Reasons to Install a Dimmer

Do you have dimmer switches installed for your light fixtures? Do they seem like a waste to you? You’d be surprised how useful dimmers can be. We’ve listed out a few benefits to installing dimmer switches in your home:

  1. Dimmers can help save energy

    Yes, when you dim the output of light of your fixture, you are using less energy. Less energy usage = lower energy bills!

  2. Dimmers help extend bulb life

    The less energy you use (see #1) the longer your bulb will also last. The less stress applied (less energy) to a filament in a bulb, the longer it will last. This is even true with energy efficient bulbs, which helps offset the cost of these more expensive options. Energy efficient bulbs already last a long time, but when you combine them with a dimmer, they’ll last even longer!

  3. Dimmer switches are good to the environment

    Less energy spent AND longer living consumables is always better for the environment!

  4. Dimmers have been proven to help with health issues.

    Artifical light has been known to effect our sleep cycles and disrupt Circadian rhythms. Dimming the light you’re exposed to decreases these effects and can mimic what’s happening outside. If you dim your lights at night, after the sun goes down, your body will have an easier time adjusting.

  5. Dimmers can help a room look more inviting and cozy!

    Rooms that have dimmer light often look more cozy, inviting and even more romantic. Dimmers can help you prepare the meal with bright light and serve it in an inviting atmosphere with dim light!

  6. Dimmers can help people look better

    Dim warm light can make you look good! There’s a reason the most romantic and high end restaurants pay attention to lighting. Think candlelight – there’s nothing more flattering than warm dim light!

  7. Dimmers are inexpensive and easy to install

    Many people think they need a degree in electrical engineering to instal a dimmer. Dimmers sold today are as easy to install as a standard toggle switch. Instructions are easy to follow and they’re inexpensive!

What are you waiting for? Any room can be transformed into a versatile space with the installation of a dimmer switch. Our expert lighting staff in Bellevue and Seattle can help you pick out the right dimmer switches for your home, so call or stop by today!

Another Custom Light Fixture Project!

One of the many things that sets Harold’s Lighting apart from other lighting stores is our custom lighting work. Our lighting experts know the ins and out of lighting and make just about any object come to “light”!

Here’s a video from a few weeks back of Tiffany, at our Seattle lighting store, working on a new custom project:

Tiffany is making some natural wood finials. She’s attaching the wood to bases of antique brass, silver and more!

custom wood finial lamp
Custom wood natural Finial at Harold’s Lighting

Finials are the pieces that go at the top of a lamp to fasten the shade and the base together. Changing up your finial can be a great way to freshen up your fixture! Traditional finials are just caps that match the finish of the fixture but you can get them in crystal, seashell, wood, or just about any shape, symbol or finish!

Here some images of our finial case at our Seattle lighting store:

finialCase

finialCase2

Who knew there were so many ways to customize a light fixture?!

What is Exterior Security Lighting?

What is Exterior Security Lighting and why is it important?

We’ve talked before how exterior lighting can ad beauty and dimension to your home and even ad to it’s curb appeal, but did you know exterior lighting can be a part of your security system as well?

exterior light fixture
Exterior lighting options at HaroldsLighting.com

It’s starting to get dark earlier, and now is the time to reassess your exterior lighting needs.

Exterior security lighting can be your first line of defense from intruders. It increases the risk of being caught, and immediately thwarts most threats. The more lit the entry points of your home are, the more likely an intruder could be recognized or physically detected.

This doesn’t mean you’ll have to illuminate every inch of your home’s exterior. We don’t want your home to be visible from space! Here are the most important types of outdoor security lighting and places to make sure are illuminated properly:

  • Roadway Luminaries: Driveways, Parking areas and streets
  • Floodlights (motion sensored): Driveways, backyards, entryway, corners, patios and outdoor pool areas.
  • Mounted to structure fixtures: Entryways and high traffic perimeter areas.
  • Landscape fixtures: Ground, large trees or bushes, paths/trails and walkways.

When you’re designing your outdoor lighting plan, keep in mind potential safety and security risks. Take a look around your home and consider the impact adding a light, even if it’s motion activated, will add.

exterior pendant light fixture
Exterior Pendant

Keep areas around high value items lit. These could be your vehicles, landscape features or statues, or even entryways to your toolshed or garage.

