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!

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How Does Lighting Inspire You?

Feb 26, 14 How Does Lighting Inspire You?

As technologically-advanced inhabitants of modern earth, it’s easy for us to take light for granted. However, light and the way we use it can profoundly affect our lives in ways that often go unseen, affecting our perceptions of ourselves, our surroundings, works of art, and our outlooks. Below are some insightful observations regarding the nature of light by some of the world’s most accredited actors, writers, and designers.

 

 

Aesthetics

Lighting has an important effect on aesthetics. Proper lighting can greatly enhance (or greatly detract) from a person’s physical appearance or the atmosphere of a room.

lettherebelight“There is one fundamental fact about lighting: Where there is no light, there is no beauty.”
Billy Baldwin, Actor

I find great lighting and a squint of the eyes makes anyone look better.
– Cat Deeley, Actress/Singer/Model

“I love lamps. I can’t stand overhead lighting. I have to have everything on a dimmer.”
– Kate Spade, Designer

 

Mood

Lighting can also affect our moods and senses of well-being. The right amount of lighting can make an ordinary place seem almost magical.

fairy lights“The quality of the light around us has a profound effect on our well-being that should not be underestimated.”
– Thomas Fuchs, Designer

“A room is like a stage. If you see it without lighting, it can be the coldest place in the world.”
– Paul Lynde, Actor/Comedian

“I’m a firm believer that lighting affects mood, and twinkly lights on strings bring something magical to occasions ranging from concerts to weddings, though I’m fond of using them as year-round home decor. There’s a reason why they’re sometimes called fairy lights. When the night is right, there aren’t any strings at all.”
– Erin Morgenstern, Writer

 

Artistic Effect

We also underestimate the effect that lighting has on the way we feel about our favorite movies. Consider the contrast between the bright, colorful beauty of the ocean in Finding Nemo to the dimly lit, dreary settings of the latter (and more sinister) Harry Potter movies.

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Lighting is vital. Without that they’ve got nothing. And, of course, color and texture. When they showed me a little piece of Finding Nemo, I said this has got to be the biggest hit.”
– Joe Grant, Writer

“So much of movie acting is in the lighting, and in loving your characters. I try to know them, and with that intimacy comes love. And now, I love Voldemort.”
– Ralph Fiennes, Actor

 

Outlook

Most importantly, lighting is all about perception. That’s why we often use lighting metaphors to describe a positive or negative outlook on life.

Freedom is just Chaos with better lighting.lightquote
– Alan Dean Foster, Writer

“The secret to life is to put yourself in the right lighting.”
– Susan Cain, Writer

How do you feel about lighting? How does it affect, shape, or inspire you? Let us know in the comments below or give us a shout on FacebookTwitter, LinkedIn, Google Plus, or Pinterest.

 

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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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How to Liven Up Any Room with Lighting

Feb 12, 14 How to Liven Up Any Room with Lighting

One of the easiest, yet one of the most overlooked, ways to enhance key areas of your home is with lighting. With a little tweaking and a few additions, you can liven up your space, making rooms seem bigger, making ceilings seem higher than they actually are, etc. Below are a few simple tips we’ve collected to transform the mundane into the extraordinary.

Wall Washing

Some key players in wall washing are recessed cans and eyeball cans. Typically six inches in diameter, these are used mainly to flood an area with light, such as in department stores and theaters. Even though these are found commercially, they’re great for residential applications as well.  Wall washing serves two purposes: aesthetic appeal and task lighting. Washing a wall gives the impression of an expanding space, making the room feel larger, which is great for those smaller spaces, while also calling attention to all those pictures on the wall or your stone fireplace.

wall washingDoes having sloped ceilings means you’re left out of the fun? Not at all. This just means you’ll need those eyeball cans (these allow you to adjust the angle of the fixture as you see fit) mentioned above and will most likely need either need lamps with a wide flood or a very wide flood beam angle.

