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Lighting Design

Lighting Design

Designing With Light In The Living Room Or Family Room

When designing a lighting plan for a living room or family room, you need to consider the variety of activities that occur there. You'll want to include general lighting for entertaining and watching television, task lighting for reading or sewing, and accent lighting for artwork, plants, and interesting architectural features. Dimming controls are ideal for the living room because they allow you to design the lighting to suit each mood and activity.

Fireplaces made of brick or stone can be emphasized with recessed downlights installed in the ceiling over the mantle to create an intriguing grazing effect across the surface. Wall sconces on each side of the fireplace are an attractive addition that draws attention to the fireplace area, while providing general lighting for the living room.

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Reading requires task lighting that comes from behind the reader's shoulder. This can be accomplished by placing a floor lamp either at the right or the left of the reading chair. The bottom of the shade should be located at eye level to avoid glare.

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Paintings can be highlighted with low-voltage, tungsten-halogen picture lights. These frame-mounted lights spread a beam of bright, white light across the face of the painting.
House plants can be accented by aiming an uplight can at the wall behind the plant, creating a dramatic silhouette of the plant against the wall.
Bars can be lighted from above with recessed or track fixtures, or with miniature, low-voltage pendants that hover intimately over the bar.

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Glass shelves and glassware can be accented by two recessed adjustable fixtures. The use of low-voltage fixtures with tungsten-halogen bulbs will emit a bright white light that will make glassware sparkle, while providing added illumination for serving and cleanup.
TV, video games, and computers require low-level general lighting that does not wash out the screen's image nor reflect into the viewer's eyes. Miniature track lighting can be installed under shelves to provide both general and accent lighting. Choose from accent spots, mini-lights, and compact or linear fluorescent light sources.
Game tables require bright, even overhead lighting. Shaded pendants equipped with either incandescent bulbs or energy-efficient compact fluorescent tubes are one solution (see illustration). Or, install two recessed downlights over each half of the table.

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Designing with Light in the Dining Room

Dining room lighting should be both beautiful and functional. This requires a mix of general, task, and accent lighting that can set the mood for a number of functions, including a formal dinner, a family get-together, and other activities such as homework, hobbies, or family bookkeeping. Dimming controls will enable you to vary the light for each occasion.

A chandelier is the focal point of the dining room. Suspended over the dining table, it serves as a decorative style element that enhances the beauty of your fine furnishings. When the light is dimmed, a soft, glowing atmosphere similar to candlelight is created. If equipped with a downlight, the chandelier provides task lighting for the table and accent lighting for a centerpiece.

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Recessed or track lighting provides general lighting, while enabling you to highlight prized possessions throughout the room. A ring of four recessed downlights around the dining table supplements the light from the chandelier, while providing accent lighting for your tableware. The pure white light of low-voltage fixtures with tungsten-halogen bulbs will make your crystal and silverware sparkle.

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A buffet or sideboard can be flanked with wall sconces on either side. Choose fixtures that complement the style of your chandelier. Displayed objects can be accented with recessed downlights installed in the ceiling above.
A family portrait can be dramatically lighted with recessed adjustable accent fixtures. Ask our sales people to help you choose fixtures that are best suited for this purpose.
A China cabinet, breakfront, hutch, or wall niche can become a showplace for your prized collectibles by installing strips of low-voltage mini-lights under the shelves.

Designing with Light in the Kitchen

The kitchen is primarily a work area, but it is also a gathering place for family and friends. Lighting that is comfortable as well as functional is required.

A large ceiling fixture, equipped with energy-efficient fluorescent tubes will supply plenty of well-diffused general lighting, but it may leave you working in your own shadow at the sink, range, and countertops. These areas need supplemental task lighting. For example, two track lights over the sink will give you the illumination you need for washing dishes and scouring pots and pans.
At the sink and range, an individual recessed downlight, equipped with an energy-efficient compact fluorescent tube, will provide you with adequate task lighting when installed in the ceiling or in soffits over these two busy work areas.
Dinettes, nooks, and island counters can be lighted with decorative pendants. When used with a dimmer control, these ceiling-hung fixtures will provide you with adequate task lighting for homework, hobbies, or family business and allow you to lower the light for dining or entertaining.
Undercabinet lighting is ideal for countertops. Mount as close to the front of the cabinets as possible to avoid glare reflecting off work surfaces. Choose energy-efficient fluorescent fixtures (they generally range from 12 to 48 inches long) that cover at least two-thirds the length of the counter.
Kitchen cabinets can be accentuated by placing low-voltage mini-lights over, under, or inside cabinets.

Soffits and other concealed locations can also be treated effectively with this type of lighting. These inconspicuous strips of miniature incandescent bulbs will highlight your cabinetry, while adding a warm, comfortable atmosphere to your kitchen.

 

Designing with Light in the Bedroom

When lighting a bedroom, you will want to create an overall atmosphere of quiet relaxation, while providing some bright spots for reading and other activities. A combination of general and task lighting that takes into account the age and lifestyle of the occupant(s) is needed. Remember, dimming controls give you the flexibility to vary the light to suit different moods and activities.

General lighting can be provided by ceiling fixtures, chandeliers, fan lights, recessed downlights, or wall sconces, giving you the illumination you need to dress and see into drawers and closets.
At the dressing table, an adjustable, lighted magnifying mirror will provide ideal lighting for grooming and applying makeup.
For closets, a recessed or surface-mounted closet light is suggested

 

Swing-arm wall lamps on either side of the bed will provide adequate light for reading, while leaving night tables free for a clock-radio, books, or beverages.
Another idea is to hang pendants next to the bed, or install recessed downlights in the ceiling over the bed.
Children's rooms will benefit from the use of track lights, which can be swiveled, rotated, and aimed in any direction to shed light on play areas, hobbies, or homework. As the child grows older, the fixtures can be moved and redirected toward a stereo cabinet or sitting area.

Designing with Light in the Bathroom

In the bathroom, you need plenty of even, shadow-free lighting for shaving, grooming, and applying makeup. In small bathrooms, mirror lights will illuminate the entire room, but in larger bathrooms, an additional ceiling fixture is needed for general lighting. A recessed infrared heat lamp will give you added warmth on chilly mornings.
For small mirrors, decorative wall brackets on each side will illuminate both sides of your face evenly. You can also mount a wall bracket across the top of the mirror. Fixtures equipped with incandescent bulbs behind glass or plastic diffusers provide the most flattering light. If you opt for more energy-efficient fluorescents, choose warm white tones. They come closest to the color of incandescents.
Theatrical lighting strips around your bathroom mirror will give you the same excellent lighting the stars enjoy in their Broadway dressing rooms.
Tub and shower enclosures can be adequately lighted by placing an enclosed damp-location recessed downlight in the ceiling. These downlights are also recommended over whirlpool baths or in saunas.

Designing with Light in the Home Office

When lighting a home office, you will want to create a comfortable environment that is free of harsh contrasts and distracting glare. You will need task lighting for reading, writing, and computer work, and general lighting for the surrounding area. You may also want to include accent lighting for prized possessions.

Two large ceiling fixtures, containing energy-efficient fluorescent tubes, will provide plenty of well-diffused general lighting, while eliminating shadows on the desk. Place the fixtures over head and to the right and left of the desk so the light comes over the shoulder. Lighting placed in front of a desk will cause troublesome reflections.
An adjustable table lamp will provide additional light to the desk and keyboard areas. Position the lamp so it is not reflected in the computer screen.



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