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.

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.

Friday, December 6th, 2013

by Littman Bros Lighting

Outdoor Lighting

Outdoor lighting is about safety, navigation, and definition of space and when implemented correctly your exterior lighting will define your entrances and offer a smooth transition from your interior space.

It should be noted that entrances should be well lit with wall or hanging lanterns – this will give you ample light for you and your guests. Layers of light are just as important on your exterior as they are in your home and the architectural details, corners of the home and pillars, should be washed with light; landscape spotlights or security lights placed close to the home will give this effect. These select tips will highlight your home and create definition.

Deck Lighting

Lighting allows your guests to navigate through areas of your home and yard by creating visual cues to a destination point. Light a walkway with path lights, step lights or indirect LED strip lighting. This will ensure you and your guests feel welcome and arrive safely. How does lighting give clues that you have reached your destination? Using multiple, low intensity light sources creates layers and interest, making a place more inviting. Indirect lighting should be used to create general lighting in the space, which can be achieved with LED strip lighting under a ledge or retaining wall. Step lights or deck lights can also be used to create small pools of light, which truly adds to the dimension of the space. Path lighting can continue into a space, highlighting low lying flowers and try to place spotlights on tall landscaping and architectural details. If there is a fountain, statue or fireplace these should be up-lit with spotlights or well lights. When these soft light sources are used in combination with each other they create a warm, welcoming environment with interest and definition.

Thursday, December 5th, 2013

by Littman Bros Lighting

House of Troy Picture Light

Selecting the right picture light can be somewhat difficult but our lighting professionals have broken down some key points when shopping for the perfect picture lights.

There are so many options between the different mounts, type of lights, size and finish options – first, you have to determine the size of the picture light you will need for your space. Your fixture should be roughly half the size of the frame. For example, if your frame is 16 to 24 inches you will need a 7 to 9 inch light; a 25 to 37 inch frame would use a 14.5 to 16 inch light.

Next step is choosing between the different types of lighting the picture light has to offer – It used to be that fluorescent was the only ways to have a battery powered light with any lifespan but now the LEDs far surpass the fluorescent fixtures. The LED lights are also sleeker, requiring less room for bulbs. The House of Troy Slim-Line picture light is a sleek and simple choice for this type of lighting. Depending on what you want to illuminate, a light fixture that emits less heat (like LEDs) might preserve your artwork or focal point much longer.

No a mounting option is in order and needs to be decided on – battery powered is attractive to a lot of people because there is no wiring to run or cords that will be seen. Although LEDs allow for longer usage of the fixtures, there is still some maintenance involved with changing batteries. These pieces also lack a conveniently located switch; the abundance of outlets allow for more flexibility in the location of cord fixture – direct wire fixtures are powered through junction boxes in your wall. A picture could be placed over the old location of a wall sconce; otherwise an electrician will need to wire power to the center of your picture.

Friday, November 8th, 2013

by Littman Bros Lighting

Bathroom Lighting

There are many options for bathroom lighting – pendants, wall sconces and vanity lights over the mirror are all common ways to light your bathroom. The best lighting for applying makeup and shaving for around the sink is soft light positioned equally on either side of your face; both pendants and sconces can achieve this soft lighting. The closest edge of the light should be positioned no closer than 10 inches and this will only leave you enough space for an 18-inch mirror. The ideal distance is 15 inches off-center which will leave you enough space for a 28-inch mirror and one inch spacing between your sconce or pendant and mirror.

What if you have a dual vanity? Should you use 3 or 4 pendants or sconces? This will depend on your vanity size and the spacing around it – a double vanity smaller than 60 inches can only handle 3 lights. The center light will function for both sink areas and the outer light should mimic the distance of the center light from the sinks center line. If you have a smaller double vanity and lack spacing on either side you might benefit from bath bars hung over your mirror. A 60-inch or smaller vanity may lack the space needed on the outside of your bowl to place a sconce or pendant, without interfering with your mirror or hang outside the edge of your vanity. Vanity bars still provide the necessary front lighting for shaving and makeup application but will produce some shadowing.