Tuesday, January 7th, 2014

by Littman Bros Lighting

Size of Chandeliers

Figuring out the size of chandeliers and pendants to put in your space can be tricky but there is a general rule of thumb to calculate these dimensions:

Start with adding together the length and width of the area you want to hang your pendant or chandelier in feet; this number is the width of the chandelier needed for the space in inches. For example, if you have a 12 by 18 foot foyer with 20 foot ceilings, your chandelier or pendant should be 30 inches wide. How do you figure out the appropriate length for you fixture? This will vary greatly depending on the height of your space; the higher the ceiling the taller the chandelier or pendant. Your fixture should be 2.5 inches to 3 inches tall for every foot of ceiling height. If you use the same dimensions as the above example, with the 20-foot high foyer space, the chandelier should be 50 to 60 inches tall by approximately 30 inches wide.

Monday, December 30th, 2013

by Littman Bros Lighting

Do you have light fixtures or recessed lighting that are off-center from your furniture or cabinet layout? The correct but tedious way to center fixtures is to re-route your electrical through new electrical boxes or cans and remove the old one and then follow-up with a drywall repair and re-paint.

How do you correct the locations without having major electrical and drywall repair? If the electrical is not re-routed the old boxes or cans must remain accessible; you cannot drywall over these eyesores. If you want to slide a chandelier over a bit, you can hide the old box with a ceiling medallion around the base of the light. Make sure to match the medallion style with your chandelier, otherwise it will detract from your fixture and leave people wondering why you used that medallion. A contemporary fixture needs a very simple and white medallion that blends into the ceiling while a crystal and rod-iron piece calls for an intricate and hand painted medallion.

What if you are moving a can or a flush mount? Speaker covers can be used to make them disappear – they are the same color as the ceiling and will be looked over by guests or they will just think you have a speaker system.

Friday, December 27th, 2013

by Littman Bros Lighting

Design Pro LED Kitchen

LED tape lighting is an excellent product for both accent and task lighting applications in various rooms within your home. It is roughly only one quarter of an inch wide and about an eighth of an inch long; the size allows the tape to be hidden practically anywhere that you want to create a glow of light without showing a fixture. LED strip lights can be used as accent lighting, which adds drama to a space by creating visual interest. Accent lighting draws attention to specific objects or areas in a space like shelving, nooks, and glass cabinets.

LED tape lighting is very easy to install – all that is needed is a hidden power source so that you can store the driver out of sight. The low voltage wire that runs from the driver to the starting point is so tiny and inconspicuous; it is barely noticeable. The low-voltage wire can also run from one lit space to the next should you have a break in areas. The tape itself is a peel and stick application, just make sure to dry fit the tape before installation.

When installing LED tape lights, make sure to get high quality LED tape like Kichler’s Low Output LED Tape in order to get both the energy savings and longevity of the diodes; lower quality LED strips have been known to have diodes burn out prematurely. The great benefits of LEDs are that the power consumption is a fraction of incandescent and there is no maintenance with bulbs that need to be chained out. Take advantage of both benefits and get a system that will last.

Thursday, December 26th, 2013

by Littman Bros Lighting

Outdoor Ceiling Fan

It is absolutely possible to keep your outdoor areas cool and comfortable even under the hot summer sun with outdoor ceiling fans – your outdoor patio, porch or gazebo can be cooled with a ceiling fan much like your indoor rooms. But you must first be sure to find out that the UL listing on your fan is compatible with your intended location.

There are three possible ratings for ceiling fans – indoor, damp and wet location. Indoor ceiling fans should never be used outside; the fan’s motor is not built for the humidity found even in a covered location. Humidity can affect the motor’s life and performance. Most interior blades will warp and droop when exposed to moisture over time and warped blades will not only look unsightly but they will be off balance causing the fan to wobble and shake. Damp rated fans are suitable for covered exterior locations where they will not come in direct contact with water coming from above. A room with an open ceiling, like a pergola, requires a wet rated fan. These motor housings are completely enclosed and protect the fans motor from moisture. A properly sized and rated ceiling fan will extend the use of your outdoor space well into the hottest days of summer.

