Monday, July 30, 2012

lighting is everything! 5 tips for great results at home!

If you've been reading along for a while you may remember a post or two earlier this year involving lots of gushing about loving my lighting design class.  I don't know about you but I was always sort of afraid of lighting.  New lighting that is.  I have always lived in homes where there is really no fancy newfangled recessed lighting and whatever lights are in the room are plugged into my wall or sometimes I would be lucky enough to have one ceiling light for an entire room.

I LOVE nothing more than a simple Edison bulb (like above) and groovy decorative lighting as evidenced by the brass pendant light I designed that I shared with Nate Berkus
 and the wood veneer Danish Modern inspired lights
 and let's not forget the fab bubble pendant light of earlier this year...

But when it came to the newfangled lights of 2012, you know, recessed, LED, CFL blah blah blah my head would spin thinking about them! And frankly, I was a little nervous about working with spaces that do have them.  That is, until I took my lighting design class and really learned all sorts of amazing tips and tricks!

One of the great things about going back to school at the ripe old age of 40 is that somehow you can relate a little better to your professors and let me say, my lighting instructor rocks (and it's not just because I got an A on the bubble pendant light project, I swear!)!  Her name is Kathy Pryzgoda and she is a very talented working lighting designer (her day job) and has a fabulous upbeat personality which helped me stay awake for a semester of night classes.  Oh, and she used to do the lighting for Depeche Mode back in the day and currently does the lighting for a lot of shows at the Hollywood Bowl which only increases her cool factor.

We all know how lighting can make or break a space, so here are some quick tricks you can try out at home, compliments of Kathy... Enjoy!

Kathy Pryzgoda's 5 Tips for Great Home Lighting

1. Put a shade on those CFLs!
 We're all trying to be more energy conscious these days and using Compact Fluorescent is a great way to achieve that. A problem that comes with CFL's is that they can be very bright and for that reason we never want to see a naked bulb. So if you've got some table lamps with incandescent bulbs (just your regular ol' bulb) try switching it out with a Feit Electric 23W Mini Twist Dimmable and put a light colored shade over it. You can also play with shade colors to get different color temperatures, for example go with a pinkish or amber color to warm it up! 

  Fun Fact: The lamp life for a CFL is 3-4x the life of an incandescent and they are 3 xs brighter per watt!
2. Need more drama? Replace the Incandescent A-Bulb with Halogen

If you want more drama in your living room replace those standard 60 watt A-bulbs with Halogen Spot lights. A typical frosted bulb in a recessed will evenly light your environment, especially for spaces like laundry rooms and kitchens.  However, if you want a more dramatic effect, replace those frosted bulbs with clear halogen spots.   This will give more contrast which makes a space more interesting and sexy!
Fun Fact: Halogen bulbs are more efficient than Incandescent A-bulbs.
3. Dimmers on Everything

For anything incandescent, use a dimmer! If you can't afford permanent installations (like Lutron) then hit up your nearest Ikea for the DIMMA
4. Your garden is the best place for LEDs!

I have to say, the best place to use this new LED technology is outside! As LED technology constantly changes indoor use is still hit and miss.  However, outdoor LEDs have been successfully burning in landscapes for many years!  These little power-savers can handle fluctuations in voltage which is great for when you want to add some fixtures even after you've completed your landscaping!  I recommend the Kichler Light Pro LED.  Long life, low maintenance, perfect for your garden.
5. Play with Color Temperature

Well first of all, what is color temperature? It's the warmth or coolness of white light! Daylight is actually cool and incandescent is warm. Depending on who you are (and where you are from) you may be a warm person or a cool person.  For example if you've grown up in a part of the world that doesn't get a lot of full sunlight you might be a "warm" person because you've lived artificial light most of your life. And vice-versa, if you've grown up surrounded by a lot of natural daylight you might be a "cool" person.   The best way to find out is to get yourself a standard incandescent bulb and a 53W Reveal Halogen Bulb and compare! The reveal bulb has a cooler color temperature. 
FYI: Cooler color temperatures are perceived as brighter so if you need more light (and can't increase wattage) you might want to go with the Reveal bulb!

Great big thank you to Kathy for being so cool about writing these tips for me to share!  If you want to learn more about lighting for your own home and have any questions you should check out her blog!  And if you aren't a do-it-your-selfer and just want to hire someone to create an amazingly lit space, be sure to check out her professional site.

For those of you just tuning in and wanting to know more about me you can by going here... and if you didn't already know... I created a facebook page... check it out and "like" it! and follow me on twitter and you can even follow my boards on pinterest too!

until next time...

the formerly almost 40 year old intern


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