Layered Lighting Basics

How to Layer lighting

Lighting a home may not be as simple as you’d think—but it doesn’t have to be complicated, either. Comfort, utility and beauty can be achieved using layered lighting: Ambient light to provide general illumination and comfort, task lighting for utilitarian jobs and accent lighting to dress up any room.

Layering your lighting simply means stepping beyond the basic overhead general light and thoughtfully arranging different styles of lighting to create a cohesive and functional lightscape. Here’s how!

Ambient Lighting

Your first and likely most important layer is ambient lighting. This is the foundational, general illumination that keeps you from stubbing your toe against the dog’s water dish and tripping over someone else’s shoes.

Flipping on the light switch and being able to see your surroundings is most commonly accomplished with overhead lights: think chandelier, recessed lighting, flush mount or semi-flushmount fixtures or even a ceiling fan with a light.

Things to keep in mind about ambient lighting:

  • Lower lumens are OK. Ambient lighting can be less intense than task lighting—though not a hard-and-fast rule, multiplying the room’s width and length by 20 can tell you about how many lumens you need for general lighting.
  • Square footage matters. When you choose recessed lighting for ambient illumination, approximately one light for every 4 square feet of ceiling is a good starting point.
  • Your needs may vary. A variety of circumstances such as failing vision or architectural obstructions may mean your space requires more lumens to be adequately lit.

Ambient light is good enough to get the gist of a space and perform basic activities, but it might not be bright enough or focused enough for more specialized undertakings, which brings us to…

Task Lighting

More specialized than ambient lighting, the second layer is task lighting and is applicable in any room of the home. Typically you might think of task lighting as kitchen under cabinet lighting, which is terrific if you actually want to see what you’re doing with that knife. Or in home offices as a bright desk lamp for working, reading and writing with ease.

However, task lighting is also in the bathroom as the all-important vanity light—who wants to put on makeup or shave in the shadows? And in the bedroom, a bedside reading lamp counts in this category (and just might save your marriage if your partner can’t sleep with your overhead bedroom chandelier blasting so you can see your book).

Things to keep in mind about task lighting:

Focus on brightness. Task lighting is not intended to illuminate an entire room, but it still requires more lumens than ambient lighting to focus light on your workspace. Measure the square footage of your task area and multiply it by 50 to find your minimum lumen level for adequate task lighting.

  • Adjustability is key. Choose fixtures with built-in dimming capability (or hook it up to a dimmer switch) and look for movable arms, shades and portability to customize your work areas to your liking.
  • Get the Kelvins right. For detailed projects and comfort when reading, color temperature can be an important factor. The cool, bright daylight tones of 4000 Kelvin are great for sewing and painting model airplanes, but your eyes will love you more with a warm 2700 – 3000 Kelvin reading lamp that mimics the output of traditional incandescent bulbs.

While task lighting has a work-oriented purpose, the most mood and personality can be achieved with…

Accent Lighting

Think of this as the jewelry your room needs for its prettiest presentation. Accent lights don’t have to be functional (though they can be) and come in a huge variety of options. Uplighting a shelf or cabinet lends collectibles and china a museum-like quality, while a sparkling chandelier over a soaking tub or in the boudoir adds drama without needing to give off much light.

Some accent lights highlight architectural features like steps or tray ceilings, while others are standout showpieces that function as a design centerpiece.

Things to keep in mind about accent lighting:

Form can trump function. Decorative pendants, floor and table lamps that give off poor light for reading or general activity can still enhance your overall lightscape by subtly brightening dark corners. And the uber-trendy Edison bulbs are gorgeous in many fixtures, even if they lack much light output.

  • Highlight what you love. Picture lights and overhead spotlights can accent artwork and architecture; there’s no need to think of accent lighting as an end in itself.

Combining all three layers of lighting in any room leaves you with the most options for customization. Moody accent lighting can be left on in the living room (such as a wash of color on a feature wall) while the general lighting is dimmed or turned off for watching films or cuddling up with a good read—just don’t forget your task light. In fact, adding a dimmer switch to any or all layers can expand your opportunities to make any room feel like home. And be sure to install each type of lighting on its own switch, so that you can control each layer individually.

Now that you know how to layer your lighting, check out our line of fixtures to compliment your space today!

 

 

Source: Written by Kelsey Kittle for Lumens

Essential Outdoor Lighting Tips

5 Essential Outdoor Lighting Basics

It’s easy to recognize good outdoor lighting when you see it. When the sun goes down, the house looks welcoming – there are no dark shadows, and entrances and the driveway are well-lit, secure and beautiful.

You can create the same welcoming ambiance for your home with a good outdoor lighting plan. Start with a list of your goals for lighting your home’s exterior. Here is a list of five outdoor lighting basics to consider.

1. Safety

Make sure your entrances and paths are well-lit and shadow-free to avoid falls at night. This includes your front entrance, garden paths, and side doors. Stairs should be included in your plan, since they are a primary cause of injury.

There are a number of ways to light stairs:
• Individual step lights that are mounted on a post or stair railing
• Flexible LED strip lighting, cut to size for each step
• Under-tread lights
• Standalone bollards or post lights

Depending on the type of stairs – deck, stone, concrete – any of these types of lighting could be appropriate, and would greatly increase the safety of navigating stairways at night.

2. Security

The security and the safety of outdoor lighting might seem to be similar goals, but security also includes when outdoor lights come on. One approach is to add motion sensors to some of your outdoor lighting, so lights turn on when someone enters your property. This includes animals, so you may want to be selective if a bedroom overlooks an area with frequent nocturnal activity.
Generally, it’s fine to turn on the porch or front light at dusk, and to leave it on until bedtime.

