Swing arm lamps instead of table lamps

Looking to make your bedroom more organized, de-cluttered, and more efficient? Without sacrificing style in any way, a great alternative to the table lamp is the wall mounted swing arm lamp. These effective, out-of-the-way lamps come in a myriad of designs to suit just about everyone. Some of the most popular designs are the traditional swing arm lamp that is wall mounted and plugged into any standard wall outlet. These are multi-positional, offer great ease of movement when nestled into bed while providing adequate light to read by or watch television.  Another style of  swing arm lamp is one that can be moved up or down, locked into place then moved from side to side. Either style frees up bedside table space yet offers a great look for a bedroom or a great room, as well.

Are LED Luminaires truly a better choice over High Pressure Sodium bulbs?

Medieval Post Lantern, CustomLightStyles

Lighting designers, lighting specifiers and manufacturers of outdoor lighting fixtures are in a quandary about whether they should be using High Pressure Sodium (HPS) bulbs over LED lights.

The hot question right now is whether people actually favor white light over yellow light. Here is what could be asked regarding the preference:

  1. Does LED light provide the broad spectrum white light that is conducive to night vision for both pedestrians and drivers?
  2. Which type of light source is more pleasing to the eye?
  3. Which light source is more cost effective in the long term?
  4. Which light source is more energy efficient?

LEDS cut energy usage by over 50% when compared to using HPS lamps. So, in this case, they are more energy efficient. Remember, these bulbs/luminaires are being used for street installations in commercial applications, not residential projects. LED lamps also have a longer lifetime (about 60,000 hours when using a 67 watt bulb, then a HPS, which usually last about 20,000 to 30,000 hours, using a comparable 90 watt bulb.) Generally speaking, most people prefer the white light emitted from the LEDS over the yellow light coming from the HPS lamps.

LED bulbs are more expensive (but coming down in cost as the demand continues to grow) than HPS bulbs since they last twice as long as High Pressure Sodium bulbs (with a life expectancy of up to 15 years depending upon the type of streetlamp). This last feature truly makes them more cost effective since they don’t need to be replaced as often as HPS lamps, thus also reducing maintenance costs in the long run.

Hiring a professional, seasoned outdoor lighting designer in a fluctuating economy.

Outdoor lantern, customlightstyles
Do clients want to select outdoor lights from the big box stores, with everything being made overseas, or should they consider enlisting the creative energies of a knowledgeable lighting designer? A seasoned lighting designer can not only deliver the custom designed goods from the original concept to the actual installation day – they can also bring the outdoor light design within budget (within reason with today’s rising cost of materials) and deliver the outdoor light fixture within a reasonable lead time.

Outdoor light fixtures have taken on a whole new meaning when a client insists upon special sizes for each outdoor light application. When uniquely sized and designed backplates, decorative “baubles” for finials, gas lights over electric lights, tweaking the outdoor light fixture’s “roof” ever so slightly are called for – Voila! –  you have yourself a completely custom designed outdoor light. You cannot go to the “big box stores” and pull something off the shelf that doesn’t look like everyone else’s outdoor lantern. If you’re looking for outdoor lighting with that classically modern aesthetic or a lantern that is totally traditional, then a lighting designer can give you that personalized service, high quality materials, custom matched finishes, high end art glass, project management to ensure every detail is attained and the correct UL Label for the proper exterior or interior application.

If you want an outdoor light to last a lifetime, with all the qualities you’d expect from a uniquely made, finely crafted outdoor lantern – then enlisting the services of a design professional will not only save you money in the long run, but add value to your home, which, in today’s economy, a very important feature.

Security Efficient Installation Techniques for Exterior Lanterns

Did you ever wonder whether you should select a ceiling mounted lantern versus a wall mounted lantern? If you’re security minded, and still wondering…here are some good reasons to select one or the other or both:

1) Wall mounted lanterns will light up the faces of any nighttime visitors that come to the door, thus making identification easier.

