I was talking to a friend of mine the other day. Her name is Shirley. Shirley is a retired nurse whose husband passed away a few years ago. She lives by herself in a three bedroom brick ranch home a few miles away from me. We met about five years ago when I was doing some volunteer work at the local hospital where Shirley worked.
Every now and then we have Shirley over for dinner. She loves to bake and she always brings something that she baked for desert when we get together. I have to admit that she is a great cook.
When Shirley came over for dinner the other day, we were sitting around the dinner table and she brought up something that she knew I could help her out with. She was explaining how at night when she is at home and has to go outside that it was difficult for her to see her way around her house.
You see, Shirley likes to water her lawn and gardens at night. She went on to say that watering after sundown is better for her lawn and garden, because the water has does not evaporate at the surface as quickly as it does in sunlight. This gives her lawn and gardens a better drink of water, as she put it.
What Shirley was leading up to was some sort of advice for lighting up the outside of her home at night. She wanted to be able to see better and not worry about stepping on her flowers while watering.
The first thought that came to me was outside wall lighting. So I asked Shirley if she had any outside wall lighting on her house now. She said she did have a few outside wall lights, but over the years they just stopped working.
So I asked her where these non-working outside wall lights were located. She said she had one on each side of the overhead door of her garage. One wall light on the outside wall along side of her front door and two more outside wall lights on the back wall of her home where her bar-b-q deck is.
She said her main concern was along both sides of her house and not so much the front and rear walls of her home, but that she could replace the old worn outside wall lights that are already there and not operating.
After dinner my husband and Shirley went into our living room to watch some TV. I went off to do some research on Outside Wall Lighting.
My next thoughts were what style of outside wall lighting would go with her light tan brick home. I went to work. Shirley had white vinyl windows around her home, so I was determined to find a style to go with the flow, as they say.
The first outside wall lights I looked at were to replace the lights that were already on her home. For the garage, on both sides of the overhead door, I found the Alexandria White Energy Star Outdoor Wall Light. This wall lamp has a white finish, curved beveled glass, die cast aluminum construction and a motion sensor. These lights will turn automatically on when you pull into the driveway with your car. Also, these lights will automatically turn on when you walk in front of them in your driveway.
Next, I took a look at the outdoor wall lighting fixture on the wall next to her front door. Here I was thinking that the Traditional Estate White Energy Star Outdoor Wall Light or the Richmond Coach White Energy Star Outdoor Wall Light are good choices to pick from. Here Shirley could choose the wall lighting fixture she liked best.
So now I'm thinking about Shirley's outdoor wall lighting on the back wall of he home lighting up her bar-b-q deck. Here I came up with the Chesapeake One Light Outdoor Wall Lantern in White. This award winning outdoor wall lighting fixture consists of an aluminum body, white finish, clear beveled glass, suitable for wet locations and a beautiful traditional style. Shirley is sure to be pleased with this wall lamp.
Now for the final part of this project, the two side walls of Shirley's house. If you remember, here is where she wanted enough light so when she waters her lawn and garden at night, she won't step in her flower gardens.
Then it came to me. On the side walls of Shirley's house there are presently no outdoor wall lights. Also, there is no electrical wiring running to these walls to hook up any hard wired outdoor wall lighting fixtures.
The answer to this situation came to me. Here the only solution to lighting up the areas surrounding the outside side walls of her home is solar powered outdoor wall lighting. Here all you have to do is simply attach the lighting fixture to the outside wall and let nature do the rest.
I went to work. It didn't take long before I found a variety of solar powered outdoor wall lighting fixtures. The choices ranged from decorative to flood lighting. I thought to myself that all Shirley really needed to brighten up her outside side walls of her home is a flood light positioned up high in the middle of these two walls. One solar powered wall mounted flood light on the left wall and one on the right wall of her house.
I found the solution to her night lighting problem. It was the Solar System Double Head Flood Light. Put these double headed solar powered flood lights up high enough on each of the walls. Aim them on a downward angle to the left and right and these outdoor wall mounted lights will be able to light the way at night for Shirley.
