The Three Layers of Lighting Design Explained

Apr 07, 14 The Three Layers of Lighting Design Explained

When decorating the interior of a space, lighting – one of the most important elements of interior design – is often neglected. Having stylish furniture in a room that’s been feng shui-ed to your heart’s desire won’t have nearly the same effect if the only illumination you’re using is a single table lamp or wall sconce. Just as an interior designer would layer colors or fabric, lighting designers use three layers of light – ambient, accent, and task lighting – to enhance a room’s visual appeal.

 

Why is Layered Lighting Important?

Have you ever been inside a department store dressing room or a dim restaurant bathroom and wondered why the reflection you’re looking at seems less than appealing? It may be because these locations tend to lack multiple layers of lighting, causing unflattering shadows instead of even washes of light. While having all three layers of lighting in public restrooms and dressing rooms isn’t always considered a priority, it should be when it comes to your own home and any other area where a balanced and comfortable ambiance is desired.

The Three Lighting Layers

So that you can get a good idea of how to use ambient, accent, and task lighting in your own home, we’ll break each of these layers down by explaining their function and what kind of light source or fixtures can be used to create them:

layeredlighting41. Ambient Lighting

The ambient lighting layer could also be referred to as the “general lighting” layer. Ambient lighting should give your room overall illumination that provides an adequate visual of the entire area. Typically, ambient lighting is created by ceiling light fixtures such as recessed lights, troffers and panels commonly used in commercial lighting, or large overhead fixtures like pendants or chandeliers. This type of general lighting is typically uniform and, dare we say, boring. That’s why the next two layers of light are crucial in lighting design.

2. Accent Lighting

The second layer of light is known as the accent lighting layer. This layer can also be referred to as the “decorative” layer because it allows you to highlight points of interest in your interiors such as architecture, artwork, or anything other features that can’t be made more prominent just with ambient lighting. Types of fixtures typically used for accent lighting include wall sconces, track lighting, uplighting, and even LED tape lighting installed in coves and under counters for toe-kick lighting.

3. Task Lighting

layeredlighting3As you might have guessed, task lighting, the final layer of lighting design, provides illumination for specific tasks performed in an area. When choosing light for this particular layer, you should first evaluate what is done in that designated area. For example, if you typically read in your favorite chair near the bookshelf, you may want a floor lamp or swing arm sconce for better reading light. Commonly used task lights are table and floor lamps, desk lamps, under cabinet lighting, bathroom vanity lighting, and pendant lighting above smaller areas such as a kitchen island, the one shown in the picture to the right

Now that we’ve explained the three layers of lighting design, this doesn’t mean that you have to use separate fixtures for each layer when choosing your own lighting. Some fixtures can function as two layers of lighting at the same time. For instance, downlights can be used as both general illumination and accent lighting. Similarly, a wall sconce can be used as both accent and task lighting.

Do you have any questions about the best way to use layered lighting in your home? Leave us a comment or send us your question via Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, Pinterest, or LinkedIn!

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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.

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Get Creative with Small Spaces: Closet and Pantry Lighting Ideas

Feb 05, 14 Get Creative with Small Spaces: Closet and Pantry Lighting Ideas

With Pinterest boards galore dedicated to pictures of gorgeous kitchens, living rooms, and bedrooms, it’s easy to see how smaller areas of the home like closets and pantries can be neglected when it comes to thoughtful lighting decor. Sure, a pantry might not have as much potential for glamorous renovations as a bedroom, but having good lighting in these small rooms is always helpful when it comes to organization. Not quite sure where to get started? We’ve gathered some modern lighting solutions for your small spaces to replace any antiquated bulb-and-pull-chain contraption.

hidden tape lightLED Tape Light

A suitable solution for both pantries and closets alike, LED tape light is an effective and discreet lighting solution that is easy to install. Stuck behind door frames and under shelving in your closet (like the picture to the right), the tape light will give off a soft glow around your shelves without the tape light being visible.  Added to the inside of a small pantry and all of your food will be easy to see, eliminating those minutes you spend trying to find that can of tuna buried deep in the back behind the cans of soup.

motion led lightsMotion Sensing LEDs

For spaces in your home that aren’t used frequently, LED motion-sensor ceiling lights are a simple and inexpensive way to add a little illumination. These circular lights are battery-operated and are incredibly easy to mount. After no motion is detected for 30 seconds, the light will turn off automatically. As someone who frequently forgets to turn off their closet light, I know how helpful motion sensitive lighting can be.

