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Lighting Your Dining Room

The dining room is often the place where families gather to enjoy meals, discuss their days and make holiday memories. However, this room is multifunctional; it can be used for entertaining guests, studying or a romantic dinner. As a result, each use requires a different type of lighting. How can you properly light your dining room to capture the necessary mood for each and every occasion?

Create a Focal Point

traditional dining room with large chandelier Your dining room is likely furnished with a table, chairs and possibly a China cabinet or bar. This space has much less furniture than the other rooms in your home, so the main lighting source should be eye-catching. Keep in mind that for the best distribution of light, the bottom of a fixture should be about 36 inches above the table. How do you decide if that fixture should be a chandelier or a pendant?

When to Choose a Chandelier

As a general rule of thumb, select a chandelier if your dining room table is round. The spherical shapes will complement each other and any traditional décor in the room.

When to Choose a Pendant

Linear suspension fixtures are a more modern take on dining room lighting. With a linear pendant, light will be spread across to each end of your dining room table.

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How to Light Your Home Office

In a house with children and pets, it can be difficult to find a quiet spot to work. Home offices and studies are the most common places to find some peace. Yet, with back to school upon us, your home office could be doubling as a homework spot. Is the room properly lit for everyone’s use? Follow these tips to avoid common issues.

Avoid Eye Strain

desk lamp pointing to a laptopWhether you work from home or your child needs to use the Internet for homework, computer eye strain is a serious concern. This type of eye strain occurs when the lighting in a room is too bright or too dim. Eye strain can be avoided with the proper balance of natural and artificial light in your home office. The main goal is to reduce squinting due to glare.

The Dangers of Glare

Glare is the result of too much contrast between light and dark areas. It often occurs when too much natural sunlight is competing with your lighting fixtures, or vice versa. Again, finding a balance between these two sources of light is critical to reduce glare. Lighting placement can also cause a glare in your home office. Fixtures should be placed in front or to the side of your desk and computer screen, rather than behind.

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Lighting Your Hallway

The hallways in our home help us get from one room to another. Although not the most glamorous spaces, they serve an important purpose. As a result, hallways should be properly lit to promote a safe transition between rooms. Hallways can be dark, especially late at night. Unless you rely on day and moonlight to provide illumination, it becomes necessary to create artificial light. The following tips help you light your hallways correctly.

Lighting the Hallway to See

bright hallway lighting It is crucial for you and your family to be able to see when moving around your home. Just as you wouldn’t want them to get hurt, you also wouldn’t want a guest to trip in your dark hallway. Yet, you don’t always want the lights to be on or too bright. What can you do?

Install Lighting Controls

People spend very little time in the hallways of their homes. However, that doesn’t mean they don’t need to be lit. The solution? Lighting controls with motion sensor technology. When an occupant enters the hallway, the sensor will acknowledge it by activating the light.

Invest in Light Dimmers

When you’re getting the kids ready for school in the morning, turning the lights on can help get them moving. When you get up at night, a subtle amount of light is just enough to get from the bathroom and back. Dimmers allow you to control how bright the lights are at any time of day.

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Home Theater Lighting & Automation

Whether you’re a movie lover who enjoys spending time in his home theater or someone who likes to host viewing parties in front of your 60-inch flat screen, your space should be properly lit and automated. In order to recreate the atmosphere of a typical media room, it should be designed like one. Follow the tips for proper placement, glare reduction and ultimate functionality.

Avoid Screen Glare

For general illumination, install deep recessed downlights. A hanging chandelier or pendants will reflect off of your television screen, creating a glare. Wall sconces will form a non-reflective pathway, as long as the fronts are opaque. Similarly, table lamps with opaque shades can be used for tasks, like operating the remote control or eating popcorn.

Where to Place Lights

Recessed lighting is the best for overhead illumination because they will not be directed at the television screen. However, you can get more creative with your accent and task lighting. If you want your home theater to resemble a real movie theater, consider track lighting slightly above the floor and extending around the entire room.

Also, don’t forget to install lighting around your home theater system. While you may not want it on during your viewing, it will help you to search through DVDs or connect external cables. Under-cabinet lighting provides the source of light you need, where you need it, without overpowering the space.

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How to Layer Your Lighting

If you’re unhappy with the look of a certain room in your home, the solution could be as easy as installing proper lighting. To maximize functionality, layering light balances a room while offering versatile options for any occasion. There are three types of lighting that help create this effect: ambient, task and accent. You can use this technique for both interior and exterior lighting to achieve your desired look and feel.

Set Your Base

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Ambient lighting is your main source. Whether you have ceiling mounted chandeliers, pendants or recessed downlights, your ambient lighting provides a base for the entire room. Dimmer switches are often installed to control ambient lighting when the homeowner wants to create a different level of ambiance from day to night.

Illuminate for a Purpose

Task lighting varies from room to room. It helps you to see when performing specific actions within your home. In the kitchen, you might want under-cabinet lighting to help you see while cooking. In the bathroom, sconces on either side of the mirror eliminate shadows and help you accomplish day-to-day grooming tasks.

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