From function to design, lighting affects everything. A room's appearance and feel, highlights and accents, and utility and cost are all important in considering how our home‘s lighting affects how we live. When contemplating a renovation, consider how lighting renewal can transform your eyesight, living space and energy consumption.
"Many of today's lighting trends include energy efficiency and conservation," says Rick Wiedemer, president of Hinkley Lighting in
Ceiling, wall-mounted and portable fixtures, and recessed and track lighting are all available in energy-efficient compact fluorescent bulbs as well as light-emitting diode (LED) lights.
Baby boomers are finding that they need three to four times as much light and that glare is hard on the eyes. Fluorescent bulbs are easier to see by than regular light bulbs. LED lights are being used more for their reduced glare, as well as Halogen, for their white light quality. You can choose energy-efficient bulbs in many styles for redecorating your whole house.
So, you have heard about LED lights but aren't sure what they are?
As Joe Rey-Barreau explains, "Light-emitting diodes resemble a very small computer chip - a sandwich of two very thin layers of glass with a chemical in between, that when charged with electricity, emits powerful illumination and saves energy."
Rey-Barreau, a professor in architecture and interior design at the
LED lights are being constructed for every type of lighting to fit the style in your home. Rey-Barreau says, "There's no singularity to style. I call it populism in a continuing major trend that’s going on; a diversification of styles. Because there’s a style for every person, and everyone can get what they want."
With decorative finishes in brushed nickel, pewter or Italian glass, you can find a look that suits your taste. In the kitchen, the keystone of entertainment, adding a few under-cabinet fixtures will make food preparation easier, and a few pendant fixtures over the island or breakfast nook will add a touch of art that draws the eye in a whole new direction.
Historically, exotic finishes were seen as high-end, pricey items that are now more affordable and can be found in the entry level of product availability. For example, items like Murano glass from
"More recently, the varied styles in light fixtures have been combined to create a new combination of designs for a completely different look. Traditional and contemporary styles come together - modernist materials like stainless steel combined with crystals - for a trend that's different that anything weíve seen in the past," says Rey-Barreau.
Create a lively, warm living environment with precisely placed light. Illuminate your prized painting, book collection or family heirloom with recessed lighting, sconces or the latest, MonoRail.
MonoRail is the biggest thing since ice cream. MonoRail is like track lighting was 40 years ago. It's twistable to configure to any position you want, to hang pendants or directional head lights, or fixtures - right up to the rail, and they come in brushed aluminum and bronze, which is great if you have a wood ceiling; it just disappears.
Carefully aimed light allows you to see well, and lights up what you want people to see; as if creating a work of art with your living space. In the dining room, where the attention is on the guests at the table, a chandelier provides the general lighting you need and adds style and sparkle, perfect for dining, tasks or table games.
"The dining room fixture is like jewelry for your house," says Held. "You don't change it as often, but when redecorating a room you notice that your fixture is dated."
Good light is essential to seeing well, especially for the tiny fine print. For better lighting where you need it most - for reading or hobbies - MonoRail is perfect. Direct it exactly where you need it, and readjust the direction later when your need changes. Or, include recessed lighting around the whole room with numerous switches and dimmer choices to adjust the light on demand.