Decorative Lighting

decorative-lighting

You might have heard people talking about decorative lighting and how it enhanced their homes inside and out. You might have been intrigued by the idea, but don’t exactly know where to start. So what is exactly decorative lighting? Quickly, decorative lighting enhances any design from traditional to contemporary for both interiors and exteriors of someone’s home using lighting, so it provides a means to decorate your space to show off specifics of your property.

Now that you have the basic definition of decorative lighting, the question now arises, how do you use decorative lighting in your home in a way that redefines your living space? Today, we will be going over this in greater detail.

Indoor Decorative Lighting

Decorating the inside of your home can be an exciting task, particularly when you get to use decorative lighting to add a personal style that you can change up when you want. Here are a few styles of lighting you can use to add to any room in your house.

  • Wall Lights: This type of lighting is typically put above works of art, but thanks to the internet you can use wall lights to create awesome wonders such as 3-D wall lights and peel lights.
  • Recessed Lighting: This type of lighting creates the illusion that a room is bigger than it actually is as it focuses light on one area. It’s been a popular trend to put around trim around the ceiling for a dramatic effect.
  • Hanging Lights: Pendant lights or chandeliers fit into this category and they can be used in  variety of ways from elegant and classical to modern. Pendant lights can match any design theme you may have with a variety of options as well.

Outdoor Decorative Lighting

Outdoor lighting not only enhances the beauty of your property, but protects it as well, as a brightly lit home wards off intruders. Outdoor lighting can include:

  • Pathway Lights: These lights create a light glow lighting up sidewalks and pathways. A lot of pathway lights are solar powered, which is an added benefit.
  • Flood Lights: This type of lighting can show off specific flowers, bushes, and trees. Flood lights can be set up to show decorations as well during seasonal occasions.
  • Wall Lights: These lights are usually found in entry ways by the front and rear of your home as well by garage doors.
  • String Lights: Not just popular for the holidays anymore, but is also popular to use to light up fences, entryways, decks, and gazebos virtually any time of the year.

Using decorative lighting is not as complicated as it may seem. You can use decorative lighting both indoors and outdoors in many different styles within different budgets as it’s up to you what you want to do. There are many ideas for decorative lighting that you can use and many ideas that keep on popping up on the internet. What style of decorative lighting will you try in your home today?

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Ambient Lighting

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Much like an artist begins with a background coat of paint, creates color coatings over it, and then finishes with accents, a gifted decorator builds the lighting of a room in layers. Natural and ambient lighting act as the “undercoat”. Ambient lighting is the general or base level light, covering most of the room. It’s not as simple as placing a ceiling chandelier, though. Ambient sources are sometimes the collective effect of accent and task lighting.

Let’s Start at the Very Beginning

You would think decorating would be anything but methodical, but there’s a science behind the way lighting and fixtures are placed. Accent and task lighting should be between four and five times dimmer than ambient light to achieve enough contrast. The simplest of techniques would have you placing a bright source in the center of the room or in the form of a series of evenly placed spotlights. Nothing in décor is ever that simple, though.

Palette

Palette is critical even if your lighting has no tint. LED and fluorescent bulbs are generally cool in hue, while halogen produces a warm shade. Today’s LEDs are now available in a more natural white shade as well as in multiple colors that can be changed according to your mood. That means you can build energy efficiency into your room without limiting your palette. Cool light improves visibility and is thus ideal for studies and kitchens. Bedrooms and living areas fare best with warm neutral shades.

Color

When you mix different shades of paint, you create new colors. Lighting is no different. Yellow layered over blue lighting will achieve a green hue, while ivory placed over red will lighten the shade to a pink. Neutral lighting palettes are  equally challenging to create because, without bright accents and enough contrast, your room will be a sea of boring beige. Bear in mind that green, red, and blue light create white.

These days, ambient light is even used to influence emotion. Blue, for example, is a calming shade, while red stimulates focus and concentration.

Variety

Ambient lighting needn’t be uniform at all times of the day. Some rooms require flexible light levels. Dining rooms and living areas are best lit with the help of dimmer switches. Entertainment areas and gardens need to have flexible palettes to suit a range of occasions, so choose colored LEDs that can be changed without effort.

Light Level and Shadows

The most important role of ambient light is to set the overall light level in the room. Don’t limit yourself to one level. Even ambient lighting can be carefully placed to light some areas more brightly than others. If you want to build a few different ambient light levels into your room, you also have the option of using task and accent lighting to contribute to your general lighting sources.