Track Lighting

track lighting 2For those of you with walk-in closets and pantries that are a little more spacious, track lighting is a stylish yet versatile option. If the layout of your closet happens to change over time, the lighting can be moved along its track to adjust to the position you want. Not only is it functional, but its spotlighting effect adds a touch of drama that will highlight certain areas of your room that you want accentuated, such as your impressive shoe or handbag collection.

closet chandelierFancy Fixtures

We can’t all have closets like Jay Gatsby or Carrie Bradshaw, but adding a touch of glamour where it fits can go a long way. If you’re lucky enough to have a spacious, walk-in closet, installing a modern light fixture in the center of the room, like a chandelier or pendant light, is a perfect way to dress up the space. Chances are if you do have enough space to put in a chandelier, you have enough room for accent lighting. Add a few recessed lights in your closet as well, so that your fixture isn’t the only source of light.

 

Do you have any cool closet lighting suggestions? We would love to hear about them! Leave us a comment below, or tell us about it on Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, or Pinterest!

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Lighting Updates to Make Before Selling Your Home

Jan 17, 14 Lighting Updates to Make Before Selling Your Home

It’s been said that “a room is like a stage. If you see it without lighting, it can be the coldest place in the world.” We would have to agree. Having stylish décor and a great floor plan is one thing, but not having the right lighting to show it off can render it null and void. This is why, when you’re in the market to sell your home, it’s important to make any necessary lighting renovations that may help seal the deal. Not only will having a well-lit home make your space look more appealing, but potential buyers will be glad about not having to make these lighting updates themselves. Even if you’re not looking to sell your home any time soon, making these updates now could help increase your home’s value in the future. Below are a few lighting upgrades that may help you sell your home.

Natural Light

Artificial light can do amazing things, but sometimes there’s no substitute for the real thing. Because home buyers typically look at houses during the day, they’ll be paying close attention to the way natural light filter in throughout the space. Assess whether or not your home has a lot of natural light, and find ways to improve it. Is an overgrown tree blocking your bedroom window? Trim it! Is your couch preventing light from shining through the windows in your living room? Rearrange some furniture! Do whatever you have to do to make sure there is an abundance of natural light accentuating the beauty of your space. This will make your home feel light and airy instead of gloomy and stuffy.

Energy Efficiency

If a potential home buyer knows that they’re already set up for savings thanks to energy-efficient lighting, it will earn you some serious bonus points. Replace old incandescent bulbs with energy-efficient CFLs or LEDs and install low-energy fixtures that won’t rack up the electricity bill each month.  Check out our previous blog post for more info on how much money you can save using energy-efficient lighting.

Lutron Skylark CFL/LED Dimmer Switch

Lutron Skylark CFL/LED Dimmer Switch

Dimming Switches and Sensors

Speaking of energy-efficiency, dimmer switches and occupancy/vacancy sensors are another good feature for your home to have. Not only do they help reduce the amount of light being used at any given time, but dimmer switches are great for giving rooms a comfortable ambiance. Occupancy and vacancy sensors are great for rooms where lights could accidentally be left on for long periods of time such as closets, bathrooms, and laundry rooms.

Task Lighting

If you haven’t done it already, installing task lighting into areas as frequently used as the kitchen is very important. Because kitchen counter tops usually have cabinets above them, they are usually not very well lit if all you have are a few overhead lights. Installing under cabinet lighting is a functional and stylish option that will give your kitchen a clean, sophisticated look. Lighting in smaller spaces such as pantries and closets will also add appeal.