Turning off a light consistently indicates the home is in use and someone is present.

Another option is to use timers to turn outdoor lights on and off on a schedule. Remember, though, that using a timer set to a consistent schedule when you’re away may not be the best way to secure your home. Smart criminals observe a home before deciding whether or not to act, so it may be better to set an irregular schedule or even skip nights occasionally.
Some outdoor lighting manufacturers now offer smart lighting apps that allow you to control the lighting remotely even when you’re away.

Our lighting experts are trained in the latest Smart Lighting products and are happy to show you what’s available.

3. Yard or garden features

The fun part of your lighting plan is deciding which yard or garden features are good candidates for lighting. Do you have a striking tree or an espaliered wall to show off? Subtle up lighting will highlight these features. Outdoor sculptures or terraced gardens are beautiful at night with the addition of lighting.
Water features offer a special opportunity for lighting.

The play of water and light at night is magical, and today’s new waterproof LED products are a fantastic way to add drama and beauty to your swimming pool, outdoor pond, fountain or other water feature. Our lighting experts can guide you in selecting subtle but effective feature lighting.

4. Lifestyle

With spring weather, or if you live in a warm weather climate, you and your family will likely spend more time outdoors. Our busy lives make every chance to relax even more important, so make sure your outdoor living space is comfortable and well-lit when you have time to enjoy it.

An outdoor chandelier adds a touch of elegance to any space – and creates a soft ambiance for evening parties or family dinners. Include a dimming system in your plan so you can increase the lighting level for a party or dim it for a romantic evening.

Make your time outside even more comfortable during hot weather with an outdoor ceiling fan. Talk to our fan experts and learn why it’s important to have a weather-resistant or weatherproof damp- or wet-rated ceiling fan for your outdoor spaces. From contemporary metallic single-blade styles to 2017 versions of classic Panama or vintage looks, discover your favorite ceiling fan style.

5. Energy

If you love the idea of increasing the security and beauty of your outdoor space with lighting, but don’t like the thought of a higher electric bill, think again. Today’s outdoor lighting can be incredibly energy efficient if you invest in LED bulbs or fixtures. The savings from upgrading your outdoor lighting to LED is tremendous: In one year, one LED bulb has an average annual energy cost of $1.00 – compared with $4.80 for a traditional incandescent bulb.

Multiply that by the number of bulbs in your home, and that’s a significant figure.*

LED bulbs used to be far more expensive, but research and competition have resulted in lower prices, so the time has never been better to make the change to LED.
Complete your outdoor lighting plan with a simple sketch of your home. Bring it in to our lighting professionals for the best advice and product selection. We know lighting!

*Source – energy.gov

 

Spanish Style Lighting – Tips for Designers

SPANISH IRON LIGHTING FOR THE DESIGNER

Spanish Iron Lighting has a rich history that can be beautifully incorporated into your client’s interior and exterior overall Spanish design. Wrought iron lighting is more than capable of carrying its own weight in your decor. See these ideas on how to use wrought iron lighting to elevate the Spanish inspired design.

While many people think of iron lighting as dark or gloomy, old fashioned looks that come across as stuffy or serious, the truth is that iron designs are some of the most versatile looks on the market. They can be used both indoors and outdoors in a wide range of lighting options.

INTERIOR LIGHTING DESIGN

For the interior, most Spanish Mission or Revival Homes feature carved stonework, arched doorways and white plaster walls. Often, wood beams complement the look. Here is where Spanish lighting can pull it together. Wrought iron sconces illuminate the hallways and give a warm glow instead of using harsh can lights.

Small accents can transform spaces from drab to compelling. The more modern of these designs are often paired with frosted or amber glass shades and can be dressed up with intricate patterns or offer a mellow vibe with straightforward, minimal construction.

They can also be used on mirrors in bathrooms instead of the run of the mill vanity lights. Add a pendant that complements the sconces a Voila! Your client’s casita is spectacular!

CUSTOM DECORATIVE OPTIONS

A variety of finishes are available to tie in the overall design. We suggest a bronze, brown or champagne gold accents for the ultimate Spanish motif. Iron chandeliers and overhead light fixtures can be found in the full spectrum of styles, from traditional to transitional and beyond into the realm of contemporary decor.

When it comes to lighting, chandeliers and pendants can add elegance and style to any space. They’re not just for formal sitting or dining rooms anymore.

EXTERIOR ILLUMINATIONS

Welcome your guests with decadent, wrought iron entry way lighting. The entryway is the first thing people see when they enter the home. It will set the tone for the rest. Don’t get stuck with the “builder grade” fixtures that usually come with a home. This small upgrade has a huge impact in your Spanish designed home.

Even if you have a very low ceiling, use a flush mount style to complement the entryway. Pendants are perfect for a standard ceiling. For those soaring ceilings, go all out with a chandelier.

WHY PARTNER WITH ILLUMINARIES LIGHTING?

CLIENT CONCENTRIC DESIGN

It’s all in the details. We help draw out the little things you and your clients want complimentary of it’s surrounding architecture for a truly unique fixture every time.

TRADE ACCOUNT

We help interior designers, architects, and builders find the perfect iron lighting for their custom projects complete with trade pricing, custom ordering, project list building, and more.

    • Access to Resale Pricing
    • Download our Pricing Catalog
    • Access to future tips of the trade articles

More articles on Spanish Style Lighting & Architecture