Near driveways and pathways.

Unwrap all lights and untangle cords. Swear to yourself that this year you will put them away neatly. Test each light strand before you hang it. Replace burned out or missing bulbs. Toss any light strand with fraying cords. Hang your lights during the day as climbing a ladder in the dark is not very safe. If you can, bribe someone to be your partner. Hanging lights goes much faster with a buddy.

The rule of thumb for how many lights you need is 100 lights for every foot and a half that you want to cover. A 6-foot tree would therefore need 400 lights for the basic lighting. If you want to get a little more ‘blingy” you can double or even triple the amount of lights you use.

Should you need to purchase additional lights for you project make sure you pick outdoor lights, as indoor lights are not meant for the elements. If you can spring for LED lights you should. LEDs are more costly to purchase, but they’ll save you money in the long run. They’re 90% more energy-efficient and last thousands of hours longer than comparable incandescent bulbs. Icicle lights are great for rooflines and eaves. Net and blanket lights make it easy to cover bushes and shrubs.

Start high and work your way down. For safety reasons never connect more than three light strands together. After you’ve hung your third strand go back to your power source for your next set of lights. Use clips to attach lights whenever possible. Please don’t hammer or staple through cords as this can cause damage to the light strand.

And viola – you are no longer the only Grinch on the block without Christmas lights. Take your buddy out for a beer and breath of relief that your holiday decorating project is done.

Let the Shadows Play a Part

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Design and Decorating, Hardwood and Laminate

Why is this room so beautiful? Most designers want lights to chase any shadows away and allow the colors to stand out. This room, however, is all about one source of light and the shadows it creates.

What happens when you just let the light make its own way into a room? It doesn’t always work, but in this case the wall-sized window becomes its own focal point.

You can look at the view which even on this foggy day shows itself to be amazing. How about getting comfortable on the inviting sofa? Or maybe you might want to sit in the dining chair in the foreground and appreciate the play of light and shadow this room casts.

The window is the strongest light source, but the glossy floor comes in at a close second. Despite its dark pitch, this rich wood choice grabs the light and reflects it well into the middle of the room.

The lines of certain furniture pieces pick up the window light and the floor’s reflection to add the sort of interest designers generally rely on color to provide. Notice the unusual curved seat in the middle of the room just inches from the zebra-patterned rug. These same curves appear on the arms of the chair by the window. The dining chair’s swirling spindles also echo in the candle holder on the left silhouetted against the window’s light.

Does your home take advantage of light and shadow the way this one does? What can you do to let shadows play a part in your home’s design?

Flooring Defines Space

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Design and Decorating, Hardwood and Laminate, Tile

This space has an open feeling but clearly defined areas thanks to some really smart design decisions.

Changes in the level of the floor as well as different types of flooring provide a natural separation for the functional areas in this great room. The main living area has 24-inch stone flooring with an inviting shine that contrasts gently with the Oriental rug that defines the conversation area. This room is a step below the rest of the space, helping to create a feeling of landing in the middle of the home. Outside of the main living room, wood and tile combine to keep the flooring choices interesting.

The kitchen toward the center back of this photo requires three steps up to enter, separating it from the rest of the home. By reducing the lighting in that space, it’s possible to almost make that kitchen disappear, reducing worries about clearing up after a dinner party with the open style of this home.

The ceiling also shifts dramatically to help define each area in the space. Varying heights, a triangular sunroof and wood trim keep the ceiling both interesting and functional as a space separator.

Finally, the walls demonstrate their own design statements such as the wall-pillars in rich leather brown and the half-walls as room dividers. Altogether, the architectural features make this open space feel both cozy and inviting, while still showing a spirit of adventure that takes this home far beyond the average.

Small Space Living

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Design and Decorating

You can live big in a small space if you make smart design choices. This condo provides a great example of steps you can take to make your living area functional and interesting. Let’s take a look at why this works so well.