2) If your style of home denotes installing a hanging lantern or overhead fixture, then appropriating a recessed light or lights on the ceiling near the wall over the door will minimize any shadows on your visitor’s faces.

3) Exterior lanterns should always be installed on the same side as the doorknob and this is only if you are using one lantern per entry door. If the lantern were to be installed on the hinged side of the door, your sight would be compromised and only a dark profile of the face would be apparent.

4) If the vestibule area you are lighting is a large area, you can always select a wall mounted lantern on either side of the entryway, as well as, a ceiling hung lantern (especially if the threshold has a tall, recessed ceiling).

Exterior Outdoor Light Fixtures and the materials available for fabrication

Staprans custom flush wall mount lantern

There are several good metal choices for exterior outdoor light fixtures, some of which are more durable than others. Let’s start with the most high end material, which, in this case, bronze will be the first article on this topic – then we’ll work our way down the list:

Bronze: There is a perceived luxuriance characteristic with the word “bronze”. Bronze metal has been used, historically, for weapons, castings for tools and hardware, sculpture and an array of beautiful commodities. Bronze exterior outdoor lighting fixtures assembled from castings, are usually fabricated from an alloy mixture of copper, zinc and silicon. The alloy mixture has a low melting point, reaching fluidity at about 2000 degrees Fahrenheit, which creates the perfect molten liquid for adhering to the casting process.

Once the castings have cooled, the bronze material is considered corrosive resistant. Bronze becomes the perfect metal material for outdoor lighting fixture use – being superb in all types of weather environments. Bronze castings can be seamlessly connected when welded or soldered, to make an outdoor fixture or outdoor lantern look like one continuous piece. By protecting the outdoor lantern with wax or lacquer, you can achieve a natural aging or patina over time that will lend itself beautifully to your custom designed outdoor lighting fixture or lantern.

The proper height for mounting foyer pendants

Home Lighting Blog LanternA single pendant light is often the choice and only lumen for a foyer or stairwell area. Since the light is the single source for lighting a high ceiling and descending stairway, it should hang at least 45-48 inches away from the walls. Pendant fixtures should hang low enough so that the entire room is lit but high enough so that people cannot walk into or hit their head, on the actual fixture. Pendants should be installed so that they hang at least 9 or 10 feet from the floor if the ceiling is 11 feet or more in height.

Mounting Interior Wall Sconces

sconce customlightstylesMounting heights when installing interior wall sconces can vary with the ceiling height. The higher the ceiling, the more flexibility you’ll have for the placement of the sconce.  Also, the placement of the sconce always depends upon the style or type of sconce you’ve selected and whether it is operating as an indirect light source or simply a decorative focal point in a room. If the sconces are decorative, then you can go up 6 to 7 feet from the finished floor to the center of the junction box. Always check first to see where the power feed is coming out from – the actual location. Most of the architects and designers I work with always hold the sconces up prior to hard wiring the junction boxes to make sure the placement is aesthetically pleasing to the eye and to the room, as a whole.

The shape of the sconce greatly affects the placement of the fixture on a wall. If you’re unable to actually get a hold of the sconces prior to installation to ascertain the correct placement – simply cut out an “in-scale” template made of cardboard to use as a guide. If your room boasts a 10 foot ceiling and the sconces are being used for ambient light – the placement can be 7-8 feet from the floor to the center of the junction box.

Sconces used to light a bathroom are an entirely different matter since the lighting is specifically for tasks such as illuminating the face for make-up application, shaving, etc. The sconces should be mounted at eye level, usually about 5 feet, 6 inches above the finished floor. Taller, more narrow fixtures are best for all family members, regardless of stature, so that all will get adequate light. Also, sconces on either side of the mirror produce less shadowing than bath bars placed over the mirror, unless you are using both applications together.

These simple placement guidelines make it very easy for any homeowner to not only enjoy the design of light they’ve selected, but to also utilize the adequate light spread that should be provided upon installation.

