What Are the Real Costs of Light Pollution?

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Photo Source: IDA

There is also mounting scientific evidence of how light pollution can affect humans beyond the toxins released by burning coal. Excessive artificial light exposure can affect our circadian rhythm and raise our risk of some cancers. Constant exposure to light suppresses the body’s production of melatonin because darkness stimulates the production of this important hormone.

678333Melatonin helps us to regulate the production of other hormones and supports the circadian rhythm. Studies have shown a correlation between women exposed to larger amounts of artificial light at night and breast cancer, and studies of men around the globe have shown that those that live in nations with higher levels of nighttime light are more prone to prostate cancer.

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What can you do to decrease light pollution? Select appropriate exterior light fixtures that focus light where it is needed versus spreading light all around and into the sky which will in turn reduce the wattage required to illuminate the desired area and your electric bill will be an added bonus.

585683There are currently no government regulations or standards in place on a national level but many cities and states do have ordinances in place. The International Dark Sky Association is also in talks with the Department of Energy to incorporate the Dark Sky standards into the Energy Star program.515309


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Essential Design Tips for Table & Floor Lamps

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Photo Source: Kichler.com

Today with all of our lighting options to choose from including monorail track systems, chandeliers and illuminated ceiling fans it is easy to forget and dismiss the use of table and floor lamps for decorating and lighting our living spaces.  But portable lamps are more than just providers of light, if chosen correctly they can become an extension of the owners personality and taste providing the finishing touch to any well designed room.699259

  • When choosing table and floor lamps they are a few simple rules of thumb to keep in mind.541849
  • A table lamp must be in proportion with the furnishings in which it sits, and be no more than one and one half times the height of the table.
  •  The shade on a table lamp should never be wider than the table in which it sits.
  •  In living areas the bottom of the shade should be 40-42” from the floor so the light is at eye level when seated.37883
  •  For intricate task lighting such as sewing the light source should be 10”-12” below the user’s eye level.37886
  • In bedrooms the bottom of the shade should be 18”-20” from the top of the bedside table.
  • To achieve a sense of balance all lamps in the same room including floor lamps should all be displayed at the same height.700802

Finally if you are selecting a shade to go with a lamp body the diameter of the shade should equal the distance from the bottom of the lamp base to the bottom of the bulb socket.

Make the Switch: Tips for LED and Energy-Efficient Design

Access_Kristal_51001-CH-CRYHow well we see, work and play is influenced by the quality and quantity of light that surrounds us. With an ever-growing range of LED and energy-efficient lighting options on the market, we can enhance the comfort, beauty and functionality of homes, offices and outdoor spaces at the flip of a switch. This new generation of lighting can increase energy efficiency by 40%, provide greater convenience, improve our sense of security and reduce waste. There’s a wealth of options to choose from. Check out our edited selection of energy-efficient fixtures designed to put any environment in its best light.

LED MINI-PENDANTS: BEAUTIFUL & SMART

72980-BS-SAROLight-Emitting Diodes (LEDs) emit powerful illumination while consuming less energy than an incandescent bulb. Switching to a LED mini-pendant from Access Lighting can help start cutting energy costs right away. Renowned for merging a European-style aesthetic, affordable elegance and environmental savvy, Access Lighting offers a comprehensive range of lighting solutions, including an extensive collection of LED mini-pendants. Access_Safari Glass exampleFeaturing playful geometric shapes and artistic textures, including Techno Metal, Safari Opaline and Iridescent glass, these jewel-like mini-pendants make saving energy so…energizing.

SHINE ON

NUVO Lighting creates beautifully crafted, energy-efficient luminaires that help save money and protect the environment. Nuvo_Raindrop_example of style

Nuvo_Wave_example of styleThe Inspire LED collection fuses the power of LED technology, contemporary styling and playful shapes like Frame, Wave and Raindrop. Each series in the collection offers versatile pendants, sconces, kitchen/island lights and bath fixtures in a variety of finishes. Dimmer switches enhance energy efficiency while creating custom ambiance.

