The Top 9 Dos and Don’ts of Outdoor Lighting

Image Provided by The Home Depot

Image Provided by The Home Depot

Most interior designers agree that lighting can really make or break a room, and the same can be said for outdoor lighting and the exterior of your home. Having a well-lit exterior not only increases safety and security, but also does wonders for your curb appeal. When your home’s façade has attractive and complementary outdoor light fixtures, you are sending a friendly and welcoming message to your guests and neighbors.

Backyard living spaces like decks and patios are no exception either. Before you buy your first lantern or sconce, read these essential do’s and don’t’s of outdoor lighting:

DO’S

  • DO opt for LED fixtures. They use much less energy than incandescent bulbs, last longer and come in a variety of color temperatures. You no longer have to stick with the cool, bluish light of the original LEDs—they now come in warmer temperatures that give off a more yellow light, if you desire that look. LEDs also come in clear finishes rather than just frosted, so you can still achieve the elegant, sparkly look of exposed bulbs while remaining energy efficient.
  • DO choose fixtures with finishes that complement your home’s exterior color scheme. Bronzes go best with earth tones and brown trim and accents. Black is appropriate with most color schemes and white fixtures work well on houses that have darker bodies and white trim.
  • DO space out the light sources on your deck or patio. Several small fixtures with low wattage will always look better and create a more welcoming ambience than one fixture with a bright bulb.
  • DO stick with a mounting height that is slightly above eye level. A general rule of thumb is 66 in. above the threshold for the front of your house.
  • DO use post lanterns near your driveway. If light from the front door or garage fixtures does not extend the length of your driveway, post lanterns offer another source to warmly greet visitors.
  • DO your homework and research to find a consistent, quality line of lighting fixtures.

If you’re looking to reinvent your home’s exterior by upgrading your outdoor fixtures, consider a line of options like Progress Lighting’s wide selection of high-quality, energy-efficient exterior solutions. Their selection includes variety of fixture styles and finishes to meet design and budget goals of any scope.

 DON’T’S

  • DON’T choose fixtures that are too small. This is the most common mistake that homeowners make. Your front door should be the focal point of your home’s façade, so it should have the largest and most ornate fixture. If you use only one light fixture by the door, aim for one that is roughly 1/3 the height of the door, and if you use two, aim for 1/4 the door’s height.
  • DON’T use light bulbs with wattage that is too high. Using bulbs with 40-75 watts or the equivalent thereof is best for outdoor fixtures. Choose the wattage based on the fixture, but never use more wattage than you need because it could create glare and daunt your guests rather than welcome them.
  • DON’T skimp on light fixtures at the back door. They should be less important than the front door’s fixtures, but they should match the rest of your home’s lighting and not be too small.

*Sarah Kellner is a writer for The Home Depot. With a background in art and design, she writes on a wide variety of home improvement and decorating topics. To shop outdoor lighting options, visit the homedepot.com selection online.

Tips on Making Small Spaces within Your Home Appear Larger

Even though you might not have a large and spacious home it does not mean that you cannot make small spaces work for you. Moreover, with a few tips and tricks you can make small spaces seem larger than they really are. But, you will need careful and precise planning and design to make small spaces work for you. It can be challenging to arrange everything in your living space to seem visually larger and bigger, but playing with the right color combination or with lighting you can really achieve great results.

Color Design

Opting for bright colors in small spaces will make them look bigger, but you have to be careful which colors and shades you choose because different colors can influence the mood of the room, as well. If you also arrange the room to have lots of light then you will have a winning combination in visually expanding your small room.

Be careful, though, that the bright color choices are not too aggressive as it will seem that your room is cramped. Moreover, too intensive colors and too much contrast will only create chaos and anxiety in a room; it is a good idea to match the colors with your furniture, or to at least make the colors compatible.

Multi-practical Furniture

Perhaps the biggest issue to tackle in a small living area is where to store all your belongings, and that is why it is great to own multipurpose furniture which can be used to store some of your stuff. Installing shelves and drawers on walls is a great way to put away some of your stuff, but be careful not to clog up pathways from room to room.

