As we turned the calendar to 2014 we said goodbye to both 2013 and incandescent light bulbs. In light of that (no pun intended) I wanted to share some lighting information with you as you brave this new light bulb world.
Here’s the skinny on the incandescents, From CNN.com, “ ‘There are 4 billion light bulb sockets in the U.S. and more than 3 billion of them still use the standard incandescent technology that hasn’t changed much in 125 years,” the EPA says. “A standard incandescent is only 10% efficient — the other 90% of the electricity it uses is lost as heat.’
It’s the dawn of a new day. Taking over the limelight now: halogen bulbs, compact fluorescent bulbs, LED bulbs and high efficiency incandescents.”
What type lighting you include in your rooms is just as important as the type of bulb you use. I mean this in a purely functional way to begin. Sure, I like attractive lighting fixtures as much as the next designer, but as with all great design, form follows function. When it comes to light, function is key and so important in our daily tasks.
Lighting is key for cooking, working on your computer, reading, having conversations around the dinner table, grooming and taking on any detailed tasks like putting together a puzzle, playing a board game or tying your shoes. Yea, it’s that basic!
There are various layers of lighting and each serves a different purpose. Here’s a rundown of the layers, using the acronym “TADA” to keep summarize.
T – Task lighting – Lighting directed at a specific task. A reading or desk light, under cabinet lighting in the kitchen and a bedside lamp are all examples of this type of lighting. This light should be positioned to illuminate the task at hand. There’s nothing worse than opening a book only to create a shadow with your head on the book pages.
A – Ambient lighting – Lighting that illuminates an entire space or area. This is generally overhead lighting and is what you turn on when you flip a light switch when you enter a room. It’s a base, first layer of lighting and allows you to see and walk through a room safely. It doesn’t replace task lighting as it’s not designed to light one specific area.
D – Decorative lighting – any of the three other categories of lighting can be decorative in nature. Decorative lighting draws attention to itself as well as providing light to your space. A colorful, hand blown glass sconce is a great example of decorative lighting.
A – Accent lighting – This type of task lighting focuses on art or architectural elements in your rooms. Lights that point to artwork or a fireplace are accent lights. They accent a feature (versus a task) in the room.
The biggest mistake I see clients make it using only one type of lighting. They have lamps around the room and they use those as both task and ambient lighting. They don’t usually serve both well. Or, they have an overhead light, centered on the ceiling, and no lamps. How can you read in a room with one overhead light? I try to explain how each layer enhances a room, your experience in a room and the overall environment.
Take a look around each of your rooms and notice where you are lacking in lights. What tasks are difficult to perform? A floor or table lamp can go a long way toward making tasks easier. What rooms are too dark and could benefit from better ambient lighting?
If you change not one thing this year, aside from your incandescent bulbs, update your lighting to really make a difference in your daily tasks and experiences. Oh, and add a dimmer to every single light you can!
Happy New Year!