How to Choose Wall Sconces

Mar 10, 14 How to Choose Wall Sconces

Normally, when you have boring, vacant wall space, your first thought is to liven it up with art, mirrors, and other various types wall décor. However, if you notice that your room desperately needs a little something extra in the light department, a few wall sconces may be what you need. Wall sconces are ideal for brightening up and adding layered task lighting to any space. When searching for the perfect wall sconce, there are a few essential factors you’ll want to keep in mind.

Effect

Wall sconces come in many different shapes and sizes to create different effects with light. That’s why you should consider what kind of effect you want the light to have on your room. Do you want your room to look bigger, cozier, more balanced? These four types of wall sconces are able to change the look and feel of a room by diffusing and contouring light in their own way.

wallsconceuplightUplight – Uplight wall sconces direct light towards the ceiling, creating a wash of light that draws attention upwards. The further down the wall an uplight wall sconce is positioned, the more the light will be able to spread along the upper half of the wall. Uplight sconces are perfect for making the room look larger than it really is.

wallsconcedownlight

Downlight – To give your walls a downward wash of light, use a downlight sconce that allows light to only escape from the bottom of the fixture.  The higher you place this sconce, the more light will be cast down onto the wall. Downlight sconces will ground your space, creating a warm and cozy atmosphere.

wallsconceupdownlight

Up/Downlight – Up/downlight sconces will give your walls an even wash of light in both directions. Because these types of sconces allow light to shine through the top and bottom of the fixture, they can be positioned according where you want the most light. These sconces will give your room a more balanced feel with its even distribution of light.

wallsconcecandleCandle Style/Low Wattage – As you can tell from the name, candle wall sconces are meant to resemble original wall sconces that held real wax candles. These types of sconces are usually low-wattage and cast minimal light to give a room an intimate ambiance. Their main function is for aesthetics and decoration, so you won’t want to use them as a main source of light.

Style

When looking for wall sconces, it’s important to take note of your existing décor and think about what style of sconce will enhance and compliment it. Is your home rustic, modern, traditional, or none of the above? How much light does the room need? Wall sconces also come in 1-light, 2-light, and even 6-light options. Evaluate the décor style of the room to help make narrowing down your search much easier. Another trick is to pay attention to the type of finishes you see around your space, such as on hardware, plumbing, and appliances, to get an idea of how well a sconce will match.

Positioning

If you’re hanging more than one wall sconce, and there’s a good chance you probably are, it’s also important to consider their dimensions in relation to the distance they are from one another. The positioning of a wall sconce all depends on how and where it’s being utilized.

wallsconcesBathrooms – The best place to hang wall sconces in a bathroom are on each side of the bathroom mirror, so that your face gets nice, even lighting that eliminates unattractive shadows. Where you place the sconce in terms of height, all depends on the person using the mirror. Try placing them at or very close to eye level. A good rule of thumb is to install them between 65 to 70 inches from the floor.

Hallways/Living Areas – If you’re using them to provide general lighting in a hallway or dining room, you will want to space them 4 to 6 feet apart and hang them no less than 5 feet from the floor. A person of average height should not be able to see the bulb in the fixture. Again, these figures can change depending on a few factors, such as if you have very tall walls or they need to be level with existing wall art.

 

Do you have any other questions about finding the right wall sconce? Let us know if there’s anything we missed in the comments or connect with us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google Plus, and Pinterest!

read more

A Guide to Energy-Efficient Office Lighting

Mar 03, 14 A Guide to Energy-Efficient Office Lighting

As you can imagine, office buildings consume a pretty substantial amount of energy. According to Southern California Edison, the average commercial office building uses about 30 percent of that consumed energy on lighting. Because lighting does make up such a large portion of energy spent in commercial buildings, the energy efficiency of office lighting is an important factor that should be taken into consideration.  By making a few lighting updates, ranging from major to minor, your office could decrease its electricity consumption.

Update Overhead Lighting

officelightingIf your office still uses incandescent or old fluorescent lighting in large overhead fixtures, it could be time for a much needed update. While fluorescent bulbs do consume less energy than incandescents, they still can’t match the energy savings of LEDs. LED lighting uses about 75 to 80 percent less energy than incandescent light sources and last much longer, too. To replace large fluorescent troffers, you can use LED light panels, which will work just as well and use only a fraction of the energy.

If you have T12 fluorescent lighting, upgrading to T8 fluorescent tubes will make a huge difference in energy savings and light quality. However, if you want to make an even bigger difference in energy savings, switch to 18-watt T8 LED bulbs to replace your 32-watt T8 fluorescents. Over the life of a T8 LED, you can expect to save $77 and make up the entire cost of the lamp in approximately 28 months. They also produce virtually no heat. The less heat being produced in the building, the less you’ll be blasting the air conditioning to try and balance the temperature.  They are also available in color temperatures ranging from warm white to stark white to accommodate your particular preference.