When my research was finished, notebook computer in hand, I sat down on the living room couch next to Shirley. I presented her with the outdoor wall lighting solutions I found and she was excited. I offered to help her with the installation after she received her shipments of outside wall lighting. This put a smile on her face.
Hard wired or solar powered, you can install outdoor wall lighting in places that you never imagined possible years ago. Now you have the ability to light up the darkness and see the light anywhere you please.
Recessed lighting has made a strong comeback in home lighting dÃ©cor. The comeback is in part due to new low-voltage lighting solutions and energy-efficient light bulbs that can be used with recessed lighting. Recessed lighting provides an inexpensive way to update the appearance of your home. The lights can accent any room in your home by highlighting artwork and by adding bright, symmetric light.
Clean and Sophisticated
Recessed lighting can provide a clean and sophisticated look. Recessed lights are hidden and do not break ceiling lines. This helps a room feel open and airy. Recessed lighting can be an elegant way to light a room without the lights being obstructive to the design of the room.
One of the best qualities of recessed lighting is that the lights can be dimmed. Dimmers allow you to control how much light you want. Dimming lights reduces the amount of electricity required to light a room and decreases your electric bills.
Recessed lighting fixtures are available in numerous shapes, sizes and colors. This allows homeowners to be creative and select the fixture that best complements their room decor. Recessed lighting can be used with standard line voltage, low-voltage halogen or fluorescent fixtures. The common sizes used are 4, 5, or 6 inches in diameter. The 6-inch fixtures are often used in tall entryways. The 4-inch sizes work better in smaller spaces.
* IC Rating - Recessed lighting fixtures should be IC rated. "IC (insulation contact) rated" means that the recessed lighting fixture (also called a can) may touch the insulation in the ceiling without posing a fire hazard.
* Ceiling Type - Avoid DIY recessed lighting installation for concrete ceilings or ceilings with elaborate plasterwork or delicate molding. They often require a more complex installation.
* Closets - Recessed lighting is the safest lighting choice for closets. House fires have been caused by objects falling from shelves and coming into contact with unshielded bulbs from surface mounted fixtures.
* Avoid placing lights too close to each other. Placing lights too close to each other will create an "airport runway" effect of uniform rows of lights close together.
* Place a recessed lighting fixture approximately 12-18 inches from the front of the object that you want to highlight.
* 4-inch fixtures should be placed at least 4 feet apart and 6-inch fixtures at least 6 feet apart.
* It is more effective to light a three-dimensional object from two or three different angles. A fireplace, sculpture or flower arrangement should be highlighted by at least two lights.
* If recessed lighting fixtures are your only source of built-in light in a room, install one fixture for every 25 square feet of floor space.
Don't sweat it out when you don't have to. Got your A/C running and still feel warm? Here are some tips that will help keep you and your home feeling cooler, will help reduce your energy bills and make you feel overall better on those hot summer days.
1. Make sure your HVAC System is running properly. If your A/C is running but just not keeping you cool then you may want to consider a maintenance check by a professional HVAC contractor. It could cost about $100 minimum but it could end up saving you money in the long run.
2. Window Treatments - Do your windows have drapes, shades, blind or other coverings? When the sun is blaring down on your home and in through the windows, the best thing to do is to cover them up. The bright morning sun and powerful sunsets brings the hottest sun into the house. Having good quality window treatments (and closing them when necessary) will really help keep the sun out and keep your house cooler.
3. Insulation- Having a sufficient amount of insulation in your attic and walls will help keep the cool air in your home. Without proper insulation, the air can easily escape your house, making you feel warm instead of cool.
4. Attic Ventilation- The air up in the attic can reach temperatures of up to 170 degrees in a poorly-ventilated attic; even when it's 80 degrees outside. Proper attic ventilation includes: installing gable, soffit, and roof vents along with attic fans. An attic fan works by blowing the hot air out so that you can feel much cooler.
5. Ceiling Fans- Ceiling fans work extremely well at bring an additional means for cool air circulation in your home. Ideally, you should have one in every room that you spend significant time in. Not only will you feel cooler and more comfortable, but your energy bills could decrease form not having to run your A/C as much.
