By Clarissa Allison | April 21st, 2017
A lighting designer who is faced with a poorly lit environment can expertly discern how to eliminate wasted energy to distribute light where it is needed most. Homeowners, however, can often be unsure of just how to implement the proper lighting solutions for their space. The good news is that knowing which lighting mistakes to avoid can take your design project to the next level. Below, read on for the top 4 lighting mistakes to avoid the next time you are faced with upgrading the lighting in your home.
BLINDED BY THE LIGHT
By far the most common lighting faux pas is installing a multitude of recessed lights, as many people assume that the more lights you have, the better. The result ends up being too bright, or harsh leaving the space feeling like a runway or an interrogation room. Relying on downlights won’t provide your vertical surfaces, such as walls, with enough lighting. This will create a cave effect, leaving an expanse of darkness beyond the center of the room. This mistake happens often in homes with tall ceilings.
You can work with a lighting specialist to determine how to approach general lighting for the space and to create a layout for its placement. An expert can help you plan for the right number of lights based on the size of the space and the specifics of your light fixtures. You’ll need to make note of your room’s dimensions (length, width, ceiling height) as well as the beam spread and lumen output of the lamps or LEDs in the fixture. If you have a loft or open floor plan, think of each living area as its own room in order to calculate more precisely. You’ll often find that using brighter lights rather than more lights is far more effective. If you aren’t able to overhaul your lighting placement, see if you can add dimmer and switch controls to the existing fixtures. Putting them on separate switches will make it easy to operate them individually.
FORGETTING THE TASK AT HAND
Task lighting is essential in work areas such as the kitchen in order to give surfaces like counter tops or bars, enough light to complete tasks. Homeowners are aware that they will need general ambient lighting in each room, but the key to a balanced lighting scheme is layering light. A kitchen needs to include task lights that will illuminate counters, sinks and cooking surfaces. Other areas in the home that benefit from task lighting are the home office, reading areas, and bathroom vanities.
Under-cabinet lighting is a great way to provide the needed light in a kitchen without adding clutter to your space. We have a huge selection of under-cabinet and LED strip lights to choose from at Louie Lighting. Pendant island lighting is also a viable solution, as is directional track lighting with a narrow beam that can help to maximize your work surfaces in the kitchen.
NOT BEING IN CONTROL
We briefly mentioned lighting controls being an asset earlier, but don’t underestimate their importance in a successful lighting scheme. Lighting controls such as dimmers and switches allow you to customize or automate certain aspects of your home lighting. Used properly, they will save you money on your electricity bill. Dimmers are best in areas where a more intimate ambiance is required, such as living rooms, dining rooms, bedrooms, or master bathrooms.
They can even be used in kitchens for those who don’t want to alert anyone to their late night snacking activities! Dimmers are a great way to “go green-er” if your home uses bulbs which generate a lot of heat, like incandescent or halogen bulbs, because they minimize energy usage. Controlling multiple sources can be achieved by using several light switches, but the technology surrounding lighting controls has come along in leaps and bounds over the last few years. We have a huge selection of popular dimmers and switches by Lutron HERE on our site.
There are simple programmable wall systems for single room control with preset scenes that control a multitude of light sources at once, and wireless controls that can be reprogrammed from a laptop or phone! Timers can be used in conjunction with photocells for managing security lights for driveways, porches or garages. You can program many timers to turn lights on in your absence as well so that it appears that your home is occupied. Motion sensors are very popular options that come in two versions: occupancy and vacancy sensors. Sensors will take away the burden of wondering whether you turned the lights off when you’ve left the home or office.
TAKING THE HEAT
These days it makes little sense to continue using the energy hogs that are incandescent bulbs. The technological advances of the lighting industry mean that CFL and LED lightbulbs are made in a greater variety of options today than ever before. Since they are so widely available, they are also much more economical to purchase than even five years ago. Check our website for a host of energy-efficient models. Depending on your energy usage, you could save a bundle on your yearly energy bill simply by swapping out the lighting in your home for a greener approach. For more information on LED light bulbs, see last week’s blog HERE.
Have you made any of the lighting mistakes mentioned in this week’s blog? How did you resolve your lighting plan? Please tell us in an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Louie Lighting Team wishes you and yours a safe and happy weekend.