Category Archives: Interior Design

Updating Your Lighting and Where to Start

updating-your-lighting-and-where-to-startUpdating your lighting to LED fixtures will save energy costs. You will have lower electrical bills and the LED bulbs will last much longer than incandescent or halogen lights. LED lighting will increase the value of your home when the lights are used in permanent fixtures.

There are no filaments in LED bulbs. Light is emitted by electrons passing across a semiconductor diode with a reflector. The diodes are capped with a clear or tinted lens. LED lights give off very little heat compared to standard incandescent bulbs. LEDs usually do not contain glass or other hazardous materials.

Getting started

Take a long look at your home and analyze the following:

  • What rooms, including the kitchen, use the most lights?
  • What is the lighting cost on your electric utility bill?
  • What is your budget for replacing lights?

The first question is easy. Your kitchen and other work areas probably use the most lights. You may have halogen bulbs in the ceiling or a fluorescent light overhead. Other rooms may have overhead lights or lamps. Lamp bulbs are the easiest to replace with LED bulbs. They give off the same illumination or lumens.

Estimating the lighting cost in your utility bill is a little more difficult. Approximate the cost by the number of hours you illuminate your home multiplied by the cost per kilowatt hour. This is a vague estimate but it will help with LED versus incandescent light costs evaluation.


There are several charts available that compare LEDs with CFL or spiral lights and standard incandescent lights. A standard 60-watt incandescent light uses only 10 watts with a LED bulb. The CFL uses about 14 watts. The incandescent bulb will last for about 1,200 hours and the CFL is good for 10,000 hours while the LED equivalent is good for 50,000 hours.

The LED bulb will use about 500 kWh of power over 50,000 hours while the incandescent bulb will have been replaced up to 40 times and burned up 3,000 KWh of power. This gives you a general idea of the difference. Since LEDs use less power, they are ideal for solar-powered homes and fixtures, including outdoor lights.

Types of LED fixtures

LED bulbs come in all sizes and configurations. Colors are available from standard bright white to pink and yellow tones. LED fixtures, including chandeliers, work with dimmers to control the amount of light in a room.

Standard screw bulbs fit into any traditional lamp or lighting fixture. Pin sockets are also available. LEDs work great for track and recessed lighting. LEDs fit into tracks and modern task light hanging fixtures in kitchens and other work areas. Basic bright white light is good for kitchens and workplaces while softer lights may be used in living and dining rooms.

Candle flame shapes, round globes, and tube lights can be used anywhere. Modern lamps are designed exclusively for use with LED bulbs. Swimming and spa pool lights include floating battery-powered LEDsSpecial LED strip lights or ribbons fit under cabinets and on walkways for subtle illumination and safety.

Prices have lowered substantially for LED products. They are more popular than ever since they last for many years. A LED bulb with 11 watts and 1100 lumens will replace a 75-watt incandescent bulb for under $10. While it is more expensive than a standard incandescent light, the savings on energy and replacement makes it a good value.

Consider updating your home with LED lighting. This is important for the present and the future as saving energy is necessary for a sustainable lifestyle.


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Filed under Interior Design, Interior Lighting, LED Lightbulbs, led lighting, Light, Lighting, Lighting Hardware

How Many Lights Does a Room Need?

how-many-lights-does-a-room-needHow much lighting should you plan for when you’re building or renovating a home? The best answer is that it depends on differing factors. Yes, there are a variety of formulas to help you determine how much lighting to install, but first, consider the following:

  • How big is the room?
  • How many windows does it have, and what is their orientation? Obviously, east- and west-facing windows will provide abundant sunlight.
  • What size are the windows? A bright, open picture window will let in plenty of sunlight during the day, so will the room require bright lighting at night?
  • How open is the home? Some homes have twists, turns and closed-up, tight spaces that may require extra lighting to eliminate gloomy pockets.
  • Do you prefer brightly lit interiors or do you lean more to softer illumination?
  • What’s the purpose of the room? For instance, you may need more lighting in the kitchen for epicurean paring, dicing, slicing and trimming, while you want a softer, more romantic lighting scheme in the bedroom.

Once you’ve considered all these questions, you’re ready to calculate the amount of light needed per room.

Calculating Lighting Needs

Lighting providers use different methods to calculate lighting needs. With the following method, you will need square footage, as well as a measurement for foot-candles and lumens.

First, determine the square footage of the room by multiplying length times width in feet. For example, a room that’s 20 feet by 15 feet is 300 square feet in area.

Now you need foot-candle measurements for each room. A foot-candle is how bright light is a foot away from the source. Foot-candle needs vary according to the use of the room. Bathrooms and kitchens usually need more foot-candles than living rooms or bedrooms. Consult a lighting expert for general foot-candle needs per each room.