Efficient Accent Lighting

officelighting3Whether it’s track lighting to accentuate your company logo or wall sconces that give your conference room stylish flair, most offices use some form of accent lighting. LED technology has advanced to the point where you can find an LED replacement in a variety of bulb shapes, color temperatures, and lumen outputs to replace incandescents or fluorescents in just about any existing light fixtures. If your wall sconces use incandescent E12s, switch them out for LED candelabra bulbs. The same goes for MR16 track lights or your recessed downlights – the possibilities are endless!

For some ideas on innovative accent lighting, check out our previous blog on where to use LED tape light. It’s a perfect solution for lighting coves, shelving, and other places that will give your office space a modern and unique look.

officelighting4Control the Lights

Because many people stay within the vicinity of their desk or a designated department to do their jobs, there are some areas of the building that don’t require constant lighting, such as restrooms, break rooms, or supply closets. Installing motion sensors in these less occupied areas is a convenient way to monitor the amount of light being used.  If you’re lucky enough to have your own personal office, you could also install a dimmer switch to customize the light levels at any given time while curbing electricity use and extending the life of your office’s lighting.

exitsign1000bulbsLow-Wattage Signs

Safety lighting, such as emergency and exit signs, are imperative to the lighting design of any commercial building. These signs are using energy 24/7, so why not find exit signs that use as little as possible? LED exit signs can last up to 25 years and come in an array of designs that will complement the design of your office space. An even more energy-efficient efficient option is photoluminescent exit signs. These signs don’t require any electricity use and recharge when exposed to external light sources.

 

What are some other ways offices could be more energy efficient? Leave us a comment letting us know, or send us a message on Google Plus, Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn!

read more

Where Should You Use LED Tape Light?

Feb 24, 14 Where Should You Use LED Tape Light?

Do you ever find yourself looking for ways to give your space a modern lighting makeover? We’ve got the perfect solution: LED tape light. Due to its thin profile, LED tape light is a discrete lighting option for unexpected and hard-to-reach areas that could never be lit otherwise. Adding to its versatility, tape light comes in a variety of colors, is dimmable, and can be trimmed to fit any space. So, where are some good places to install it? Below are some areas where LED tape light will add a modern element to your overall lighting scheme.

Stairway Lighting

tapelighting6

If you have stairs in your home, you know how jarring it can be to turn on a bright stairway light in the middle of the night just so you don’t trip and fall. Instead of flipping the switch to turn on that downstairs foyer or hallway light, use LED tape light for more subtle illumination that won’t completely take you out of your drowsy, just-woke-up state. Place warm white tape light underneath the upper edges of each stair (pictured to the right) or on the underside of the railing for hidden down lighting. To give the tape light a clean look, you can use LED tape light extrusions to conceal the tape light itself.

Hard-To-Reach Spaces

tapelight7There are certain places in your home that are dark and hard to reach, such as above and under kitchen cabinets and in ceiling coves. LED tape light can turn these seemingly useless spaces into the perfect place for sleek accent lighting. Installed above your cabinets, tape light will provide stylish up lighting and give new life to boring wall space. High-output LED tape light installed in a ceiling cove can pull double-duty as both overhead and accent lighting in your living room.

Display Cabinets and Shelving

tapelighting5LED tape light is also a great option for lighting enclosed areas such as display cabinets, shelving units, and closets. The picture to the left shows a perfect example of how tape light can transform a few shelves on your wall into an eye-catching feature among your home’s décor. Because LED tape light uses very little energy and has very low heat output, you won’t have to worry about it being hazardous inside a closed display cabinet or in a small closet shelf. Plus, your tape light can be hardwired to a wall switch using an LED driver, so that it works independently from your overhead lighting.

Backlighting

tapelighting3One of the more fun options for LED tape light is using it to outline an object with light or provide backlighting. We’ve mentioned in previous blog posts how tape light is great for backlighting televisions because your eyes are less likely to strain in the dark. Well, the same could be said about other electronic devices like your computer. Even though regular tape light would work, USB LED tape light is a much more convenient option. Just like standard tape light, this USB tape comes in many different lengths and colors, including RGB color-changing. All you have to do is plug in the cable into your computer’s USB port. Backlighting isn’t just for electronic devices either – it can be used behind mirrors as well to give them a unique halo effect.

Furniture Accents

tapelighting2For those of you who really want to make a contemporary statement with LED tape light, you can use it to create glowing silhouettes around or under unexpected pieces of furniture such as a bathroom vanity (pictured to the right), the underside of a bar or kitchen counter top, a pool table, or even underneath your bed frame. Installing tape light underneath furniture creates a warm glow that provides modern, low-profile accent lighting. Much like stairway lighting, LED tape light used as furniture accents gives you a way to achieve low lighting during the night with an added element of safety.