MINIMALIST LINES, MAXIMUM IMPACT

For Energy Star-rated pendants that unite energy efficiency and high style, consider the Tali 614478  or Shava 614608 from Access Lighting. These cord pendants are defined by clean lines, exposed spiral fluorescent bulbs and sleek finishes. Perfect for transitional and contemporary environments, the Julia 23086FC stem pendant is a tour de force of streamlined styling and opalescent glass, offset by a brushed steel or oil-rubbed bronze finish, makes a definitive statement.

CROSSOVER ARTIST

Nuvo_Rockport MilanoThe Rockport Milano collection from NUVO Lighting is the ultimate in transitional styling. Merging traditional touches like an alabaster-swirl glass shade with contemporary lines and a sleek brushed nickel finish, it’s a sophisticated take on Energy Star rated lighting.

TAKE IT OUTSIDE

Nuvo_Parisian_Outdoor_EEGive outdoor spaces a French twist with NUVO Lighting’s Parisian collection. Characterized by classic touches like fluted seed glass and an Old Penny Bronze finish, clean lines and CFL lamping give this family a contemporary edge. Available as an outdoor pendant, post-light and wall-mount fixture, Parisian creates ambiance while saving energy.

PROTECTIVE MEASURES

Access_Poseidon_20300MG-BRZElevating efficiency to the extreme, Access Lighting’s Poseidon collection endures harsh weather conditions while enhancing exterior architecture and security. Inspired by the ancient Greek god of the sea, the collection’s Energy Star certified outdoor wallwashers and bulkheads feature fluorescent lamping options that use up to 75% less energy than a traditional incandescent bulb. Plus Compact Fluorescent Lights (CFLs) last at least six times longer, ensuring the convenience of fewer bulb changes.

Look at these other great energy efficient light fixtures available at BellacorPro!

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1.   804180 –  Stix Patina Bronze Two-Light LED Pendant w/ Frosted Glass

2.   822705 – Polygon 19-Inch Polished Chrome Sixty-Light LED Pendant

3.   822774 – Bullet Polished Chrome Six-Light LED Mini Pendant

4.  548017 – Bobo Bronze LED Pendant w/Blue Bubble Glass

5.  547350 – Rainbow Bronze LED Pendant w/Turquoise Glass

Get The Green Light

700994Imagine two lamps sitting on a table. One is fitted with a traditional incandescent bulb, the other with a high-efficiency compact fluorescent bulb. Both bulbs are readily available in stores. Both bulbs fit into standard sockets and fixtures. Both bulbs give off a warm, pleasing light. The difference? The compact fluorescent bulb will use about one-fourth the energy and last more than 10 times longer than the incandescent bulb.

This year‘s NeoCon World Trade Fair in Chicago was all about “green” products – environmentally friendly items from fabrics and floor coverings to lighting and fixtures. Green products feature positive environmental attributes such as significant recycled content, low emissions, energy efficiency and savings, as well as completing the renewable loop by also being able to be easily recycled.

810267Light fixtures and bulbs should be among the first products that come to mind when “designing green.” Using environmentally friendly lighting and high-efficiency bulbs are simple ways to improve energy efficiency in homes, offices and businesses.

To incorporate eco-friendly products, designers must choose from a number of factors including the initial cost, the amount of savings over the product‘s life cycle, the styles offered and lead times in getting a product. In the past, many green products were unsuccessful because their only asset was being efficient – they were unattractive, offered few options and were sometimes difficult to find. In order to succeed, green products must fit seamlessly into project schemes, enhancing their functionality, their aesthetics – as well as their sustainability.

607738Today‘s energy efficient products offer a wide variety of styles and options and are also readily available. The ENERGY STAR program has promoted the development of efficient products since 1992, so choosing to use light bulbs or entire light fixtures that are ENERGY STAR approved is an easy way to preserve energy, save money and contribute to a cleaner environment.

Tips for Designing Green

Where do you start when creating environmentally friendly designs? Here are just a few tips on how to design green for your projects.