Step 1: flooring. Small spaces seem bigger when you use only one type of flooring. This light porcelain tile works perfectly. Setting it on the diagonal moves your eyes through the space, increasing the perceived size. Rugs such as the one in front of the fireplace allow you to define specific functional areas in this great room without closing off any space.

Step 2: furniture choice. By choosing one wood tone and style, all the furniture connects even though functionality varies. This room manages to have a kitchen, dinette, bar area at the island, dining room and living room while still feeling roomy. Other furniture choices such as using a love seat rather than a full sofa in the living area and selecting a circular table in the dining area keep the space clear with a natural traffic flow. If you constantly have to move to avoid furniture a space quickly feels too small. There is plenty of space to maneuver here.

Step 3: light. By selecting a light tile for the floor and coupling it with white walls and sheers on the windows, the space feels open and inviting. The dark furniture anchors the room and keeps it interesting. With all the light tones, the room itself almost disappears and the focus is on each living area.

Picture each area enclosed in walls and you will understand how much living has been tucked into this room. Are you letting a small space feel smaller by your flooring and design choices? Maybe it’s time to open things up!

Room Fix: Piano Problems

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Design and Decorating

A baby grand piano adds a beautiful feel to a living space. It provides the impression that the homeowners play fairly well, or their children do. However, any true piano player knows with one look that no player lives here.

What’s the obvious clue? It’s the lighting. Any player would want the piano keys facing the window to get unshadowed light on the sheet music. And at night, a pianist needs a good light source landing on the front of the piano to read the sheet music. In this house, the piano is simply an extravagant piece of furniture.

The rest of the room works well on the basics, but there are a few other iffy decisions. Let’s consider the window treatment behind the piano. The draping and the rosettes are a bit over the top, but the fabric doo-dad that drops from the middle of the window is a true error in judgment. The multiple colors and trims, along with the pink tones, add a bit too much frou-frou to what is otherwise a classic room design. This look is echoed in the throw pillow on the left and the rug. With simpler curtains the room would feel more elegant.

Ordinary to Extraordinary Powder Room

Written by creatingyourspace on . Posted in Design and Decorating

A Powder Room is a room that nearly every guest in your home will see. This room can easily be enhanced into a welcoming private area for guests. Upgrades you should consider (in order of priority) lead to significant results: 1) Sink/Vanity Cabinet; 2) Lighting; 3) Wall Covering; and 4) Flooring.

Present day vanity cabinets are obtainable in various sizes and styles. Vanity cabinets have evolved into a single unit that looks more like a piece of furniture, rather than a sink cabinet. This type of cabinet is favorable for many reasons. It hides plumbing, satisfies the need for storage and is normally sold with all resources needed for a finished sink cabinet (countertop, sink and faucet). In the past, necessary materials were chosen, bought and installed individually. Improving a sink/vanity cabinet has become incredibly easy.

Lighting can enhance or harm a room. The mirror should flatter your guest’s appearance. Warm, yellowish light is most flattering for all skin tones. Fluorescent bulbs are unflattering to skin because of the awkward, cold light. Most likely only one fixture needs replacing; pick a striking fixture, which spreads a warm glow light. For ceiling mounted fixtures spring for a beautiful down light, which conceals the bulb(s) or a simplistic chandelier. A casual chandelier is dressy without looking “over done”.

Wall coverings engross a small amount of square footage. Go the extra, mile and get a decorative wallpaper, faux finish, or wall treatment, such as linen finish using plaster. Hire a professional; this project only needs a small amount of labor and materials. As far as color is concerned, select a rich, dramatic color such as, plum, silver or gold.

Flooring also only requires minimal material and labor. This is another improvement you should show an added effort towards. Add a natural tumbled stone (or travertine), real bamboo or cork flooring. Using a genuine natural material will add a degree of warmth and comfort to this intimate space.

Upgrading any of the above will dramatically improve your room. Upgrading all of the above will really make a splash!