Lighting Buyers Guide
Lighting for the home goes beyond just providing a source of functional illumination, but can also be used to complement or accentuate the decor of the different rooms and spaces in both the interior and exterior spaces of your home.
Luckily, there’s a wide range of lighting options to choose from based on different purposes and each one presents different designs and price points to suit various tastes and budgets. Read on to learn more about what you should consider when looking for the perfect lighting for your home.
Different Types of Lighting
Chandeliers are considered by many to be a glamorous form of lighting and are often available in fabulous and artistic designs made to add a dramatic allure to spaces like the foyer, kitchen, dining room, living room and even the bedroom.
Utility light fixtures have to be the simplest type of lighting there is because they’re just made for the purpose of providing illumination without adding to the general decor of the room.
As such, they’re very simple in design and are often placed in spots that make it difficult to see them, which makes them perfect for providing light for functional rooms, such as the garage or the basement.
As the name suggests, recessed light fixtures are often placed out of sight and will either be used as task lighting in the kitchen cabinets or over the island area, for example, or as accent lighting to highlight a specific piece of artwork, etc.
A type of recessed light fixture known as an ‘eyeball’ works great to create the illusion of expanded space in a room with a sloped ceiling. You also have the option to use several eyeball trims to create a ‘wall washing’ effect and in addition, the same fixture works great to provide lighting in predominantly wet or damp areas, like the bath area or shower.
Wall lighting is available in a number of designs for both indoor and outdoor use, but are most popular with the latter application, especially when used alone. However, they work great as task or accent lighting in specific areas and can come in the form of wall sconces or lamps.
Track lighting is typically used to provide an area with specific lighting or to highlight a specific area of a room or space. For example, you can have it suspended as different units in a living room area, or mount it on the walls to highlight artwork or workspaces.
Lamps come in a variety of types - firstly, there are floor lamps that are superb sources of versatile task lighting which works great in any room, but are often used to provide a calming light source in the living room or bedroom area, while deliberately complementing the decor scheme.
Table lamps, on the other hand, are great for reading purposes and are often placed on a table in a study or home library for that purpose, while desk lamps are more suited to providing task lighting to a workspace like a home office or studio.
Ceiling lights are a fantastic complement to the central light provided by chandeliers and are usually mounted right onto the ceiling.
Pendant lights usually hang down from the ceiling to provide direct and immediate light to the surrounding environment. They’re also typically used for decorative purpose, as they’re available in a wide variety of styles, colours and designs.
These days, outdoor light fixtures are used for more than just helping you to see outdoors at night and is rather selected based on its ability to contribute to the visual charm of a home’s exterior decor.
Different types of outdoor lighting include string lights, floodlights, lanterns, path lighting and light fixtures that are specifically placed in areas like the garage or the front door to welcome visitors and add panache to the overall decor.
Types of Bulbs
Incandescent bulbs provide an incredibly bright source of light and are available in a variety of options including the inexpensive general service bulbs that come in the globe, teardrop and general light bulb shapes; reflectorised incandescent that are designed to provide direct lighting instead of all-round lighting; as well as the Tungsten-Halogen incandescent whose light is much whiter and brighter than the other types and are more efficient and long-lasting, as well.
On the downside, general incandescent light bulbs are not very energy efficient and are thus mostly recommended for task lighting purposes.
Fluorescent bulbs are an extremely long-lasting and reliable light source that is available in a variety of different colours. Similar to incandescent bulbs, these bulbs emit warm and inviting light tones and are available as versatile CFLs (Compact Fluorescent Lamps) commonly used in residential applications and T8 bulbs, which are typically employed in large ceiling fixtures and commercial projects.
Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs)
LEDs are by far one of the most popular light bulb choices right now due to the fact that they’re extremely energy efficient and durable. Just be on the lookout for LEDs with the Energy Star symbol which is a sign of superior manufacturing that ensures excellent colour quality and energy efficiency.
Although mostly used in commercial projects, LEDs work great for task lighting and downlights, while research and development is underway to develop LEDs that could work for more applications around the home.
The different types of lighting styles that you’re most likely to come across include:
These usually come in the form of pendants, floor or desk lamps as well as recessed, rack and under cabinet lights and are commonly used for performing specific tasks such as cooking, reading, playing games, grooming and even working on your hobbies.
This style is the foundation of your overall general lighting scheme and is utilized in providing central lighting, around which all your other complementary light fixtures are based. Examples of ambient lights include chandeliers, track lights, recessed lights as well as outdoor lanterns.
Accent lights usually have a dramatic effect on any space and are actually meant to imitate natural light. These can come in the form of pendants, table or floor lamps, or well-placed spotlights that can be used to highlight certain decor details.
Factors to Consider
The size of the light fixture should be relational and relevant to the overall size of the space that it’s meant for so that it fits in perfectly and doesn’t look out of place.
Choose a light fixture that complements your own taste and style, so that it speaks to your character and feels comfortable to you every time you look at it.
Purchase From A Local Dealer
Buying from a local service provider comes with lots of benefits, including the ability to return it without worrying about shipping fees and having access to physical technical assistance when you need it through a warranty.
By the time you start shopping for a light fixture, have a clear direction in terms of the overall decor theme of the space which you are purchasing the light fixture for so that you can choose lighting that complements that space in terms of the wall colour and in accentuating the important details.
Determine the specific areas where you need the lighting for and the amount of lighting that each area needs, so you know how many light fixtures you’ll need to purchase for each area.
Care and Cleaning
Maintaining light fixtures is relatively easy, especially when you clean them regularly. However, the best way to clean light fixtures is, to begin with switching off the lights and waiting for the bulb to cool off before wiping the bulb and its base with a damp cloth and gently removing the cover.
For covers made out of pewter, nickel, steel, chrome, glass and brass, all you need is to immerse them in slightly warm and soapy water, rinse them off and dry them gently with a lint-free cloth.
Although paper shades can be cleaned, it’s best to replace them after a while as they tend to get too dirty and harder to clean over time. Silk covers require professional cleaning, while rattan, fabric and beaded shades only require regular vacuuming to prevent dust build up.
It’s also best to clean covers manually by hand and avoid placing them in the dishwasher no matter how tempting this might seem, as machines tend to damage their beauty and quality. Also, avoid the use of harsh chemicals and opt for gentle, chemical-free options like organic detergents, or homemade detergents instead.
Regardless of where you’ll be placing your light fixtures, it’s incredibly important that you make sure that they complement the overall size and decor scheme of the space, while still serving their intended purpose.
Luckily, there’re lots of options to choose from for both indoor and outdoor illumination and for both light bulbs and light fixtures, so there’s no excuse for choosing an ill-fitting lighting solution for your home or your commercial property, regardless of your budget, style or application.