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Photo Source: Kichler

Create targeted, layered lighting. The idea that kitchens and work areas need to be super-bright has gotten out of hand. Instead of creating high light levels for an entire room, selectively brighten high-use areas with targeted task lights that focus in on the activity.

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Photo Source: Kichler

Using layered lighting is also an effective technique. By combining different types of lights – such as recessed lights for overall room lighting, pendant lights for task lighting and under cabinet fixtures for ambient lighting – you allow easy adjustment of a room‘s light level for a variety of tasks, simply by choosing which fixtures to turn on.

Turn it off; turn it down – save energy. “Turn off that light – you‘re wasting energy.” Isn‘t this what parents tell their kids? Flipping the “off” switch seems an obvious way to save energy, but sometimes it‘s not that simple, especially for offices or outdoor lighting.

A practical solution is to make it automatic – add dimmers, timers or sensors to help lower energy usage and costs. Occupant sensors can automatically turn off the office lights when no one is in a room. Motion sensors can switch on the outdoor lights when you drive near the garage. A timer switch can turn the sidewalk lights on at dusk, off at dawn.

Balance energy efficiency and economics. There‘s no doubt; green fixtures and bulbs will have a higher up-front cost. But compare it to the overall savings, and green products will ultimately give you a better return on the investment by reducing energy bills, lasting significantly longer and saving time by not needing to be replaced as often.

511778If you are working with a tight budget, you can still add energy efficiency to your project by giving priority to the fixtures that are most frequently used. Areas where the lights are used daily or are left on for long periods of time (such as the kitchen or outdoor security lights) will certainly result in significant energy and cost savings.

For more information or to learn more about energy-efficient products, check out the Department of Energy‘s Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Network website at http://www.EnergySavers.gov, or the ENERGY STAR website at www.EnergyStar.gov.

The Art of Air Flow

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Photo Source: Kichler

As summer approaches many of us are trying to find ways to cool our living and work spaces effectively but affordably. Replacing an existing ceiling light with a ceiling fan could be the answer.  Ceiling fans are extremely energy efficient, using less energy than a 100 watt light bulb, and they can reduce the demands on both our air conditioners and furnaces.

34775In the summer the air movement created by a fan can make a 79 degree room feel like it’s  72 degrees, and by raising the thermostat you could save up to 30% on your air conditioning bills.   According to one energy company the average fan costs 1 cent an hour to operate in comparison to 16 cents for a room air conditioner.  Since heat rises in the winter reverse the blades direction to push warm air down which can also help you save on your heating bill. In addition to their economic benefits ceiling fanscan add style and design to any room.  The design and finish’s they are currently available in are endless and can fit any décor.

44118Here is a list of tips to keep in mind when selecting a ceiling fan.

The pitch of the blade determines the amount of air that is moved, the greater the pitch the greater amount of air movement.    Typically you want the blade pitch to fall between 12-15 degrees.  A  14 degree blade pitch will move between 8,000 to 9,000 cubic feet of air per minute.  The higher the blade pitch the higher the quality of the motor needs to be.  If the motor is not sturdy enough to accommodate the blade pitch the life of the fan will be greatly reduced.

100156The blades of the fan should be anywhere between 7 to 10 feet above the floor.  For projects with high ceilings purchase an additional down rod to accommodate the additional length needed. The chart below gives down rod length suggestions.

Ceiling Height    8′     9′    10′    11′    12′    13′   14′   15′     16’+

Rod Length        3″   6″     12″   18″    24″   36″   48″   60″    72

Always remember to keep recessed cans 6 inches to 1 foot away from the tip of the fan blades.  This will eliminate the strobe effect that not only can be annoying but also cause headaches.

607788When selecting a fan you what to keep in mind how the fan will look in relation to the size of the room.   The size of the fan is more of an aesthetic question than that of performance.  A smaller 30”-42” high quality ceiling fan can move as much air if not more than a low quality 60” fan.  The larger the room the larger the fan.  If maximum air movement is the objective,  make sure the size and motor fit the room, and if the room size requires use multiple fans to achieve maximum air flow.