These outdoor light fixtures can be put on a time switcher to make sure they’re turned off and on at the right times, or you can have them be motion sensor activated or on regular switches. Keep in mind which lights you’ll want on all night and which ones you’d rather only have turn on when someone or something is in the area. Flood lights are typically motion activated while entryway lighting, post lighting and landscape path lights are typically on an all night timer.

exterior entryway light
Exterior Entryway Light

We love talking about outdoor lighting! There are many more details to go over, such as the degree of cutoff, lighting controls, light color, and more, but we don’t want to fully nerd out! Come on in or call our lighting stores in Seattle and Bellevue today. Our expert lighting staff is here to answer all of your outdoor lighting needs!

Track Lighting Basics

Many people think track lighting had it’s time, or is only meant for galleries and hanging art. Advancement in technology and design has brought new life to track lighting and we’re excited to be seeing it show up in some of the most beautiful homes in the area.

track lighting fixtures
Track lighting systems and parts on our store here»

When selecting track lighting for your home, you first want to determine what lighting type you’re looking for. Are you looking to illuminate a larger space with ambient light? Are you installing the fixture over a task area like the kitchen island or sink? Are you looking to spotlight a certain object, like artwork, sculptures or an architectural feature? Track lighting can help you with any of these objectives.

There are different types of track lighting fixtures. The actual track itself can be modern or traditional, and the lights come in a variety of sizes, styles and shapes. After you’ve determined the use for the lighting source, you’ll need to consider style too, and then find a fixture that will work for both. You’ll want a track lighting system that accomplishes the lighting goals, and looks good.

Track lighting systems are great, because they’re typically adjustable. Decor and layouts of rooms change for many homeowners every few years. You shouldn’t have to install a completely new lighting system this often! That’s where track lighting comes in. Easily adjust the light bulbs on the track to move with the flow of the new configuration.

If you’re looking for track lighting in Seattle, call us or stop by! Our experts can help you pick out a track light solution that will suit your style and function goals.

Types of recessed lighting fixtures

Recessed lighting can be an excellent solution to provide ambient lighting to a room in your home. Do you know there are different types of recessed light fixtures?

Choosing the right recessed fixture for your room shouldn’t be rocket science, but each style should be considered for it’s light giving benefits as well as it’s esthetics.

Recessed cans come in these main styles: baffle (most common), open recessed cans, reflector recessed cans, eyeball fixtures (adjustable), and shower lenses.

Here is what each recessed light can type looks like along with a brief description:

recessed-styles

How low should I hang my chandelier?

This is one of the most common questions we get. Getting the right size chandelier is one thing, then how to hang it is another!

You’ll need to consider the size of the room, size of table, and size of fixture to figure out the right height for hanging. You’ll want to pick the right location for the hanging first, in the middle of the table length and width wise. If you’re hanging multiple light fixtures, make sure you measure out the distance properly so that they’re evenly spaced.

It’s also wise to stay away from chandeliers that are larger than the width of the table. Overly large fixtures can pose a safety hazard as people may bump into them when standing. Many designers suggest purchasing a chandelier that is around a foot narrower than the table, and is also at least 48 inches away from any wall. While there are exceptions to these rules, it’s good to use them as a guideline while planning out dining room features.

For a room with a ceiling height of 8 feet (most common), hang your chandelier around 30 – 36 inches over the table. If your ceiling height is taller, add 3 inches to the length for each additional foot.

how to hang a chandelier instructions

Avoid using high wattage bulbs for dining room chandeliers as they can be harsh to the eyes and can be too hot for sitting underneath. Also consider the shadows and color the bulbs will cast on people sitting underneath and try and find the most flattering bulb for the area.

If you’re considering hanging a chandelier in a foyer or lobby, they are typically sized larger, so they can fill the space and not appear too small. When hanging fixtures in these spaces, make sure there is at least 6 1/2 feet of clearance from the ground.

Harold’s Lighting has tons of chandeliers to choose from, whether you’re looking for a modern chandelier or vintage, we’ve got you covered!

Bathroom Interior Design Dimensions

Installing or placing appropriate light fixtures isn’t easy if the room is poorly laid out in the first place. The best interior designers can identify these problems quickly and help homeowners either fix the problem or show them how to “trick” the space with lighting techniques.

The bathroom packs the most task related activities in a small space. For this reason, it’s important to optimize the space in this room wisely. Proper layout of the important features is important, and so is the small stuff!