Monday, December 23rd, 2013

by Littman Bros Lighting

Light Bulbs

The question is brought up more and more as light bulbs change with the times and growing technology; which light bulbs are best for my home? Picking out the best light bulb for your home begins here:

Incandescent bulbs have been used in our homes since the 1800s and they have changed very little since then – they produce a nice, warm light that we have come to recognize with a cozy and inviting home. However, they are very inefficient; 90 percent of the energy they produce escapes as heat and only 10 percent of the energy consumed actually emits light. They are inexpensive but only have a life span of 1 thousand hours. The competition for incandescent bulbs is slowly creeping up and their lack of evolvement is leading to extinction.

CFL and LED bulbs are becoming increasingly popular as their color temperature lowers into the 2700k to 3000k range and they slowly have become more affordable. What is the difference between these two types of bulbs? And what is best for your home?

Compact Fluorescents or CFLs use one-fifth to one-third the electric power and last eight to 15 times longer when compared to their incandescent equivalent. Their lifespan is significantly shortened when they are turned off within 5 minutes of turning them on. CFLs are more expensive than incandescent bulbs but can save an average five times their purchase price through their life span. These bulbs are now available in 2700k to 3000k ranges but are typically non-dimmable. LED bulbs on the other hand are usually made dimmable and are also found in the 2700k to 3000k color range. They are made of light emitting diodes or computer chips instead of mercury like CFLs. They also have a lifespan of 30 thousand to 50 thousand hours, or approximately 25 years regular usage, making LEDs a better environmental decision. LEDs are far more efficient than incandescent bulbs; 1 watt from an LED is approximately seven to 10 watts of a standard bulb. They are however much more expensive; a 13.5 watt LED bulb, which is equivalent to a 100 watt incandescent, sells for $28 versus $1 for the incandescent. It typically takes three years to recover the cost of the bulb in energy savings. Both LEDs and fluorescents will save you a significant amount on your energy bill – LEDs have a bigger upfront cost but will save you more in the long run and will not need to be replaced. They are also perfect for those hard to reach fixtures.

Wednesday, December 18th, 2013

by Littman Bros Lighting

Living Room Lighting

Lighting is no longer just about brightening up a space, it has become so much more than that; it is about layering and balance; positioning your light source. You can have a room filled with all different types of lighting and still be missing the mark. Some rooms would benefit from lighting that draws attention and creates style within a space, while others need subtle fixtures that are restrained and delicate. There are also the different types of lighting that help to develop the layers within a space – ambient, task, accent and decorative lighting.

Ambient lighting is the most general lighting, creating the overall, general light within a space. This general lighting can be accomplished with sunlight, cans or lamps. Another common type of lighting is task lighting, which would be lamps on a desk or pendants over an island. The next two types of lighting create depth and interest in a space, accent and decorative lighting; accent lighting is used to accentuate an object or element in a space, think picture lights over paintings or puck lights in glass cabinets. Decorative lighting is purely ornamental; one of the most common applications is cove lighting above cabinets or in tray ceilings.

Getting a feel for the different layers of light is one thing – but how do you use them in a space? This all depends on what room you are trying to light as well as the look that you want to create. Here are some general guidelines for each space:

Dining Room Lighting

In a living room or family room you will want to light three of the four corners of the space, this can be accomplished using a combination of table and floor lamps, wall sconces and overhead lighting. Shaded lamps will create good reading light for the direct area while torchiere lamps will light up more of the room. Wall sconces and overhead lighting should be put on dimmers; this gives you more control over the mood and function of the room.

In a dining room the main source of light is over the table and should be put on a dimmer and lowered for entertaining purposes; this dimmer light promotes socializing because it is calming and flattering. Additional lighting should be placed on the edges of the room using torchiere lamps on a buffet table or accent wall sconces.

Ambient and task lighting are most important in the kitchen to assist with cooking. Many people congregate in the kitchen while entertaining and that is why accent and decorative lighting really help accentuate the space. Recessed lighting or an overhead semi-flush mount can create a great amount of ambient lighting; be sure to place these on a dimmer so that they can be nice and bright while cooking and dimmed while entertaining. Pendant and under cabinet lighting create additional lighting where tasks are performed, these can also be dimmed down while the overhead lights are off creating a backdrop while the party is perhaps eating in the formal dining space.