While it depends on how much space you’re wanting to light, it’s generally best to opt for bulbs that have either a “flood” (FL), “wide flood” (WFL), or “very wide flood” (VWFL) beam angle such as R/BR bulbs. Bulbs with these beam angles are great for covering wide areas, creating an overlapping of light.

*Note: if you don’t already have recessed fixtures, these can be easily installed. However, it’s probably best if a licensed electrician performs the work for you. This way you can rest assured the work is done correctly and safely.

Accent Lighting

The possibilities are endless with accent lighting and it’s a great way to add depth to any room.  The key to great accent lighting is to ensure there’s light coming from multiple angles: from down lights, to table and floor lamps, to under cabinet lighting on your bookcases in your bedroom or living room. A nice touch is LED tape light on the back of bedroom accent lighting1your TV, which not only calls attention to the TV, but also adds a unique flair.

The picture on the left is a pretty good example of utilizing light from multiple angles. Notice the wall sconces on each side of the bed, which give off light vertically and horizontally, while the recessed light above the bed directs its light downward. The eyeball can above the bookcase neatly displays the picture, books, and the few knick knacks on the shelves.

Ceiling Uplighting

In the battle against poorly-lit rooms, shadows are your enemy, as they make your space look small and drab. Defeat those pesky shadows with a well-placed floor lamp in the corner of your room, providing you not only with task lighting, but directing the light upwards, eliminating dark spots. A great way to make your ceilings seem higher than they actually are is to utilize overcabinet lighting. You can accomplish this in a multitude of ways, with LED rope light or plug-in fixtures.

Which of these tips will you use to liven up your home? Let us know in the comments below, or drop us a line on Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, LinkedIn, or Pinterest!!

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How Lighting Affects Your Mood

Feb 07, 14 How Lighting Affects Your Mood

Ever feel “not quite yourself” when there’s a lack of light, but can’t quite put your finger on it? Ever notice how your mood seems to improve when you’re in a brighter room? This isn’t your imagination. Studies have shown that light levels do in fact affect our disposition. But how does light affect your mood, and how can you adjust the lighting in your home to improve it?

Low Light = Low Mood?

As mentioned above, low light levels do indeed affect how you feel. While I won’t throw a bunch of science-y terms your way, there are a few terms you should become familiar with: melatonin and serotonin.

Melatonin also helps control weight gain.

Melatonin also helps control weight gain.

Melatonin is vital in controlling your sleeping and waking patterns and is typically highest around bedtime, while serotonin affects many functionalities, such as sleep, appetite, memory, mood, and depression. Specifically, serotonin has a hand in affecting your happiness.

There are both psychological and physiological side effects linked to poor lighting. For example, poor light conditions can impact the amount of melatonin that’s produced, therefore creating an imbalance within your body: the more melatonin that’s produced, the levels of serotonin decrease, as more serotonin is converted to melatonin. So in poorly lit rooms, melatonin levels may be higher, which can cause you to feel depressed and drowsy.

On the contrary, higher levels of light can get your body back in balance, increasing your levels of serotonin and are sometimes even used as a therapy to alleviate common emotional issues.

Lighten Up!

In what ways can you boost the mood in your home? Does this mean you have to transform your home into the surface of the sun so you’ll be cheery all the time? Not quite. Below are a few ways to brighten things up and make the most of your new-found knowledge of serotonin and melatonin:

  • living room sunlightSince bright light can actually give you more energy and increase alertness, it’s recommended to either dim the lights or use warmer color temperatures (2700K to 3000K) to wind down in the evenings.
  • If you’re looking to boost your mood, consider switching to full spectrum light bulbs (5000K), as these types of bulbs mimic natural light. If you’re not a fan of bulbs with this color temperature, try some cool white bulbs with color temperatures between 4000K and 4100K.
  • Do you like your current lineup of bulbs just the way they are and don’t want to trade them out? Try opening some blinds. The influx of natural light will have almost the same effect as the full-spectrum bulbs.

Did you put any of these tips into practice? Let us know in the comments below , or give us a shout on Twitter, Google Plus, Facebook, Pinterest, or LinkedIn!

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