Here are a couple of the most commonly used dimension rules used by experienced interior designers:

bathroom interior design dimension illustration
ILLUSTRATION BY ARTHUR MOUNT | Source
Shower interior dimension illustration
ILLUSTRATION BY ARTHUR MOUNT | Source

 

 

Toilet dimension illustration
ILLUSTRATION BY ARTHUR MOUNT | Source
Bathroom layout dimensions
ILLUSTRATION BY ARTHUR MOUNT | Source

Lighting is your best tool for fixing areas that don’t quite follow the rules. If your home wasn’t properly thought out before hand, see if installing the right light fixtures can help solve your problem before bringing out the sledge hammer!

Check out other commonly used interior design dimension rules in our post here »

Bulb Bright Ideas

There’s always something new to learn about light bulbs. There’s a whole aisle dedicated to light bulbs at the store, giving you more choices for you home’s lighting than what type of toilet paper to buy! We got to thinking, and have broken down a few things to keep in mind the next time you go shopping for light bulbs.

The three things most people are looking for when they’re buying light bulbs for the light fixtures in their homes are:

  1. Cost – they want a bulb that will give them the most bang for their buck. Some people want the cheapest option now, while others will look for a bulb that may cost more up front but will last a very long time, saving money in the long run.
  2. Brightness – they’re looking for a bulb that will do it’s job. The desired level of brightness may depend on the room or area the light fixture is in, or could depend on the shade that will diffuse the light.
  3. Color – they want a the color of the bulb to match the rest of the mood of a room or the decor.
photo cred: Buzzfeed
photo cred: Buzzfeed

The recent changes in the lighting world have upset a lot of consumers. Many people are angry at the rapidly rising costs of light bulbs. What these consumers aren’t seeing is that the actual long term costs to not only their wallet, but the environment are in their favor. Many newer light bulbs (LEDs, CFLs) can actually save homeowners money.

Pay attention to the performance indicators (lifespan) of the bulbs you’re looking to purchase. This will help you get over the initial sticker shock.

Brightness and color used to go hand in hand with traditional incandescent bulbs. The color changed based on brightness. Now, that simply isn’t the case. New technologies have made LED bulbs and CFL bulbs more residential friendly. They can closely mimic the look of our old time incandescent favorites.

The higher the lumens on a package, the brighter the bulb will be. The lower the kelvin (temperature) rating, the warmer the color will be.

Keep these tips in mind when you walk through the bulb section at the store, and feel free to give us a shout if you have any questions!

Lighting Basics Broken Down!

When you break down the most important rules and basics for lighting design, and stick to them, your home lighting job will become a lot easier. The overwhelming task of making sure your space is appropriate illuminated can be a breeze if you just follow the easy guide laid out below.

Planning out the lighting in your home is crucial to setting the right mood. You want your home to feel warm and inviting – and lighting should be your first step to achieve this goal. Lighting should come first, then color scheme (paint, furniture, floor coverings and artwork), and then textiles and textures. Lighting isn’t a permanent decision, and oftentimes can be changed up to freshen up a space. This can be done seasonally, yearly, or just whenever you feel the need for change!

As always, layered lighting sources can help you switch up and create different moods for a space. Ambient, task and accent lighting should be used together to achieve a good balance for any activity needed to be performed in the room.

Every room or space should be considered separately. Think about what the main function of the space will most likely be and go from there. For example, the lighting needs in a hallway are much different than in the kitchen or bathroom. Keep a mental (or physical) list of individual tasks that will be routinely performed in the space and plan accordingly.

Lighting Basics Infographic
Source: wizmot.wordpress.com

Ask a professional! Lighting design experts are your best resource! Our staff at the Harold’s Lighting store in Seattle loves to help out homeowners and business owners figure out the best lighting options for any space, no matter how challenging it may seem! We have the ability to create custom lighting options for any space and can even match materials or refurbish vintage fixtures to create a one-of-a-kind piece.

Do you know your symbols?

How well do you know your electrical symbols? Most homeowners aren’t very familiar with even the most basic electrical symbols that are commonly seen on blueprints and electrical product packaging. That’s okay – We don’t expect you to memorize these things!

We’ve found a few electrical symbol cheat sheets that you may find helpful when planning any lighting or constructional changes in your home! Check them out below:

Electrical Symbol Guide
source: draftingservice.us/school
source: make-my-own-house.com
source: make-my-own-house.com

When planning any improvements on your home, especially anything to do with lighting, you may come across some symbols you’ve never seen before. If you have any questions about these or any other symbols, ask a lighting expert at Harold’s Lighting by stopping by our showroom in Seattle (Wallingford) or call us today!