The Aspen Foyer by architect, Charles Cuniffe, is a perfect example of how accents and layered ambient lights can establish a varied, yet controlled, lighting level. Tiny nested spotlights and accent lights placed along the entire length of the wall and floor flood the foyer in a highly segmented, yet controlled, level. It’s backlighting that makes that complexity possible. Cuniffe achieved a similar effect by using backlit stairs leading away from a brightly, simply lit entrance. Here, the way shadows fall has played the primary role in the placement of light. There is no need to use ambient light in a centralized area, particularly if you have arched walls and V-shaped ceilings that would cast interesting shadows if the room were lit asymmetrically.

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Accent Lighting

accent-lighting

Accent lighting is used to highlight a special area in a room. It may showcase a painting or other work of art. Accent lighting can be used anywhere you want to create a mood or feature a special architectural fixture. Outdoor lighting is also considered accent lighting when it is focused on your landscaping.

Types of accent lights

Accent lights include chandeliers, pendants, wall sconces, recessed, track and strip lights and even flood lights. Accent lights may be works of art that provide the focal point you need to energize a room.. This is often the case with contemporary chandeliers, pendant lights, wall-mounted lights and lamps. Accent and task lighting can come together when attractive pendant or globe lights and lamps are used to focus light on a work area such as a corner desk.

The types of lamps, chandeliers and other fixtures available for your home are limited only to the imagination of the artists who design them.  Chandeliers were traditionally used to focus lights on dining room tables and at entries. Today, fanciful chandeliers add artistic accents to any room.

Highlighting

Recessed lights and can lights on tracks or stands can be arranged to focus on one area of a room. Accent lighting is often used to showcase a special architectural feature such as carved fireplace mantle. Light emitting diode (LED) lighting is used to highlight paintings, sculptures, tapestries and special furnishings since it will not fade pigments.

Accent lights can be used to highlight a bar area. Bookcases often have accent lighting.  Collectibles on shelves can be showcased with special lighting. Colorful accent lights illuminate fish tanks, terrariums or stained glass windows.

LED strips are popular accents used under cabinets in kitchens and bathrooms. Colorful LED strips can be used anywhere to decorate and illuminate areas any time of year. They are used extensively during the holiday season.

Mood lighting

Accent lights can create a mood. The focused lighting may be brighter than the ambient light to call attention to a section of a room. Wall sconces can cast a sparkle against a bare wall.

Use lighting to create shadows for a sense of mystery or drama. A floor lamp designed as a tree can add specs of light and shadow to a wall.

Soft accent lighting, including under cabinet strips, can create a mood in a bath area where subdued lights are relaxing. A special low light can be installed over a bathtub or shower area to provide softer illumination.

Many small accent lights are battery-powered LED that can be place on tables or in glass bowls. They are much safer than open-flame candles for romantic mood lighting. These small accent lights can also highlight flower arrangements and table decorations.

Accent LED lights are available in colors to create soft lighting for a corner of a room. LED modules can be hidden or placed on the floor to send up light to a small area.

Landscape lighting

Outdoor lighting is used for safety to illuminate pathways, doorways, railings and water elements including swimming pools. Outdoor lights will also illuminate a garden, patio, fountain, trees and shrubs.

Outdoor accent lighting brings your landscaping to life at night when it is focused on plantings or a water element. Special LED balls can float in your swimming pool reflecting different colors in the water.

Use accent lighting anywhere to add beauty to your home.

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Task Lighting

task-lighting

There is a concept in interior design called task lighting, which is a process of increasing the amount of light present in a specific place of the house for practical reasons. A lot of home owners are considering putting up extra lights around certain parts of their property that needs it. Today we will go over what task lighting is and how it can be used to improve your home.

Importance of Task Lights

We take the kitchen as the primary example of a place in the house where task lighting comes in handy. A simple overhead light might give us the necessary lighting we need in order to cook our meals. However, what if we are just using a portion of the kitchen? For example, we don’t have to turn on an overhead light if we are just cutting vegetables on our countertop, or washing the dishes in the sink. This is where task lighting comes in.

The main purpose of task lighting is to provide a high intensity light to improve the brightness of a specific room in the house. In the kitchen example from above, we can put task lights beneath our cabinets so that chopping vegetables or using the microwave oven becomes easier. We can also put task lights near the dishwasher to help us see clearer without having to turn on the overhead lights that may use more energy to light up a large space when we only need a portion of the light.