It is important to look for furniture which will allow you to maximize your space and that will not take up too much space on its own, we learn from renowned Sydney-based project management specialists.  Arrange the furniture and newly installed shelves in a way that will make the room feel less cramped, and most importantly: avoid clutter.

Lights

It is important to have your small rooms well lit and to avoid darkness at all costs. Lights for small rooms will help in making the room seem bigger and more welcoming. You should however focus on letting in as much natural light as possible, in small rooms avoid using heavy draperies and curtains that will choke the light out.

Installing artificial lights should be done in way to stretch the walls and to make them bigger and longer than they really are. You do not have to use lights which are too big nor do you have to use lights which are too big.

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall

One of the easiest and cheapest ways to create the illusion of a bigger room is to use large wall mirrors. By reflecting light and the contours of the room, your room will feel a lot bigger and more spacious. It is best to fill in empty walls with big mirrors and by doing so your room will look bigger and it will feel as if everything is utilized.

Keep Everything Organized

Having everything organized, from your furniture to the small details on shelves and desks can really mean the difference. It is vital that you keep small spaces clutter free and they will immediately feel bigger. Moreover, it is also important to decide what is worth having on display and what you can get rid of; by neatly organizing every detail in a room, you will create the illusion of it being more spacious.

Author Bio: Lillian Connors is a blogger and home improvement enthusiast ever so keen on doing various DIY projects around her house and passionately writing about them. She is also an online marketing consultant, closely collaborating with a number of companies from all over the globe. You can check her out on G+, Facebook and Twitter.

Guest Blogger: How to Choose the Right Color Temperature Bulbs for Your Rooms

How a room is lit affects the overall impression of the space. Lighting adds drama and function to a room, and the best lighting scheme uses natural light supplemented with ambient, task, and accent lighting, without overusing any of them.

The combination of indoor lighting and natural sunlight can completely change the feeling of a space when the bulb’s temperature is taken into consideration. Finding the right mix can be tricky, but it is worth the time and effort. A balanced mix of bulb temperature can sustain the warmth of a room while allowing homeowners to create different moods within a space.

Kitchen Lighting

Getting Control

One of the best, and least expensive, ways to control lighting is with dimmers, also called rheostats. Dimmers can not only set a mood, but also will conserve energy. They also help you custom-tailor light in a room for multiple uses and decorative effects. Another option is a control panel.

Lighting controls give you the flexibility to design a lighting plan with many uses and a variety of decorative touches. With the push of a button, you can use today’s sophisticated dimming systems to lower light levels to conserve energy and increase bulb life, alter the intensity of light to suit your activity, and create and save a number of different lighting scenes in each room.

2- dimmer photo

Beware Of Glare

When placing light fixtures, consider the glare they produce. Direct glare from a bare bulb is the worst kind. Remedies include deeply recessed fixtures, fixtures with baffles or small apertures, and diffusing shades or covers. You can avoid reflected glare, which is light that bounces off an object into your eyes, by placing fixtures at a 30- to 45-degree angle.

Choosing Lighting Sources

One might think that choosing light fixtures comes first, but professional designers pick bulbs — which they call “lamps” — and then the appropriate fixtures. Bulbs can be grouped according to the way they produce light. Though most of us have a sense of what to expect from a 40-watt incandescent bulb, watts are no longer a good way to describe a bulb’s light output — now, different technologies use different amounts of power to produce the same light.

Compare lumens to see how bright a bulb is. If you want to know how warm or cool the light produced will be, look for the Kelvin rating. For the warm light traditionally produced by incandescent bulbs, look for those close to 2,700 Kelvin. Most of the old fluorescent tubes you’re familiar with are around 4,000 Kelvin. Fluorescents come in many varieties these days, from warm to cool, from traditional tubes to compact fluorescents (CFLs), all in many interesting shapes. Each will have its own effect on the colors in your space.

Incandescent light is still available, but in a more efficient package. Look for halogen bulbs that look the same as traditional bulbs, but with the filament encased in gas. They are able to produce light like a 100-watt incandescent bulb, with only 72 watts.

