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Lighting Options

by Kim Kinrade

There is an odd set of circumstances that affects many people in during the throes of home remodeling. In short they spend a small fortune on the remodeling part, spending extra on draperies, blinds and faux finishes for the added embellishments, but fail to include the type of lighting in the final analysis.

This type of thinking is not arrived at without some consideration or consultation with people from the paint company to the drapery salesperson. Like everyone on the planet, they have their opinion. The downside of this type of collaboration is that not everyone understands the subtleties of lighting or its effect on both the practical and the design aspects of the new area.

The Age of Practical

Not so many years ago European designers came up with a “no-nonsense,” practical way of lighting which introduced track and work lights. In the kitchens these lighting appliances directed sharp points of light to the work stations and, for overhead ambiance, provided an illumination of the ceiling from lights hidden above the cabinets. The people from abroad mixed techno-styling with functional suitability and came up with an excellent kitchen that bedazzled one with stainless-steel elegance. Elsewhere, lights copied this style even returning to the age of pole lamps for the front room.

Today, lighting trends are leaning toward fixtures that take in this efficient aspect of lighting are taking off the cold veneer and adding some elements that make the whole concept aesthetically pleasing. So, instead of accenting the just the practical the new eyes look to lighting as a useful decorating partner.

No Gloss

The patina of the fixtures in the past was glossy, both the metal and other materials in the fixture. Bold brasses were the norm and ceramics also has a sheen. Besides the practical element another look that stuck from the European designers was a satin or brushed look. In addition, brass was not only toned down and brushed it was darkened and antiqued. Any glow from the materials has transformed into a succession of satins and honed metals.

Hide the Work

In the kitchens lighting came of age with under-the-cabinet lighting regulating the view of the work stations. These are recessed pots or “puck” LED's which are unseen until the light is needed. These light strings can be broken up into sections or made to come on all at once. In addition, this concept can be transferred to the cabinets and triggered to come on when needed. This saves the hassle of routing through a base cabinet to find a small pot.

Cabinet Lighting

In dining room buffets, china cabinets and other units of display lighting is used to accent the contents. In the past these would have been small halogens but new advances in LED lighting makes for a cooler light in all colors and shades. In addition the LED's will not add heat to the cabinet which might damage some delicate item like an old book or fabric artifact.

Outdoor Lighting

The patio has seen a renaissance in the past few years. Outdoor living with indoor comforts is sweeping the country and so patios are featuring large kitchens, fireplaces and overstuffed furniture. To complete this natural specter is the proper lighting. Everything from colored patio lights to base-mounted tree and shrub lighting is turning the backyard into a wonderland of colored shadows. Security lights have also taken on this tone but with just enough of an edge to both illuminate and intimidate an intruder.

There is also a strong case for “light pollution,” which is the wash of light that intrudes across the property lines. Many of the new fixtures have aiming qualities which make them non-intrusive to neighbors.

Solar Lighting

There are two great pluses with solar lighting. The first is that having lights powered by the sun requires no energy output. And the second is that solar-powered lights can run off electricity stored in battery units so that much of the home's lighting can be powered by the sun.

Although this requires some initial expense the savings in energy will be felt almost immediately and soon almost all the homes lighting can be off the grid.

For more information on lighting contact a professional. It doesn't cost to drop down to a lighting company and see the new and innovative lighting ideas.

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