Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Lighting Makes a Difference

by Sheila
One of the ways you can update a home is to replace lighting fixtures.  I have been doing this recently at my Cairo investment property to give it a fresh look and more importantly, to improve the available light in the space.  This isn't difficult, nor does it have to be expensive.  You can spend lots of money on light fixtures, and that may be worth it to you, but you can find reasonably priced options at your local home improvement stores, online and even at salvage and thrift stores.  Hardwired (built in to the wall wiring) fixtures can be converted to plug-in and vice-versa pretty easily.  There are tutorials online for this, or you can hire it done

I salvaged this light from my Son's condo.  I painted it with stainless steel appliance paint and I love it!

Ambient lighting is also known as general lighting and provides the overall lighting for a room. These are most often your overhead lights.  Task lighting does what it says; gives you the light to perform specific tasks within a space, such as a lamp for reading or under-counter lights in a kitchen. Accent lighting highlights certain elements of your decor, such as a wall-mounted picture light or outdoor lights that shine on featured items in your landscape.  All of these are important and should be considered in your overall lighting plan, combining function and style.

I am not a lighting expert and have made a few mistakes over the years with some of my choices. Here are some of the things I have learned:

Light bulbs are hard to keep up with these days.  I know that I generally do not like the "blue" or cooler light color of many of the new energy efficient bulbs.  I know they are getting better with this, but it can really affect the color in a room.  Also, some of these are dimmable, but not all, so be sure you check that if you want to be able to control the amount of light in a space.  

The downstairs bath "before".  How 'bout that orange?

A close-up of the overhead light.  Interesting...

David took pity on me and lent a hand.  Thank you!
He installed this overhead chandelier ($48) and wall sconce ($52) last night.
Do you miss the globe light and the orange?  Not me!
Also, some lights are hotter than others.  Hot can lights are not a good choice for an Arizona kitchen. I put these as can lights in a rental and it was an issue.  Be sure to ask when you purchase lighting if this is a concern for you. 

Hall wall sconce "before".

And the new wall sconce.

Dimmers are critical for controlling ambience.  These are also easy to install and well worth it.  I put them  EVERYWHERE.  Be sure that the dimmer you choose will dim the light fixture and bulb you are using.  Not all dimmers are created equal.  Also, make sure you select the right dimmer for your switches (single switch operation = single pole dimmer).  

I add dimmers everywhere.

Installs in minutes!
Lighting is one of the most important features to create a mood in the evening hours.  A glaring overhead light is not nearly as conducive to a relaxing dinner party as dimmed lighting and candles. On the other hand, if you are cooking and can't see what you are doing, you need to consider additional task light to get the job done.  Is there an area in your home where the right light would improve your use of space?  I am on the lookout for a reading lamp in my den.  There's always something...


  1. I agree, lighting makes a huge difference.

  2. I agree also lighting makes such a world of difference.

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