Task lighting takes into account the proper amount of light in order for our eyes to work comfortably with it. Task lighting is also installed in places where the bulbs are hidden from plain view, in order to reduce glare and improve contrast

Installing Task Lights

Installing task lights are relatively easy, but there are factors involved that should be taken into account first before doing so. Discussing it is not the purpose of this article, but in general, you need to choose the color temperature, color rendition, and glare of the light. Generally, our eyes are more accustomed to cool light, which is why white and blue lights are more suitable for bedrooms, reading rooms, and kitchens. Warm lights, or lights that have a yellow or red color, are better outdoors on the other hand.

In installing task lights, we also need to note that the light source should not be visible in order to reduce glare and contrast. A perfect example is lampshades, wherein the light source is enclosed in a cover to direct the light downwards where you are supposed to put your book for a more illuminated reading.

In house setting, task lights are usually installed under cupboards in the kitchen, on the medicine cabinets of bathrooms, near the tables in bedrooms, and some parts of the living room that needs extra amounts of light. Typically LED lights are used as they save power and come in many different options. A professional electrician can help you with the choice of lighting and the manner of installation for your task lights.

Task lights provide the added illuminance needed by our eyes while removing the contrast and glare that may strain them. Task lights are installed in areas of the house that need extra light intensity. They provide the necessary intensity that we need to cook food properly, or read books without having to turn on the overhead light, and do other activities that need an extra amount of luminescence without having the need to turn on the overhead light.

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The Benefits of LED Light Therapy for Your Skin

the-benefits-of-led-light-therapy-for-your-skin

If you’re bothered by wrinkles on your skin, or mild to moderate acne, LED treatments may offer just the solution you’ve been searching for.

First developed by NASA, LED (or light-emitting diodes) light therapy uses certain frequencies of light to boost collagen production, increase new tissue growth, while also reducing fine lines and wrinkles. It’s non-invasive and doesn’t cause inflammation, and requires no special post-treatment procedures.

How Does LED Work?

In basic terms, LED sends energy-producing segments of light into the deeper layers of your skin. It then triggers the body to convert light energy into cell energy without using heat. As previously mentioned, it involves a non-invasive procedure. LED treatments are painless and involve no risk of burning your skin. A typical treatment can range from five to 30 minutes, and has been proven safe for all types of skin and ages. Professional LED treatments are often given at select day spas which have a serious focus on skin care. It’s even been shown that LED treatments can help boost your mood during long winters. The recommended course of LED treatment is six treatments a week followed by maintenance treatment every month of two.

The good news is that LED light therapy has been tested and validated by NASA, as well as countless universities and medical labs. NASA has produced extensive documentation about the effectiveness of these treatments.

How Long Before You See Results?

While everyone’s skin varies, most people start to feel and see a difference after 10 days or two weeks of treatment. Women often first notice that their skin pores are becoming smaller and makeup goes on smoother. But some people may see results much sooner than that. Again, LED light therapy is proven to work on all skin types and the success rate of it has been over 90%.

What Types of LED Treatments Are There?

There are two types of LED treatments: Red light LED, which helps your skin look younger, and Blue light LED, which helps treat acne. Here’s a closer look at both:

*Red Light LED

As you age, your skin’s ability to produce new collagen and elements it needs to heal begins to slow. Wavelengths of red light helps promote this production. Red light LED treatments help reduce signs of aging (including wrinkles around the eyes) with a minimal risk of side effects. It can also be used to help treat acne.

Other benefits of Red light therapy include a reduction of fine lines, age spots, and overall redness – and results can often be immediate.

*Blue Light LED

Blue light LED uses specific wavelengths of blue light to kill propionibacterium acnes that are below the surface of the skin and cause acne. It’s best for mild and moderate inflammatory acne and reduces side effects such as dry skin or peeling when using topical prescription products.

LED light therapy has been proven and backed by extensive research, while also being proven safe and painless, without side effects. Whether you’re looking to eliminate lines and wrinkles, or treat mild to moderate acne, it’s a treatment that could be just right for you.

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Going Green with the Lighting in Your Home

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If you’re looking for ways to make your home more green as a way to reduce your environmental footprint and save a little bit of money on your energy costs at the same time, then you should turn your attention to your home’s lighting. Home lighting is an area where a lot of energy can be saved without having to spend that much money.

