LIGHT UP YOUR LIFE - OUTSIDE!
Ambient lighting is general lighting for a larger area. Task lighting includes pathway lights, deck lights, and security lights. Accent lighting may include solar spotlights and string lights.
Calculate your ambient lighting needs by multiplying the square footage of the area you want to light by 1.5 to get a rough estimate of the total wattage needed. For example, 100 square feet of space would require 150 watts.
Plan ahead for fixtures. Use a piece of paper to get an idea of the appropriate size fixture for, say, a front porch or back patio. For quick accent lighting, use a landscape lighting kit—either plug-in or solar.
Use LED lights. They use less energy, and you don’t have to change bulbs very often.
Consider the view from both inside and outside. Of course you want outdoor lighting to look good when you’re outside, but gardens and shrubs should also look good from inside your home.
Use subtle light for dining and entertaining. Bright light is fine for food preparation, but guests appreciate a lower glow for eating and chatting. A dimmer gives you options for a variety of brightness.
Think about security. All points of entry of your home and garage should be well lit. Illuminate any side of the house that is in the shadows.
LIGHT UP YOUR LIFE - INSIDE!
Living room: Light three of the four corners, focusing one of the lights on art, a plant, or other object. Use a combination of lamps with upward and downward glow. If you have an overhead fixture, put it on a dimmer.
Kitchen: Overhead lighting should be on a dimmer you can crank up when cooking. Lower task lighting can be used on work surfaces.
Bathroom: Sidelights, such as sconces on each side of the mirror, are best for applying makeup. The lights should be about 36–40 inches apart. An overhead light can fill in any shadows on your face.
Overhead options include flush-mount, semi-flush, pendant, recessed, and track lights.
Bedside lamps for reading should have a shade that is a little below your line of sight, or about 16–18 inches from the top of the mattress. A table lamp that is 26–28 inches tall overall is usually about right.
A soft pink bulb gives off a beautiful rosy glow, which is great mood lighting for a living room, dining room, or bedroom. Try it!
Dimmers are great—and not just for overhead lighting. Changing from switches to dimmers is a quick, easy job for an electrician.