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!

General, Task and Accent Lighting

General, task and accent are the staple lighting types for lighting design. We talk a lot about them on our blog (like here, here and here), but that’s because they’re very important!

General, task and accent lighting should be used in just about every room and everywhere in your home! Using different layers of these types of light sources will help you create a good balance and can help you set the mood for just about any occasion.

Check out these easy to follow tips for the entryway, stairway, landings, kitchen, living room, office, and bathroom in this awesome infographic. If you follow these simple guidelines you can rest assure that you’ve covered your lighting basics for the specific area!

Lighting Tips for All Rooms
Source: visual.ly

Let a pro lighting expert help you out! If you have questions about what light fixtures to use in a space in your home or office, call or stop by Harold’s Lighting in Seattle today!

Layout Guide for the Living Room

Are you planning on making some changes to the layout of your living room? Choosing the right layout for what you want to achieve can be pretty difficult. Knowing where to start is typically the problem most homeowners encounter.

We’ve got a few tips for you, depending on what your overall goals are. Are you looking to make it more kid friendly or are you trying to emphasize a certain feature or create a focal point? Figuring out what you want to do most in this room is your first step. Once you know what you want the purpose of the living room to be, you can start arranging your furniture and lighting to create the right vibe.

Check out this infographic that we found. It helps break down common living room overall goals, and what you’ll need to do to achieve them. So wether you’re trying to create a room that’s more conducive to entertaining and conversation, or make it more of a chill zone / TV room, this guide has some great tips for you!

Living Room Layout Infographic
source: FreshHome.com

Recessed Downlighting Housing Info

Once you’ve figured out where you want your recessed downlights to be (if you need help with that, check out this post» ), now you’ve got to figure out what you need in order to install these fixtures.

Most recessed lighting fixtures require you to purchase a few different pieces.  Depending on what type of recessed lighting you choose to go with, most come with a few basic components. The most important, being the housing.

RECESSED LIGHT FIXTURE HOUSING

The housing of the light fixture includes the main housing (sometimes called “Can” or “Rough-In”, a mounting frame (attaches everything to the ceiling),  mounting bars, lighting trim (or sometimes called finishing), the trim and a trim ring, optics, and the actual bulb (aka lamp).

This image illustrates these main recessed light fixture components:

diagram of recessed lights
image source: Delfarmans

Harold’s Lighting in Seattle and Bellevue has a ton of recessed lighting options to choose from, both online and in our showrooms. Our expert staff is ready to help you with all of your recessed lighting questions!