What are some creative ways that you’ve used LED tape light? Let us know in the comments below or give us a shout on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google Plus, or Pinterest.

read more

The Best Lighting for Your Makeup Mirror

Feb 19, 14 The Best Lighting for Your Makeup Mirror

It can happen to the best of us. You’re applying your make up in the mirror. Everything looks flawless – or so you think. Just after you jump in the car to head off to that big event, you pull down the mirror to take one last look. It turns out that your foundation is uneven and your eye shadow just isn’t quite the shade of brown you thought it was. This is most likely a symptom of poor lighting wherever it was you applied your makeup. When it comes to applying makeup, there are a few lighting factors you should always consider.

vanitylighting2Use natural light whenever possible. Natural light is the cheapest and easiest way to get the best lighting for makeup application. If you can, place your vanity stand or mirror close to a window that will allow plenty of natural light to give your face an even, pure wash of illumination. Even though natural light is one of the most unforgiving forms of light in terms of being able to see every imperfection, at least you will know exactly what you’re trying to detract from or enhance.

Look for lighting with a high color rendering index (CRI). How you perceive different colors is extremely important when it comes to makeup. A foundation color may look like it matches your skin tone under a certain light, but if that lighting has a low CRI, you may realize that it doesn’t match at all once you step out into the daylight.  If you normally apply your makeup in the bathroom, make sure your vanity lighting has a high CRI so that you’re able to see the true color of your foundations, eye shadows, etc. As a general rule, try to keep your lighting’s CRI above 80. For lighting with a perfect CRI of 100, you will want to go with incandescent bulbs to light your vanity.

bathroom lightingAvoid using overhead lighting only. Have you ever been in a fitting room and noticed that harsh, overhead lighting accentuates every tiny flaw on your body? The same thing can happen when applying your makeup under a single overhead light. Using only one light source above you will cast accentuate shadows that are created under the eyes or other areas that won’t do your makeup application process any good. One pendant light or flush mount fixture won’t give you the smooth, even illumination you need in order to see all of your face in its best light.

Don’t overdo it on the wattage. When choosing bulbs to use for the area where you usually apply your makeup, remember that high wattage and lumen output does not equal quality makeup lighting. The best lighting for makeup is anything that produces a soft light that isn’t terribly bright. This effect is best produced by lamps that are diffused through shades or glass that you might find on wall sconces or pendant lights.

vanitylightingUse multiple light sources. Even if we can’t all have mirrors surrounded by light bulbs like movie stars do in their dressing rooms, there are still ways to surround your face with light. Using a bathroom vanity fixture with more than one light is one way to achieve more even illumination. But an even better solution is to use light sources on either side of your face. Placing two fixtures on either side of your mirror at eye level will highlight all areas of your face and provide great task lighting.

What are some of your makeup lighting tips and tricks? Share them with us in the comments or write to us on Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, LinkedIn, or Pinterest!

read more

Romantic Lighting Tips to Set the Mood

Feb 14, 14 Romantic Lighting Tips to Set the Mood

Planning out the perfect date can be stressful, but creating the right atmosphere is half the battle. A date night at home complete with dinner and a movie is great, but going the extra mile by changing up your lighting will make it even better. So, if you’re planning a low-key, romantic evening in with your significant other this Valentine’s Day, these simple lighting pointers will help you set the mood.

Light Strings

lightstringsindoorsFor some of us, having a nice dinner out on the patio might seem a little implausible this time of year. But why not bring that same outdoor bistro feeling indoors? Commercial light stringers fitted with decorative globe lights will create a warm, romantic glow in your dining room or kitchen. The low-wattage globe bulbs will give off the type of dim light that you typically see in softly lit restaurants. You can also use these outdoors when the weather finally does warm up.

Do you have any leftover holiday decorations? It might be time to break them out. A similar and more inexpensive lighting option to patio lights is using Christmas light strings. The color you use is up to you, but using warm white light strings will create a more relaxing atmosphere that doesn’t feel like you’re just decorating for a holiday party. They may not be as sophisticated as outdoor patio lights, but it’s the thought that counts, right?

romanticlighting5Turn Down the Lights

You’ll be hard-pressed to find a romantic restaurant that uses bright interior lighting. Even if they do exist, would you prefer to spend a special evening with your significant other under harsh, bright light or soft, low light? If you prefer the latter, installing a dimmer switch to control your lighting fixtures is the best way to accomplish dim mood lighting. If installing a dimmer for your overhead lights seems like a bit of a hassle, or you want a quicker dimming solution, try a plug-in dimmer switch. Just plug your table lamp into the dimmer, and use a sliding switch to adjust the light levels any way you want.

Colored Lighting

romantic lighting2For a more unique approach to accent lighting, replace existing light bulbs around your house with colored bulbs. Studies have shown that color affects mood, with red being a color used to evoke excitement and passion. However, be careful about going overboard. If you want your colored lighting to be a bit more subtle, don’t replace any overhead lights with colored bulbs. Placing red or pink party light bulbs in a few table lamps here and there will produce a more subdued, but still unique effect.

romanticlighting4

Candlelight

You can never go wrong with the soft glow of candlelight. For the same effect without the possible fire hazard, try wax LED candles. Made from real wax, these flameless candles have a battery-operated LED light that produces a dim flickering flame effect that will provide relaxing illumination in any area of your home. At least if you forget to turn them off, the worst thing that can happen is a dead battery or two.

Do you have any lighting tricks that you use for your date nights? Let us know in the comments below, or share them with us on Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus, LinkedIn, or Pinterest!

read more