New England’s Largest Lighting Display & Inventory

How to Light a Finished Basement

If your basement is finished, it should be anything but a bat cave! However, lighting is not the first thing we think of when redesigning a living space. Luckily, our tips for lighting a finished basement can be applied before or after the room has been fully furnished.

What’s the Purpose of the Room?

finished basement First, it’s important to decide how you’re using the basement. Whether the room is an office, exercise space or entertainment room, the lighting design will differ. There are three main types of lighting: ambient, accent and task.

Ambient Lighting for All Rooms

Every room needs a source of general illumination. Recessed cans are popular for basements because they throw focused, bright light and eliminate shadows. Chandeliers and pendant lighting can also be used for ambience and make nice accents over tables.

Accent Lighting for an Entertainment Room

Accent lights focus on particular objects in a room, like artwork and other wall hangings. Not only does accent lighting highlight your favorite accessories, but can spread light across a room when fixtures are placed high on the wall. Track and undercabinet lighting are two additional options for an entertainment room that save space and eliminate your need to worry about someone knocking over a floor lamp!

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Choosing the Right Light Bulbs

Home lighting design changes based upon our mood. In the early morning, we prefer less light because we’ve just woken up. At night, we require more light to prepare dinner, but may want minimal light when watching a movie. Lighting is thus tailored for relaxation and productivity. We rely on the light bulb as opposed to the type of fixture to control ambiance. What should you know about bulbs to light your rooms to their fullest potential?

Common Types of Bulbs

Bulbrite bulbHomeowners typically use four different types of bulbs: incandescent, compact fluorescent, halogen and light-emitting diodes.

  • Incandescent: These bulbs are lit by an electric current through a filament, which produces a warm glow.
  • CFL: Compact fluorescent light bulbs are lit by an electric current sent through a tube with argon and mercury vapor, which produces cool light.
  • Halogen: These bulbs are lit by thermal radiation from a hot tungsten filament, which produces a white light that resembles natural daylight.
  • LED: Light-emitting diode bulbs, three times more efficient than CFLs, produce blue light when a voltage is applied to negatively charged semiconductors.

There are many more types of light bulbs and subcategories within each variety, but these four are most commonly used in modern home construction.

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Lighting Your Living Room

When you think about your own home, which room do you consider to be the most important? If you enjoy cooking, the kitchen will be your go-to room. If spa-like relaxation is your daily indulgence, then the master bath is likely your sanctuary. However, there is a room in your home that serves multiple purposes and has been the site of many family memories: the living room. How can you best light your living room to be a versatile space in your home?

Layered Light

Modern living room a chandelier and table lampWhen you’re designing a new home, most lighting experts will stress the importance of layering light. There are three basic types of lighting: ambient, accent and task. A balance of all three will provide sufficient illumination while eliminating shadows. How can you accomplish this in your living room?

General Illumination

The living room, also referred to as the family room, is used by many families for entertainment, relaxation and work. Whether you play board games with guests, curl up on the couch with a book or work on your laptop in the living room, you need light! Start with the main source of ambient light; this could be a chandelier, pendant or recessed cans.

  • Chandeliers: A chandelier is a sophisticated focal point; there are many traditional, modern and rustic styles to choose from! If you want to make a statement, choose a fixture that is proportional to the size of the living room, yet shows off your unique design sense.
  • Pendant Lights: Pendant lights come in various sizes, from teardrop to over-sized. It is your choice to have multiple small or one large pendant as your source of ambient light. Pendants often work well as decorative focal points in rooms with high ceilings.
  • Recessed Lights: Many homeowners consider recessed lighting to be outdated. However, when used correctly, recessed cans are a great source of general illumination. They tend to reflect the most light against white, glossy ceilings.
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How to Best Use Wall Sconces

Wall sconces were designed after wall-mounted candlesticks and tiki torches used for lighting prior to electricity. Today, wall sconces can be found in a variety of styles, colors and textures. They make a great addition to any home but sometimes, it can be difficult to decide where to place your wall sconces. How can you best use these decorative fixtures?

General Illumination

Kichler wall sconce

Kichler 1-light wall sconce from the Monroe Collection

Wall sconces come in a variety of sizes. When you want to use them as your main source of light, go bigger. In a room with high ceilings, you can place the sconces relatively high on the wall. The extra height will help the light disperse evenly throughout the room.

Create Ambiance

Unlike for general illumination, you’ll want to find wall sconces that are made with frosted glass. This type of design helps to create a soft glow of light that is not too harsh. When you’re unwinding at night after a long day, you can turn off your main source of light and keep these wall sconces on to create a relaxing or romantic atmosphere.

Reading Lights

If you like to read at night in your bedroom, living room or study, wall sconces make great reading lights. Placement will vary depending on if you’re in bed, on the sofa or in your desk chair when using the sconces, but the general rule of thumb is to place the lights above your head. That way, you are not being blinded by a bright light out of the corner of your eye.

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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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