The following are just a few tips for creating a more eco-friendly lighting scheme:

Use LEDs. LEDs are the most energy efficient light bulbs you can purchase – even more so than compact fluorescent lights (CFLs). LEDs that are qualified by Energy Star use roughly 20 to 25 percent of the energy that traditional incandescent lights use. Not to mention that they last upwards of 100,000 hours, which is around 25 times longer than traditional incandescent lights. Yes, they are a little bit more expensive as far as initial costs go – but they are well worth the investment considering the money you save over the long term on both your monthly energy bills as well as the fact that you won’t need to replace them for a very long time.

Look for more eco-friendly materials. If you are buying new light fixtures, then pay attention to the materials that were used in their production. For example, if you need new table lamps, then look for table lamps that were made using natural materials, such as cloth or wood, or recycled materials, such as glass or metal. You could even buy fixtures made using reclaimed materials or use reclaimed materials to build your own lamps.

Turn those lights off. Remember back in the day when your parents would yell at you to turn the lights off in your room before you left? There’s a reason for this – leaving the lights on when they’re not needed saps energy and therefore has a negative effect on both the environment and your energy bills. So make it a habit to turn the lights out when you’re done with them!

Use surge protectors. Instead of plugging your lamps directly into the closest outlet, pick up a surge protector. Why? Because plugging your lamps directly into the wall sockets means that they will be absorbing energy even when turned off. A surge protector can help cut off the energy absorption.

Install dimmers. Sometimes, you simply don’t need all the light that a fixture provides. For example, maybe the living room needs a little bit of light to supplement the natural light coming in through the windows. In this case, using all the light your general lighting provides may be over kill. A dimmer can help you control how much light is provided by the fixture it’s attached to. Not only does this give you more control over the light that is provided, but it can help you reduce the amount of energy you use since you’ll no longer be wasting unneeded light.

Take advantage of natural light. The more natural light that is let into the home, the less dependent you will be on your artificial light. Natural light is better quality and healthier for you as well. Consider installing larger windows if possible. You could even install skylights to let in even more light.

If you want to make your home more eco-friendly, then be sure to use these tips to ensure that your home’s lighting is both environmentally-friendly as well as energy efficient, thereby saving you money and reducing your environmental footprint.

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7 tips for hanging christmas lights

7-tips-for-hanging-christmas-lights

Give the exterior of your home a magical look this holiday season with Christmas lights. To create a magnificent and festive light display safely, follow these seven tips on how to properly hang your holiday lights:

Plan Your Design. Decide which parts of your home you want to decorate with strings of lights. This will help you to decide the types of lights, tools and hanging devices you’ll need to create your light display. Also, make sure you use a stepladder or extension ladder to hang lights that are too high to reach by hand.

Check Lights. Plug lights into a heavy-duty extension cord to make sure they work properly and that there aren’t any frayed or broken wires. Also, if you’re hanging lights outside, make sure your extension cords and any string of lights are approved for outdoor use, which should be stated on the package they came in.

Locate Outlets. Know where the outlets are closest to where you want to hang your lights. Ideally, it would be best to use a switch-controlled outlet, or you could plug the lights into either an outside or inside automatic timer, depending where you’re going to hang your holiday lights.

Measure. Use an extra long measuring tape to measure the areas of your home you want to hang lights on to ensure you get enough string of lights for the job. For example, if you want to wrap lights around an outside bush, make sure to measure the height and length of it, then figure out how many 25-foot light strings will be needed for these measurements.

Hardware to Use for Hanging Lights. Use heavy-duty plastic clips to hang strings of lights along your roof and gutters. Use nail-on plastic clips or tube light clips spaced about 12-inches apart to hang string of lights on windowsills and around archways. Never use nails, any type of staples or tacks to hang your lights because it could pierce the cord or wear out the insulation, which could cause an electrical short.

Attaching Lights to Trees. Try using a light-hanging pole to attach lights to extra tall trees. This type of tool is easy-to-use, and it’s a great alternative if you don’t feel comfortable using a ladder to hang your holiday lights.

Hanging Lights on Railings and Patios. You can use plastic zip ties to attach strings of lights to any railings or around your balcony. Zip ties can be used for hanging your lights either inside or outside because they’re weather-resistant. They can also be easily adjusted and removed.

Follow these tips on hanging Christmas lights, and soon you’ll have a magical light display that looks professional and will wow everyone who drives by or comes to visit your home during the holidays.

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