Choosing the Right Size Chandelier

One of the key specifications for designing a chandelier is to determine the correct size for the area. If you make the chandelier too large, it can overwhelm a room. Too small and it will just look out of place. To choose the right dimensions for your chandelier, you can do some of the following things.

1) If you’re putting the chandelier above a table, measure the table’s width then subtract it by 12 inches. So, it you have a table that is 48 inches wide, your chandelier should be 36 inches in diameter.

2)When hanging a chandelier in a room but not above a table, you should take into consideration the size of the room. First, measure from corner to corner diagonally across the room. The chandelier’s diameter should be the distance you measured in feet, but in inches instead. For example, if you have a room that measures 36 feet diagonally, then your chandelier should measure 36 inches in diameter.

These are just some basic recommendations to get you started. The best and simplest instruction I give to clients, is to cut out a piece of cardboard the same size as the chandelier they want, then hang it from the ceiling. If it’s the appropriate size for the room, then your task is done and the chandelier you want will fit that room. In many instances, the dimensions of the chandelier may change, based on how it looks in a room. Not every room has the same feel, so the above guidelines are only a starting point.

Selecting the right outdoor lighting fixture for your home’s architecture

Selecting the right outdoor lighting fixture for your home's architectureOutdoor lighting fixtures come in a wide line-up of designs, finishes, historic classifications, dimensions and glass selections. There are fundamentals in your home’s

exterior décor that can safely help you choose the best possible outdoor light fixture to add beauty, as well as, safety and security to your home. It is best to illuminate your entrance to your home first, thus establishing a design or theme for the rest of the house. But first, it is wise to look for common design characteristics in your home to select the perfect outdoor light fixture. The following styles of outdoor lights should be helpful in identifying those specific features of your home that you wish to emphasize.


Traditional Architecture

This style of architecture calls for a lighting fixture that is classic, elegant and without being excessively detailed. Outdoor light fixtures of this classification often have linear lines, some curves and are often reflecting those characteristics of either European or Victorian stylings. Outdoor lighting in this vein offers a rather broad category of influence without being too avant-garde.


Mediterranean Architecture

Outdoor light fixtures that showcase this design style often get their direction from Italian or Middle Eastern ornamentation. Elaborate curves and shapes are often intricately showcased in exterior lanterns of this style, made of heavy brass, bronze or copper. Hand moldings detail the intricate castings of a particular design element or period for this type of outdoor light fixture.


Leading Edge, Contemporary Architecture

A functional outdoor light fixture in this form usually follows a simple design, devoid of embellishment or unnecessary structure. Often exterior lanterns of this nature vaunt an emphasis on linear lines, light frames and smooth textured finishes.


Bungalow, Craftsman, Mission Style Architecture

Outdoor light fixtures that enhance this type of structural design have a definite Asian influence. Exterior lanterns often have a square, rectangular or boxy feel to the overall effect, with an accent on rustication and durability. Often referred to as an Arts and Crafts style of architecture, the exterior lanterns will often showcase brass, copper or bronze overlays that are achieved by using laser cut or hand-turned detailing. These outdoor lights may look simple but really exemplify expert artisanship.


Choosing the Right Size Lantern

Choosing the Right Size LanternHere is a very good question I’m asked often.

When purchasing an exterior lantern, how do you select the correct size so that it’s in scale to your home’s dimensions? The answer is quite simple. If the location is your front door entry and you are looking at a single lantern, then the scale should be about one third the height of your door. If you’re placing a lantern on either side of your front entry, then the scale should be one fourth the height of your door. If the lantern has a top or bottom scroll, a tail or is attached by a top or bottom backplate design, then take into consideration the overall height of the lantern. A quick trick is to have someone hold up the lantern in question and then stand back approximately 50 feet from the door. The lantern should appear half it’s size from that distance back. You can also stand on your curb and visualize how your neighbors and friends my view the lantern(s) from the street. If there’s a question, then go a bit larger rather than smaller.