By Gene And Katie Hamilton
A good lighting scheme in a room or throughout a house is something you feel and experience when you enter. It's a subtle backdrop that makes a family room inviting, a home office a comfortable work environment, and kitchens and bathroom functional and efficient. A well thought-out lighting scheme sets the stage and creates an atmosphere in a room unlike any other improvement.
Design a lighting scheme for your house based on your lifestyle and how you live there. Spend some time evaluating just how you and your family use each room. For example, in many homes a kitchen-family room is the main event where many activities take place - preparing food, dining, doing homework, reading mail, watching television - so a variety of lighting is needed. Keep a small notepad in each room and enlist the help of everyone to jot down what they do and how they use the room. Make it an ongoing list that everyone can add to and you'll come up with a good idea of how rooms are used.
Visit a lighting showroom
Plan some time to visit a lighting showroom to see all the different types of fixtures and systems for a house. Talk with a lighting expert about the lighting needs for your house based on the lists you've created. A lighting pro can design a lighting scheme as well as implement the scheme with the fixtures and most energy efficient light sources to use.
For the most part there are three types of lighting throughout a house: general, task and accent. General lighting provides overall illumination and is usually accomplished with a ceiling light or chandelier. Task lighting helps you perform specific tasks like cooking, reading, or sitting at a desk and operating a computer. Accent lighting draws attention to a focal point in a room like artwork on a wall or a prized collection on a shelf.
Here's a rundown of basic room-by-room lighting needs.
Cost of Rplacing Light Fixtures
- a ceiling fixture with fluorescent tubes for well diffused overall illumination
- recessed downlights with compact fluorescent tubes installed in a soffit or ceiling over sink and range for preparing food
- energy efficient under-cabinet lights installed on the bottom of cabinets for preparing food
- a shaded ceiling fixture above a dining table or island counter for eating
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