Room Size   6’x8′        8’x10′      10’x10′     12’x14′    16’x20′>
Fan Size     29″-42″     40′-50″    42″-52″    50″-60″    50″-60″
# of Fans         1              1              2              2               3

Enhance a Space with Light

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Photo Source: Murray Feiss

What constitutes good lighting design? Whether a space is large or small, whether you are laying out a design for a private home or a public business, a number of factors must come together for lighting to be both effective and beautiful.

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Photo Source: Murray Feiss

First off, the lighting should look good. This may seem to be a simple statement, but attractive lighting involves more than just an expensive fixture or a pretty shade. For good lighting design, the decorative fixtures should not only enhance the overall interior design, but also blend together the light quality and quantity to enhance the space and not detract from it.

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Photo Source: Kichler

Other factors for good lighting design include providing the right amount of light for the tasks performed in any given room; meeting all the budget, code, and other client sensitivities; giving consideration to energy efficiency and lastly, using well-placed switching and dimming as tools to help create “scenes” in lighting designs.

In the book, Lighting Design Basics, James Benya partners with Mark Karlen to lay out the essentials on how to create beautiful lighting designs. Having taught lighting design and applications for over 30 years, Benya uses the layered approach, which incorporates four layers of lighting for effective design; the ambient layer, the task layer, the focal layer, and the decorative layer.

The Ambient Layer

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Photo Source: Hubbardton Forge

As the layer of general, overall lighting, the ambient layer creates the relatively uniform lighting of the space. It tends to establish the mood or atmosphere, and is used to navigate any space and give basic visual recognition.

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Photo Source: Hubbardton Forge

The ambient layer can include uniform downlighting, indirect lighting (using uplighting and wallwashing techniques), but can also be the decorative lighting for the room.

The Task Layer

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Photo Source: Hubbardton Forge

The task layer is the specific lighting provided for any task or workspace. Generally limited to lighting focused onto horizontal work surfaces, task lighting can also help to create drama and exciting lighting contrasts in a room.

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Photo Source: Kitchler

Lighting choices for the task layer may include a variety of fixture styles, such as downlights, undercabinet lights, lamps and pendant fixtures.

The Focal Layer

500885The focal layer is used to focus attention on features such as signage or artwork. Generally limited to accent lighting and similar effects, the focal layer is used to highlight items on display. It also creates drama with a greater contrast of light levels between the focal and ambient layers.

538330The most typical type of focal lighting is track lighting, frequently used because of its adjustability and flexibility.

The Decorative Layer

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Photo Source: Crystorama

The fourth layer is the decorative layer, which includes any fixture selected to enhance the design of any space, adding the decorative touches called for by the architecture or interior design style, period or motif. Usually it adds to the general illumination, and in many designs, the decorative lighting will actually be the ambient lighting for a room.

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Photo Source: Crystorama

Lighting fixtures for the decorative layer can include chandeliers, pendants and sconces. Generally, the decorative layer is not sufficient for task lighting, unless it is a directional fixture, and usually reduces contrast instead of increasing it.

Lighting design is a complex subject, and is an element of interior design that is often difficult to master. Using the layering technique is a great way to start, and will help guide you in learning how to create simple, beautiful lighting designs.

Industrial Indulgence: Illuminate with Industrial Chic Lighting

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Perhaps it was a reclaimed piece from that old shuttered power plant downtown.  Or maybe it came from that salvage yard running along the railroad tracks.  In this day and age, even more likely, it could have been a new, custom made piece intentionally made to look raw, weathered, tarnished, muted in color, and otherwise seeming to have stood the test of time.  The fact is, no matter where it came from or how old it is, industrial chic products for the home interior are trending heavily right now.  Naturally, the lighting industry is helping to drive this trend with a vast array of incredibly design-forward industrial fixtures, featuring artisan-level craftsmanship, that make exquisite use of both authentically old and appealingly new materials.  In doing so, they offer the homeowner a chance to bring a raw, unfinished and strikingly stylish look into the home.