Next, you’ll need to figure out how many lumens are needed per room. The lumen is a measurement that conveys how much light is reaching what you want to illuminate. Multiply square footage of the room by the foot-candle measurement. So, for a 300-square-foot living room, needing 10-20 foot-candles, you’d need 3000-6000 lumens.

When shopping for light fixtures, look on the label for the output of lumens they can provide.

Room-by-Room Lighting Tips

These room-by-room tips can help you assess your lighting needs more accurately.

Kitchen (5000-10,000 lumens). This multi-purpose room often presents challenges, as you light for different purposes, from food prep to breakfast to making out bills. Place recessed lights on the sides of the ceiling to reduce shadows. Install lights under the cabinet to illuminate tasks.

Bedrooms (2000-4000 lumens). Place table lamps for reading or mood lighting; install overhead fixtures for cleaning and other tasks.

Bathrooms (4000-8000 lumens). Tub/shower areas can be murky; install a light overhead. Installing lights along the sides of mirrors is better than ceiling fixtures for illuminating shaving or applying makeup.

Living room. Plan to use several different types of lighting: lamps for reading; accent lighting (spotlights and picture lights) for artwork; and ambient lighting, angled away from seating.

Dining room (3000-6000 lumens). Install adjustable recessed lights that you can angle to highlight table decorations. Avoid positioning lights over dining chairs to prevent casting shadows on diners.

Office (3000-6000 lumens). Use portable lamps for computer stations so you can angle them and avoid glare on the monitor. Angling recessed lighting toward walls makes the room look brighter.

Remember: the calculating formula is just a guideline. Talk to a lighting expert in depth about your home’s lighting needs before you put those holes in the drywall.

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Filed under Interior Design, Interior Lighting, Light, Lighting

Lighting Your Living Room


Living room, great room or family room lighting sets the mood. It also makes it pleasant for reading, watching television or using your laptop. There a several types of lighting available using energy efficient light emitting diode or LED lights. The modern lights can be used in many ways with traditional or modern furnishings.


LED lights use semi-conductor technology in place of the traditional incandescent bulb. The LED fixtures can fit into antique design lamps as well as modern table and floor lamps. A LED light will use a fraction of the electricity while giving off the same amount of light such as the 80 to 100 watt incandescent bulb recommended for reading.

Place floor and table lamps where they are needed to focus light. LED lights come with color coatings in pink, yellow or cool blue tones to set a mood in a room.

Ceiling lights

Living rooms can have standard ceiling lights but more creative lighting is available with modern LED lights. Try arranging LED light strips around the perimeter of a room where the walls and ceiling meet. The LED ceiling light strips can be arranged in concentric circles in the center of the ceiling for a different affect.

The intensity of the light can be controlled by dimmer switches. The  LED strips adhere to the wall with tape.

Chandeliers in classic and contemporary designs take LED bulbs for attractive ceiling lights in living and dining rooms.

Pendant lighting

This style of task lighting is now popular in kitchens and dining rooms as well as in living rooms. Pendant lighting is decorative and it’s usually focused on work areas. LED pendant light design varies from round globes to cones, stars, candles, rustic fixtures and contemporary designs. A grouping of pendant lights suspended from the ceiling at different levels works well in modern living rooms.

Wall lights

Strips of LED lights can be placed vertically along the sides of walls in corners, next to windows or in areas where you need the light. This offers a very modern look to a room.

Can lights using LED bulbs will work on walls, shelving or ceilings. These are usually the adjustable lights that can shine in different directions. This type of lighting works well for reading or setting a mood.

Wall sconces are popular in living and dining areas as well as bedrooms. This style of wall mounted light fixture comes in traditional and modern designs. They are often placed above sofas or fireplaces.

Recessed and track lighting

Special LED bulbs are available for recessed lighting in ceilings and walls. Recessed lighting is popular in living rooms, dining rooms and kitchen – family room areas.  Track LED lights in special cans can be used on walls and ceilings in living areas.

The cans holding the LED lights are slightly different from the cans used with incandescent bulbs. LED lights only use about 10% of their energy for heat but the heat is at the base of the bulb. The LED cans allow that heat to escape through air circulation.

Accent lighting

You may have photos, paintings and other artwork that should be highlighted in your living room or family room area. Special low intensity LED lights can be affixed to frames to cast light on the artwork without fading the pigment.

Accent lights highlight special architectural features such as sculpture, cabinet,  a bar or decorative fireplaces.

Lighting can be layered in a living room with ceiling, table and accents lights. Experiment and find the look right for your living area.