I have been asked if recessed lighting is sufficient in a bathroom – the answer is absolutely not. While you will want recessed lighting in your shower (and if the bathroom is large enough throughout the space), it is not good lighting for applying makeup and is far from flattering when you look in the mirror. Wall sconces are the absolute best for a bathroom; they create a warm flattering wash on your face. When wall sconces are not possible, a vanity light is the next best thing.

Wednesday, October 16th, 2013

by Littman Bros Lighting

Junction boxes are designed to protect your studs and insulation from your wiring and insulation can go directly against your junction box without creating a fire hazard. Recessed lighting is different; you must have an IC rated fixture to place insulation around the fixture. If you have had your electrical box moved and the old box is still in your ceiling, it must remain accessible from below with a plate cover. Make sure that you don’t drywall over a junction box because that is a wire access point. The correct way to move a light fixture is to pull out the existing junction box and re-route the wires through the new point, then your ceiling can be closed up and your boxes insulated around it.

Thursday, August 29th, 2013

by Littman Bros Lighting

Dining Room Lighting

Lighting should be focused around how a room is used and furniture placement plays a key role in your fixture size and location; this is especially true for fixtures that drop over tables or counter tops. Fixtures for specific rooms in your home must be sized appropriately based on both the size of the space as well as table size; this is why when furniture changes the fixture may look disproportionate.

Have you ever walked into a dining room and noticed the fixture was not centered over the table? This often happens a lot when people add a hutch or china cabinet and slide the table over to keep spacing on both sides even and adding a leaf to the table will have the same effect. Center your lights over how you have your table placed in your space on a daily basis, not how it is placed for holidays or special occasions.

General lighting in a room can also be affected by furniture placement. A centered fixture, whether it is a flush mount or a chandelier, will not be affected. This is more of an issue when you have recessed lighting or spotlights highlighting certain areas. If you move your furnishings often, opt for an overall general ceiling light and use temporary and portable table lamps and floor lamps to add accent lighting, rather than adding wall sconces and directional cans.

Wednesday, July 31st, 2013

by Littman Bros Lighting

Balancing your Ceiling Fan

Few things are more annoying than a rattling fan motor or a wobbling fan; it can also be scary when your fan shakes above you. While most new high-end ceiling fans come pre-balanced, others level themselves when run on high for a few hours. In few instances it may be necessary to make some adjustments – you may have an older fan that has come off kilter. So how do you balance your ceiling fan?

First make sure all your screws are tight and nothing has loosened over time. Than you will want to make sure all the blades are straight – measure from the ceiling down to the blade, in order to make sure the same side of all blades are measured. Next, using a fan balancing kit, you will need to determine which blade needs more weight. Place the balancing clip halfway between the blade tip and blade holder and run the fan – do this with all blades and mark which blade makes the biggest difference. You will then need to fine tune the placement of the weight by moving the clip in and out, on the blade, until it is balanced. Once the weight location has been determined, peel off the paper from the weight adhesive and place it on the top center of the blade, directly inline with the balancing clip. From here you should have a working, better balanced fan for your room; if the fan is still wobbly or continues to make noise, attempt this process again with the balancing kit or consult a lighting professional.

Thursday, May 16th, 2013

by Littman Bros Lighting

CFL Bulbs

The introduction of the CFL into residential homes has brought some great attention to color temperature; before the compact fluorescent light bulbs were popular, there were not as many options in color temperature for bulbs. The incandescent bulb has been THE residential light bulb for decades, which produces a warmer light at 2700k and has become the color we associate with warm and inviting homes. Light color is measured on a temperature scale referred to as Kelvin (k) – the higher the Kelvin the cooler the light output. Bulbs with a Kelvin of 3500 or lower will output an amber hue, 3500 to 4100 will produce a white hue and anything over 4100 will look blue.

Today there are so many light bulb choices that you truly can find a color that matches your preference. Although incandescent bulbs are typically at 2700k, they now offer bulbs with a purple coating; this unique coating filters out the dull, yellow rays revealing truer colors. Halogen light bulbs are more like natural light than the incandescent bulb at 2800k. When CFLs were first introduced they were only offered in cooler tones, once they were able to manufacture the energy efficient bulbs at 2700k to 3000k CFLs became more popular. This growing popularity is because we have come to associate warmer light with a welcoming home. LED bulbs are the next big thing in energy saving technology, which are becoming increasingly popular light bulbs as their color temperature lowers into the 2700k to 3000k range and slowly become more affordable.