Whether a new home is being built, a major renovation is planned for an existing home, or a homeowner wants to improve the lighting in their home with as little effort as possible, purchasing a variety of lighting can solve the problem. Purchasing wall-mounted, ceiling-mounted, recessed, or table and floor lamps can light up dark spots in any home. Some lighting is for general illumination, some is for task lighting, and more lighting is for mood or decor. Don’t leave halls or stairways in the dark. Don’t forget exterior lighting.
Doing a Home Lighting Assessment and Plan
Don’t buy lights without a plan. With new construction or major renovations, ask the designer for help planning the home’s lighting. It is worth asking if good lighting companies such as Steellightingco.com have lighting experts available to help you with the best purchase of their products. Try to purchase lighting made in America whenever possible.
To do a home lighting assessment, walk through the home with all the existing lights on. Use a notepad to write down where all the dark spots are. There may be rooms where the lighting is too harsh or bright or just in the wrong spot. Note these problems. Adding dimmer switches or getting light fixtures that take 3-way bulbs can solve a lot of lighting problems. Other lighting may be unattractive, old, or outdated
Once you have a complete list of the lighting that is needed, take time to prioritize the lighting needs. Not everyone can buy all the added lights at one time. So, add lighting a little at a time to the areas it is most needed. Then, when funds are available go to the next lighting fixtures and so on until the whole house is adequately and attractively lit.
Hire an Electrician
Find a good electrician near you to install all the hard-wired lighting. Electrical work is not a good DIY project unless you have knowledge, training, and experience with electricity. No one wants to get shocked or end up with lights that don’t work right, or worst of all, an electrical fire. When hiring an electrician, try to have as many lights as possible on the lighting plan to be installed at one time. This saves you money on hours and trip charges the electrician will charge.
It is a good plan to ask the electrician to go over your lighting plans with you in the home. The electrician can tell you what will be involved with every type of light installation. The electrician might bring up installation problems.
For those who want to install lighting themselves:
- Do you understand electrical wiring, electrical codes, and wiring connections?
- Do you know what tools to use and do you have them?
- Is the wiring old? Is it up to modern codes? Sometimes when an electrician begins to install a new electrical appliance or light, they discover substandard or dangerous wiring and can correct it. Can you?
- Does the new light fixture come with the right mounting pieces and understandable instructions?
- Have you ever installed a light fixture that is hard-wired?
- Turn off the home’s power before doing anything with electrical wiring.
It is one thing to replace a ceiling or wall-mounted fixture with all the wiring in place and yet another to add a hard-wired light fixture where none has been before and all the wiring must be added and connected to the home electrical wiring.
Different Types of Light Fixtures to Consider
A well-lit home will have multiple types of lighting as they are needed. There is no way that only one type of lighting fixture can do all the lighting jobs in a home.
Some types of light fixtures available include:
- Ceiling lighting fixtures can be for general lighting or for focused areas like hallways.
- Track lighting mounted on the ceiling or on the wall near the ceiling has a track where multiple lights can be added and moved around.
- Recessed lighting in the ceiling
- Under-cabinet lighting for the kitchen
- Soffit lighting is along the walls inside or attached to a soffit and radiates downward washing walls with light.
- Cove lighting is architectural lighting that is located on a ledge or shelf near the top of a wall and radiates light upward to bounce off the ceiling.
- Pendant lights are hung from the ceiling on a cord, chain, or tube and can be near the ceiling or several feet down. Their height can often be adjusted. They are often hung in sets. These fixtures direct focused light on specific areas such as a kitchen island, a dining table, a bed, or other areas.
- Wall sconces, torchieres, or other wall-mounted lights are versatile lights mounted on the wall to save floor space and provide more focused lighting than ceiling-mounted fixtures can. They can be hard-wired or have a cord to plug into a nearby plugin. These lights can direct the light upward toward the ceiling or downward to light task areas. Wall-mounted lights like sconces are often used in bathrooms to provide flattering light to get ready for the day. They can also be used for ambient or decorative lighting.
- Chandeliers can be sleek and modern, very ornate, industrial, or like a sculpture with light. They can be very small or very large. This type of lighting is meant to add drama and beauty to areas like entryways or dining rooms. They can direct light toward the ceiling or downward, or a little of both depending on the style. The light bounces off the ceiling for a gentle kind of light. Smaller chandeliers are showing up in high-end bathrooms and in bedrooms.
- Portable lamps that require no wiring skills include floor lamps, table lamps, and desk lamps. Portable lights focus light in reading areas, conversation areas, on a bedside table, or on desks to light tasks. They are most useful when they have dimmer switches or three-way bulbs so the person using them can adjust the light.
- Exterior lights can be wall-mounted, mounted on a pole, or ceiling mounted but the thing they have in common is that they are manufactured to be used outdoors in all weather conditions. They can be equipped with motion sensors for security or for homeowner convenience when coming home after dark.
Choosing the correct light fixture for each area of the home will give a good level of light throughout the home. Purchase quality lighting from good manufacturers for the best results.