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Filed under Interior Design, Interior Lighting, Lighting

7 Places You Never Thought You Could Use LED Lights

LED lights have hit the market with amazing results. These flexible, money-saving lights are being used to not only cut energy costs, but they are showing up in some unusual places. These bulbs are being used everywhere, from vehicle headlights to lighting up the San Francisco Bay Bridge. But they aren’t just functional, they can also be fun. The number of amazing ways LED lights can be used is only limited by a little know-how and your imagination. Check out these seven ways people are bringing light into their lives with LED lighting.


Dark Drawers

If you are tired of searching endlessly in your desk for items, try lining the inside with LED lights to brighten up that dark drawer. Lining the front or sides can bring in the light you need to find everything quickly and easily. This idea isn’t just good for desk drawers either. Lining your dresser or kitchen drawers can help illuminate those dark corners where things get lost.

Rev Up Your Ride

The flexibility and durability of LED light strips can help you light up your vehicle for both looks and safety. If you want to make your motorcycle unique, you can design a LED light display right on your bike using a simpletutorial. Or you can place them on the interior and exterior of your car for both safety and a cool look.

Water Effects

One concern when you have children is that they could burn themselves on the hot water from the faucet. From washing their hands to taking a bath, this cool LED attachment will change colors with the water temperature. Blue for cold and red for hot will help your child see the temperature of the water before they get burned.

Fine Dining

The mood lighting at the nicest restaurant can’t compare to the LED lit tableyou can create at home. Whether you want to create a look that is colorful and different or a simple glow for your dining pleasure, this project is perfect. The frosted glass table top is durable and practical while the lighting beneath it is sure to be an eye-catcher at your next dinner party.

Light the Way

Using LED lights along an outdoor pathway is a good idea. It provides beauty and safety outdoors. But simply running LED light strips along the path is something that everyone can do. Why not take it up a notch and create a lit catwalk with stepping stones lit from inside. The steel modules glow from the LED lights inside to make a magical path along your walkways or in your back yard.

Cut the Cords

Having lamps around your house may be essential for lighting, but the long, troublesome cords don’t have to be. Converting your standard lamps to LED lit cordless lamps can give you the freedom to put lamps where you need them without worrying about finding a plug or running a cord.

Lighted Seating

If you’ve ever been to a movie theater, you know the strip lighting they have on the floor to mark the aisles. Running LED lights down dark hallways can give the same effect. But you don’t have to stop there. You can take that idea a step further by attaching the lighting strips under your furniture for a creative and unique home design.
Using a little know-how and your imagination, there is no limit to the number of ways you can bring light into your life. Many of these projects can be completed in just a few hours. The power of the LED light can make your life brighter.


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LED Lighting for Your Kitchen Island

When entertaining, people always tend to congregate towards the kitchen, which is why it is a worthwhile investment to upgrade this room.  The kitchen island has quickly become the central gathering place of this room as it allows the cook to actively engage in conversation with guests while preparing a meal and offers additional counter space for food prep.  To make the most of your kitchen, it is imperative that you have proper lighting.

A green friendly and low maintenance option for illuminating your kitchen is including LED lighting in kitchen island design and above the surrounding counter space.  LEDs, otherwise known as light-emitting diodes, are extremely energy efficient and last considerably longer than a traditional light bulb.  According to Green Living, the average life of a LED bulb is four to six years versus one to three months for an incandescent bulb.  Opting for Energy Star qualified LEDs can help ensure that you are getting the longest life out of the bulb while using the least amount of energy.


Much of the energy savings associated with LEDs is that they do not heat up when producing light like most of the other types of bulbs do.  Green Living shares that 90 percent of the energy emitted from an incandescent bulb is wasted heat, and a compact fluorescent bulb is just as wasteful with 80 percent of its generated energy being heat.

Another perk to using LED lighting in kitchen island design is that since the bulbs are small and measure from 3 to 8 millimeters long, they can be used in spaces that would ordinarily be too small for other lightbulbs.  Even though the LEDs are smaller than other bulbs, they light up a space more efficiently than the larger lightbulbs.

According to Lushome, the latest 2013 contemporary kitchen design trends include tempered glass with incorporated LED lights for kitchen islands.  Home design source Houzz also shares how LED lighting in kitchen island design is a desirable trend.  Including LED lighting below the glass countertops of a kitchen island can provide a unique and dramatic way to illuminate this space.  Another trend that particularly shines for evening entertaining is adding LEDs to the kitchen island toe kick.  For a more traditional kitchen, an LED-powered chandelier that is hung above the kitchen island can provide a very elegant look.  Pendant lighting over the kitchen island that utilizes LEDs is a great solution for those that desire a more eclectic kitchen.

All in all, there are a number of advantages to using LEDs, and they especially open up the design possibilities for your kitchen island while providing an excellent source of light.

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