  • To warm up a room’s color: Look for a bulb with a temperature close to 2,700 Kelvin. Halogens are a good choice, but all types of bulbs are available in warmer ratings.
  • To cool down a room’s color: Look for a bulb with a temperature close to 4,000 Kelvin. Standard fluorescents will generally cool down a room, but check the numbers.
  • To most accurately replicate natural daylight: Midday sunlight is around 5,000 to 6,000 Kelvin, but keep in mind that this is very cool light — contrary to what you might expect.

Halogen Bulbs

These give off the whitest light and do not change interior color perception. They are ideal for task and accent lighting. They must be used in halogen fixtures only.

Light-Emitting Diodes

Light-emitting diodes (LEDs) are the longest-lasting bulbs out there and they cost the least to operate. If your fixture is on a dimmer, keep in mind that while the color produced by the LED at full strength will match that of its equivalent incandescent, when dimmed, the incandescent will get much warmer in tone, while the LED will just dim and the color will stay pretty consistent.blog-lighting2

Fluorescent Bulbs

These create a steady, shadow-less light to simulate daylight. They are highly energy efficient, and come in both tubes and bulbs. The newest generation of fluorescent bulbs has minimal noise and flicker and comes in a wide spectrum of colors.

Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs

Compact Fluorescent Lights (CFLs) use 70% less energy than the incandescent light bulbs they replace. They’re available in various sizes and shapes to match different fixtures and come in different shades of white light. You can even find CFLs for use with a dimmer switch or a three-way fixture.

Other Light Sources

Some specialty lights don’t provide a great deal of useful light but can be fun as decorative elements. These include neon, fiber optics, and rope lights.

With a rainbow of choices, what bulbs will you use in your space?Rainbow of Lighting

***Kerrie Kelly, an interior designer, writes for The Home Depot on décor and lighting. Kerrie provides tips on a breadth of décor topics from color pallets to the type of light bulbs to create the right ambiance in a room. Check out The Home Depot website to view the LED and CFL light bulbs that Kerrie wrote about in her article.

Guest Blogger: DIY Pendant Lights for Customized Kitchen Lighting

1. IntroUpdating your lighting is one of the quickest ways to add personality to your home. The best part is that you don’t need to invest an exorbitant sum of money or have a substantial amount of DIY experience to make it happen.

A decorative pendant light will not only enhance the visibility in the kitchen when it’s dark out, but it will also bring some charm to this portion of the kitchen that’s been looking a little lackluster. After all, everything else in the room is new, so why should the light fixture be any different?

We set out to find a reasonably priced mini pendant to suit the space and here’s what we found:

3. Light

It’s true that you can find inspiration anywhere. For me, I didn’t have to travel any further than the kitchen containers next to our sink – directly underneath the new pendant light.

I painted this glass jar with bright blue chalkboard paint (and a few others scattered around the kitchen) and freehand painted white scrolls along the entire border. The similar swirls in the pendant light provide the perfect repetition of the scrollwork design throughout the rest of the room and help to reinforce the “theme” in a very subtle way.

4. Jar

As soon as you settle on the design for your kitchen, make sure you have everything you need for the installation. My mini pendant came with all installation materials and all I needed to do was connect it and hang it from the ceiling.

As a good rule of thumb, I always like to watch an experienced professional perform a new task before undertaking it myself. Given that, I recommend you educate yourself on a professional’s protocol if you’ve never installed a light fixture before.

In general, follow all proper safety precautions when electrical wiring is involved and always be sure to read the instruction manual included in your light’s box before beginning. Ensure all electrical power is turned off from your main breaker box, check it with a voltage tester and do not attempt a self-installation if you have any concerns about the wiring or electrical components.

After observing all of the above and installing my new mini pendant, here’s how the space above the sink looks now. I am thrilled with my newly fashionable and functional fixture and what its presence has done for my entire kitchen!

5. Close

**

Rheney Williams provides tips to homeowners on lighting for Home Depot, and her recently purchased home in Charleston, S.C., has given Rheney wonderful new opportunities to work on lighting projects. You can view Home Depot’s complete selection of pendant lights, including the style Rheney used in her home, here.

DIY Friday: Light Up the Kitchen

Dress up an eating area with a fresh light fixture. Replacing an existing fixture is your easiest option: Just turn off the power at the breaker box and connect the wires.

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source: Better Homes and Gardens

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