Intuitively, choosing the right lighting for your home may seem like it’s a stylistic decision. You pick the fixtures, colors, and hues that fit with your vision of how the room or exterior of the home should look. Although it’s common to gravitate towards the look of a fixture according to your personal tastes, there’s also a science behind why certain types of lighting are appropriate. The reasons can range from functionality to personal comfort to make a house appear more welcoming to guests.
Then there are more practical reasons like enhanced security and the desire to discourage vandalism or burglaries. Advances in home security have also combined exterior lighting, alarms, and wireless cameras into single fixtures. Although lighting is not necessarily always a top-of-the-mind item for homeowners, both exterior and interior lighting can become a major contributor to the home’s value.
Choosing Exterior Lighting
With a little research, including advice from vendors and contacting Steel Lighting Co, homeowners can determine the best way to light up the outside of their homes. Important factors to consider include climate, compatibility with existing wiring and electrical boxes, landscaping, and the length of pathways or walkways. Additional factors can include the location of existing wiring and electrical boxes, and the location of windows and other entry points.
Exterior lighting choices can also make a home and the landscaping appear more appealing. Highlighting certain features of the yard, trees, and shrubbery can be accomplished with exterior lighting and strategic placement. Replacing or adding to existing exterior lighting can also refresh your home’s look, modernizing the ambiance and making it appear warm and inviting.
Beyond appeal and potential resale value, there are personal preferences for colors, seasonal decorative elements, and energy efficiency. For instance, LED lights can cost more upfront but provide cost savings in the long run. LED lights also tend to last longer and can provide more illumination around entry points to the home. Some exterior LED lights and accompanying fixtures can be controlled by the homeowner from inside the house via remote or smart features.
Experts on outdoor lighting recommend striking a balance between safety and appearing welcoming, layering, thinking about scale, functionality, and curb appeal. Lighting that is glaring or harsh lighting that illuminates with a motion toward the house can turn visitors off. Homeowners should also think about layering, such as strategically placing posts or guiding lights at the beginning or edge of the property.
Layering can continue with lighting that accents trees, porches or balconies, planter boxes, or water fountains, and decorative lawn fixtures. Decorative lighting can also be used during the holidays, such as changing out bulb colors or augmenting existing light fixtures with decorative elements. Outdoor entertainment areas such as patios and porches can also use have additional lighting, especially if these areas are covered.
Choosing Interior Lighting
Some of the same considerations apply when making decisions about your home’s interior lighting. Existing electrical wiring and light fixtures in the location will determine the practicality and expense of switching out the lighting. In addition, if you want to convert one type of fixture to another or add recessed lighting, you will probably want to consult a licensed electrician or contractor.
The space and layout of the room will determine the optimal placement for fixtures, as well as how the room is used. For example, does the room have vaulted ceilings and a lot of natural light from windows that tend to create additional warmth in the summer? If so, ceiling fan fixtures with built-in lighting may be the best choice.
Interior design experts recommend designing a plan, layering the lighting in the home, making decisions about the colors and energy efficiency of the bulbs, and using spotlight or accent lighting. Choices about interior lighting can move beyond the homeowner’s individual preferences. Considerations about how guests will feel in the home and whether the lighting will serve their needs can come into play.
For instance, is there lighting that will guide guests down darkened hallways and into common areas like bathrooms and laundry rooms? Is the lighting adequate but not too overdone? Do all of the light fixtures, colors, and hues reflect the same style? Or is there a potpourri of styles, hues, and functionality that makes the lighting scheme appear more awkward and off-putting?
Types of Lighting
Lighting fixtures can include walls, posts, ceilings, hanging, track, and recessed lighting. Ceiling fans are additional fixtures that often include a single or multiple built-in-bulb. Wall fixtures are typically attached to the exterior siding or an interior wall. These fixtures can commonly be seen to the side of garage doors or to the side of a front entry door.
Post lights are not fixed to the house itself. These lights are used to provide light along the edge of a walkway to the home. In some cases, post lights can illuminate the edges of larger yards and outdoor features, such as swimming pools.
Ceiling lights are built into a home’s ceilings or the exterior ceilings of covered porches, balconies, or entryways. These types of lights are becoming more popular as they don’t extrude as much from the exterior or interior of the home. Ceiling lights can also be used to accent the interior features of the home, including fireplaces and decorative shelves.
Hanging lights are common in dining areas, foyers, and in some covered outdoor spaces. Chandeliers or chandelier-style hanging lights help accent a dining table and can provide soft lighting while eating. In outdoor spaces, hanging lights can provide additional illumination if the covered ceiling fixture or awning slopes.
Choosing outdoor and interior lighting can result in a more aesthetically pleasing and functional home. Starting with an assessment of the home’s features, the homeowner’s preferences, and what will be welcoming and inviting to guests can help any homeowner come up with a viable plan. Whether the home’s lighting needs a style upgrade or the homeowner needs to add lighting for practical purposes, a coordinated effort can often produce optimal results.