Merits of Metal & Glass

Though an industrial design narrative can be accepting of a variety of different materials such as wood, brick and leather, nothing says industrial chic like good old-fashioned metal and glass.  Fortuitously, these happen to be materials that several lighting manufacturers know how to expertly manipulate into outstanding creations.  However, few companies can do it better than Hudson Valley Lighting, a manufacturer that embodies the industrial grit and dedication to craftsmanship that existed at the turn of the 20th century. 171653 Their Haverhill collection, rich in vintage marine details, features slender spider arms that secure a metal-rimmed diffuser plate and a clear glass shade embossed with vertical ribbing.  HudsonValley_Vintage_3101-SN-008Their Vintage collection makes exceptional use of glass and metal as well, featuring a variety of industrial styled pendants that stand out with finishes including Satin Nickel.

Beautiful in Bronze

Speaking of metals, some of history’s greatest artisans gravitated towards bronze for its ability to be molded into raw, sculptural and luminous forms.  So it’s little surprise that bronze also factors significantly into industrial design.  Bronze has been used to create everything from tools and machinery to furniture and lighting.  Sonneman_BronzeAge5-Light_3165.51Sonneman has taken the application of bronze in industrial lighting to the next level with its aptly named Bronze Age collection, featuring a modern industrial style with a bold geometric dimension, and an eye catching black brass and bronze glass shade.

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Also showing strong with bronze is Hudson Valley Lighting’s Pelham collection, a vintage utility fixture with an etched glass diffuser and chic domed shade available in numerous premium finishes, namely: Historic Bronze.

New York State of Mind

Raw and refined concrete, exposed brick walls, imposing structural wood beams and wide open floor plans; let’s face it, New York is a bastion of industrial chic inspiration and the most design savvy lighting manufacturers have taken notice.  For lighting décor that facilitates a New York state of mind, again look to Sonneman who has gone so far as to name two of their fixtures after a couple of Manhattan’s most iconic neighborhoods. Sonneman_Chelsea_4290.25 Chelsea features a beautiful teardrop-shaped glass and a metal support in a deeply contrasting Satin Black finish.  Sonneman_Tribeca_3-Light_4935.97MESHTribeca features a clear glass globe, black wire mesh and a specially coated bronze bulb that offers an industrial radiance that is all its own.

For a look and feel that is at once vintage and new, look to any of the industrial lighting designs above to make your interior as chic as it is inviting.

Check out these other great Industrial Chic products available at BellacorPro

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Home Office Design

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Photo Source: Kichler.com

Home offices are quickly becoming one of the most asked for features in a home, and not just for those that work from home. Millions of Americans now work from home full time and many more do on a part time basis. This has created a need for dedicated home offices that function efficiently, not just a multi-purpose space within a bedroom, den or craft area.

The most important thing to remember when designing home offices is that they need to be comfortable to be efficient. The way to do this is through ergonomics. A well designed work space helps you to work more effectively and without threat of injury. There are basic and easy rules to consider when designing a work area but many people never even think about ergonomics or even know what ergonomics are, that‘s where a good designer comes in. Here are a few considerations when designing an office space:152909

  • A desk should allow the user to move his/her legs while working in a seated position. This simply means that there should be enough space to sit with your legs crossed or to move without banging your knees.659149
  • A good chair should be adjustable, it should tilt, swivel, and the back and armrests should be moveable. There should also be a couple inches between the back of your knees and the front of the seat when you are seated. An ergonomically fit chair can save it‘s user from back problems and user fatigue.
  • Monitors should be placed so that the top of the screen is at eye level and at an arms length when seated. This will keep users from straining their necks.650465
  • Use natural lighting when possible, avoid glare and utilize task lighting where needed. Sufficient lighting can mean less eye strain and headaches.791911
  • Allow space for all equipment and storage for files so that the office can be organized and clutter-free. This will mean less stress and more functionality.

Light Up the Night

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Just as indoor lighting can change the style and mood of rooms inside a home, outdoor lighting can add style, extra interest and safety to a landscape. Today, the wide variety of outdoor lighting fixtures makes it simple to match the type of light you want with the style, design and architectural details of almost any home.

