1. Are there different types of lighting to consider when designing my home’s lighting needs?
Yes, a good lighting plan combines ambient, task, and accent lighting (see below). Ambient lighting is the general illumination provided by a combination of several light sources that create a fundamental level of comfortable lighting. Fixtures used for this application include chandeliers, table lamps, floor lamps, recessed lighting, wall sconces, and indirect lighting. Task lighting is directed to specific tasks and work surfaces, and fixtures used in this category include desk lamps, kitchen under-cabinet lighting, and high-intensity recessed lighting. Accent lighting is intended to enhance the mood and drama of a room. Accent fixtures are some of the most important aspects in creative lighting design, and by focusing on specific architectural elements, art accents, wall treatments, and other points of visual interest, you can achieve the most depth and dimension in your room setting. Types of fixtures in this category include indirect lighting, recessed lighting, floor lamps, up lights, and wall sconces.
2. How do I know how large a chandelier or entry foyer fixture should be?
Consider this basic one-third to two-thirds rule. An appropriate size for a dining room chandelier is usually a minimum of one-third the width of your table, and a maximum of two-thirds the width; for example if you have a 48-inch round table, a fixture between 16 and 32 inches would be in the appropriate range. The whimsical or substantial nature of the fixture you choose would determine the specific size. If you were to choose an 18-inch diameter alabaster bowl (very substantial), or a 30-inch open frame iron chandelier (more whimsical), either would be a correct choice. The same rule applies to entry foyers – a six-foot wide entry would need a fixture between two and four feet wide, again with this range accommodating both heavier and lighter styles.
3. If I have a high ceiling (more than nine feet), then should my chandelier be taller?
Yes. Consider the use of multiple-tier chandeliers to take advantage of the vertical space you have available in order to make a more dramatic statement.
4. Is it appropriate to use a chandelier somewhere other than the dining room?
Absolutely. Chandeliers today are available in a wide array of sizes and styles, and are frequently used in great rooms, living rooms, master bedrooms, master baths, and sitting areas. Mini chandeliers or chandelettes are also extremely popular.
5. How high should my dining room chandelier be hung?
A good rule of thumb is five feet off the floor – this allows for the best view of the fixture while standing, and a clear and unencumbered view when seated. Rooms with ceilings higher than 12 feet can often accommodate larger chandeliers, and you may consider hanging your fixture at six feet or higher (our lighting consultants can assist you in this regard).
6. What is the proper mounting height for wall sconces?
Normally 72 inches off the finished floor is appropriate, however, certain architectural elements may influence this guideline.
7. How do I determine my lighting needs?
Different surroundings create different demands of your lighting. Dark walls and carpets can absorb light, and north or south exposures often provide challenges as well. When planning your lighting for a room, think of how you use the space. What tasks take place in the room, and what type of moods (scenes) do you want to create? Combine the three types of lighting for these specific needs, as well as the dramatic touches you want to create.
8. Do dimmer switches save energy?
Yes, most dimmers today do save energy. Older dimmers used to simply cook off the power you did not want to use, while today’s dimmers interrupt incoming current thousands of times per second (invisible to the human eye), saving 10 percent in energy costs even when on full. The life of your bulbs can also be greatly increased with dimmers.
9. Are there dimmer switches that can control more than one switch at a time?
Yes, there are actually three types of switching systems you may want to consider (see below). For switches that are in a multi-gang wall plate (two to six switches mounted together), you can use a product called the Graphic Eye. Controlling up to six switches simultaneously, this product allows multiple preset light levels and is perfect for large spaces with multiple light sources. For switches that are in single-gang wall plates placed around the room, there is a product called the Spacer that allows these individual switches to be controlled from one location or by remote control.
To control switches throughout the house, RadioRa is the best solution. With control features including garage door and security interfaces, RadioRa allows you to have predetermined lights turn on or off when entering or exiting your garage, and you can program certain lights to be turned on if your security system is activated. These are just some of the features this system offers. Wall-mounted or tabletop controls allow for easy operation and security by providing lighting control for anywhere in your home, even from your bedside table.
10. What type of dimmer do I need to use in a four-way switching scenario?
A three-way dimmer should be installed in the master switch location, with the three- and four-way on/off switches already in place. You will be able to dim your lights from the master switch and turn the lights off and on from the three- and four-way switch locations. If you would like to be able to adjust your lighting from all switch locations, then a product called Maestro is available and can coordinate dimming for as many as nine multiple switch locations.
11. Is recessed lighting good for bath or vanity areas?
Recessed lighting by itself is not the best option for vanity areas. The direct and harsh nature of recessed lighting can cause shadows and glare. If you plan to use recessed lighting, we recommend adding wall-mounted or pendant-mounted lighting to the space to increase the ambient light levels and reduce the harshness of the recessed lighting.
12. What is the difference between 120-volt light bulbs and 130-volt bulbs?
As we all know, household current is 110 volts. Most light bulbs are made to accept 120 volts of incoming power to allow protection from fluctuations in the incoming voltage. 130-volt bulbs will have a slightly longer lifespan, but tend to burn dimmer due to the fact that they are receiving only a 110-volt input and thereby operate at less than 100 percent of their efficiency.
13. Are “long life” light bulbs a good investment?
Not usually, as most long life bulbs are a ruse. Buying good quality bulbs and using a dimmer are the best solutions to keep your light bulbs burning longer.
14. What is halogen lighting?
Halogen lighting uses a high-pressure gas bulb with a rejuvenating filament that has proven to produce more natural white light (similar to sunlight), with an efficiency that provides more light per watt of energy consumed than a standard incandescent light bulb. The size of halogen bulbs is also much smaller than standard bulbs. This allows the design of many lighting fixtures to be much smaller and still provide a significant quantity of light. Halogen lighting is most efficient when operating on 12-volt systems, requiring the use of a step down transformer.
15. Is halogen lighting safe?
Yes. Underwriters Laboratories has been approving safe halogen lighting fixtures and systems for years now. In Europe, where energy costs are much higher than here in the United States, halogen has been the primary light source for nearly two decades. Fixtures are protected by thermal protective devices and safety shields to ensure products are safe for both residential and commercial use.
16. Does Hacienda Lighting sell only lighting fixtures?
While Hacienda Lighting is a full-service lighting showroom, offering lighting products from more than 300 vendors, including all types of chandeliers, track lighting, recessed lighting, low-voltage rail systems, and landscape lighting, we also have one of the largest assortments of home accessories and occasional furnishings.
It would be our pleasure to invite you to our showroom to see the incredible amount of decorating products and ideas we have available. Many of our customers comment that, “I can decorate my entire home from your store.” Please come and see us today to find the perfect lighting and home decor!