Layer Your Light

When it comes to creating a truly well-lit space, only using a few overhead lights won’t do the trick. In lighting design, a room should usually have three layers of light: overhead, task, and accent lighting. Overhead lighting is usually the main source of light in the room such as a chandelier or recessed can lights. Task lighting, such as a vanity lighting over a bathroom sink, will give areas of frequent use even more brightness and clarity. For accent lighting, use anything from strategically placed wall sconces to track lighting to highlight features of the room you would like to stand out. Having these three layers will make your space look clean and bright.

Outdoor Lighting

Greenscape Adjustable Escort Landscape LED Path Light

Greenscape Adjustable Escort Landscape LED Path Light

For some buyers, the quality of exterior lighting can be just as important as the interior. Even though prospective home buyers may be viewing your home during the day, don’t think they won’t notice outdated fixtures flanking your entrance or, even worse, no fixtures at all. Good outdoor lighting is important for a number of safety reasons. Installing LED pathway lights or motion-activated security lights are good safety features to have. Updating any old fixtures to modern ones might not be such a bad idea either. A little curb appeal never hurt anyone.

Are there any lighting upgrades that we missed? Let us know in the comments or connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, and Pinterest!

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1000Bulbs.com Honored by Dallas 100 Award from SMU Cox School of Business

Visit 1000Bulbs.com for your lighting needs!

 

For the seventh consecutive year, internet lighting retailer 1000Bulbs.com has been honored by the Dallas 100™ Awards, placing 44th amongst 100 of the fastest-growing privately held companies in the Dallas area for the year 2013. Co-founded in 1990 by the SMU Cox School of Business and the Caruth Institute for Entrepreneurship, the Dallas 100 Awards are now in their twenty-third year of recognizing the growth of independent companies and the entrepreneurs behind them.

In order to qualify for the Dallas 100, a company must meet criteria based on a number of factors such as legal status, location, sales history, credit report, and character. The guidelines for this year’s awards are as follows:

  •     Are independent, privately held corporations, proprietorships or partnerships (not subsidiaries or divisions of a parent company) as of May 1, 2013. Must have at least 3 years history and not be a non-profit organization,
  •     Be headquartered in the Dallas Metroplex area,
  •     Have sales of more than $500,000, but less than $75 million in fiscal year 2010,
  •     Have a three-year sales history which reflects growth during the three-year sales period, and
  •     Have a credit report and character satisfactory to the Dallas 100, determined at the sole discretion of the Dallas 100.

Founded in 1995 as Service Lighting and Electrical Supplies by CEO Kim Pedersen, 1000Bulbs.com now has one of the largest selections of lighting products in the country. Having recently expanded to include home décor lighting, designer furniture, antique model replicas, automotive lighting, and hydroponic supplies, 1000Bulbs.com now has over 30,000 products on its website. “We’ve come a long ways, but have much further to go,” says Pedersen. “We’re consistently striving for the best experience for our customers and not resting on just being a good retailer.”

Since first being recognized by the Dallas 100 Awards in 2007, 1000Bulbs.com has increased its annual sales by 83 percent, continuing to establish itself as an influential force in the retail lighting industry. Now employing over 200 workers, 1000Bulbs.com occupies more than 220,000 square feet of office and warehouse space in Garland, Texas.

About 1000Bulbs.com:

1000Bulbs offers everything from simple, household light bulbs to cutting-edge specialty lighting systems. Nationally recognized for growth, innovation, and customer satisfaction, 1000Bulbs.com is an influential force in the lighting industry. Follow @1000Bulbs on Twitter for the latest company announcements.

Feel free to leave a comment or reach out to us on FacebookTwitter, or Google Plus!

Contact:
Paul Coppage
1000Bulbs.com
972-288-2277 Ext: 277
pcoppage@1000bulbs.com

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