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When considering what outdoor lights you need, first look at the most common outside areas requiring proper lighting, such as sidewalks, entrances and doorways. Lights in these areas are primarily for safety, so placement is very important.

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Photo Courtesy of Heritage Plumbing

Brightening an entryway not only helps in unlocking the door at night, but also makes identifying visitors to your door much easier. Lighting the steps for an entryway or porch can help prevent stumbling and accidental falls. A sidewalk light adds both safety and convenience, and the extra brightness can help discourage crime, intruders and predators.

Other outside areas can also benefit from landscape lighting.

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Adding lights to a patio or deck make them even more useful and comfortable for outdoor barbeques or family gatherings. Landscape lights can showcase the beautiful results of spending the time and effort of laying out a garden or adding a dramatic water element. Even a few well-placed fixtures add extra style to small gardens, as well.

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Outdoor lighting fixtures come in a large selection of design styles, sizes and types, making it easy to coordinate with the exterior style of a home. You can find wall-mounted, post-mounted, hanging or landscape lighting fixtures in almost any color or finish.

Besides choosing lighting fixtures for a specific area or in a certain design, there are also different lighting techniques you can incorporate into a landscape to create a variety of effects:

  • Spot lighting – highlight a statue, fountain, trees or unique plants. Usually, you will only want to spotlight one or two items, as this creates a very strong focal point in the landscape.

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    Photo Courtesy of Homethangs.com

  • Grazing – shining a sharply angled light across a surface to highlight the texture. This can be a very effective backdrop technique when used on stone, stucco or plastered walls.

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    Photo courtesy of Homethangs.com

  • Silhouetting – a concealed light source reflects off a vertical surface behind a chosen object, creating an outline haloed in light.
  • Uplighting – the light source is in the ground or angled upward at the foot of an object. A very dramatic effect for accenting a tree or statuary.
  • Cross lighting – two or more light sources from below are angled to shine on an object from different sides.
  • Downlighting – a fixture has the bulb angled or the shade designed to shine light down towards the ground. This is a subtle effect that imitates natural moonlight.

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    Photo courtesy of Homethangs.com

  • Shadowing – placing a light source in front of object to cast a shadow on a vertical surface behind.

Light a simple front walkway or brighten an entire landscape plan of gardens, pathways and patios. New outdoor lighting designs and techniques will make things safe, add some style and let you turn a dull backyard into something extraordinary.

Lighting the Entrance & Foyer

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The entrance to your home should be welcoming and make a statement about who you are, even if it’s not the primary entrance to your home. The front entrance is a way of transitioning from the outside world into your space and can set the stage for the entire home.

Specifically, a well-lit entrance will help guests to find your home and help you to identify and welcome them.

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A wall lantern should be hung on each side of the front entrance (a single lantern for secondary entrances is fine). The size of the lanterns should be between 1/3 to 1/6 the size of the door, this can depend on the style and scale you want to convey. Lanterns should be hung approximately 66 inches above the threshold.

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If you have a porch or an overhang use a lantern or a flush mount fixture if there are height constraints. It’s a good idea for the exterior to coordinate with the interior for a cohesive look. You also may consider installing a dimmer switch for the exterior lights. Just as is the case with your interior space, you may want to adjust lighting levels according to your needs.

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Landscape lighting is also an important component. It can help with way-finding and increase safety. Make sure to light the pathway and any surface transitions or steps. Pathway lights can be spaced 8 to 10 feet apart.

On the interior, you can create a sense of drama or welcoming with the lighting. 603595

A beautiful chandelier can set the stage or for smaller entrances, a flush mount or semi-flush ceiling fixture will work. To determine the size, add the length and the width (in feet) of the foyer together. This number is the proper width (in inches) of the fixture you need. The bottom of the fixture should not be below 7 feet above the floor. If there is a window above the door, hang a chandelier or lantern to be centered in the window so it is visible from the outside.

616956You may also want to add wall sconces on either side of a mirror or artwork. Select a size and scale appropriate to the space and place these approximately 60 inches above the finished floor.

The proper lighting is the finishing touch to any design and will help to convey the feel and effect that you desire for your spaces, indoors and out.

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