Stay cool and stay calm and remember to install a programmable thermostat for additional energy savings.
Whether you are remodeling or building from scratch, the basement can become one of the coziest places in your home. By their very nature, basements stay cooler in the summer and quieter year-round than other rooms in the house. On the other hand, without the right design, the same basement could be a dark, damp and musty place that gives your children nightmares. The following article outlines several precautions you can take to make your basement the kind of space you desire.
First of all, do everything you can to keep water out of the basement because it cultivates mold. In addition to smelling bad, some molds even pose a dangerous health hazard. To protect your family from mold, you should start by building a solid foundation that is covered with plenty of sealant. Then plan your landscaping with a grade that slants away from the house. This will help carry water away from the basement when it rains and when your sprinklers are running. And finally, make sure there is proper ventilation in the room as well.
Once you've got the water under control, it's time to focus on lighting the room. One of the best ways to bring light into a basement is to dig a couple of window wells. You'll definitely want to wire for some light fixtures as well, but sunlight won't add a penny to your utility bill. In addition to flooding the room with natural sunlight, window wells can let in fresh air and serve as an emergency escape route. When you shop for them there are several things you should keep in mind though.
For example, a lot of window wells are much more functional than they are fashionable. They do let in air and sunlight, but they are ugly eyesores whether you are looking at them from the inside or the outside of your house. Some people remedy the problem by covering the cheap metal liner with stone material, but that solution is very expensive and difficult to install. Fortunately, there is an affordable alternative that looks just as attractive as genuine stone. These products are usually one-piece, light-weight composite window wells that require no maintenance. And, if you want to make it easy to get in and out of the window well, you can order a model with a built-in step.
Covers are another thing to consider if you have a couple window wells around the house. A lot of people do fine without them, but they do help keep leaves, animals and family members from falling into the cavity of the well. If your window well is particularly deep, a window well cover would probably be a wise investment for safety. Of course, solid covers need to be made of clear material if you still want light to come in through the window well. If you do buy one, look for products that will protect your family and your furniture from harmful UV rays.
Lighting is the most important part to interior design. It can give the room atmosphere, from intimacy to enthusiasm. You do want to be sure that you are getting the look you are going for, and to do that it is important to know the four types of illumination:
Ambient lighting or general lighting, this is the lighting for the room as a whole. You can use the amount of light, the placement of light, and the amount of light in creating effects for every occasion.
Local lights, this is the intensity of the light. The amount of light needed for reading, doing crafts, cooking, shaving, or other household activities. It is the flow of light into a room, whether it is into the corner of the room, or the middle of the room. It has to be correctly measured so the eyes are not strained or exhausted when used for such activities.
Accent lights, these are the lights used to show off that special piece of art, or a particular area of a room. This is light used for "ornamental" purposes.
Natural light, this is the lighting that comes in through our windows and doors. This depends a lot on the season, time of day, and the weather. It can vary a lot in intensity and color.
You will need to do an analysis of your everyday activities, and know what you will do and where you will do it. Never hesitate in using different types of illumination. Creativity is a must. Illumination can create very interesting and different results and it is very difficult to get the same thing twice so uniqueness is practically guaranteed. Different lightning can appear to alter the dimensions of a room, meaning that it looks smaller or larger depending on the lighting.
The ways to apply lighting to a room may seem limitless so when deciding how to choose lighting think of them in two perspectives; esthetical and functional. In terms of functionality the lighting will serve the purpose intended, for instance will allow the person to see well enough to read or do their craft. So in this case, there will be enough light and the correct strength of light to fulfill that purpose. Creating the atmosphere is what fulfills the esthetical perspective.
For instance, when trying to choose lighting for your living room you may put a lamp behind every chair about three or four foot high. To highlight a painting you may put an accent light above it. You may also put one under the curio cabinet or bookshelf. Make sure that your general lighting is adjustable and that you have indirect light to cover the walls with light. You could place the indirect lighting in the floor in little spaces behind furniture, which would illuminate the walls.
The history of lighting is fascinating and includes philosophy, art, sciences and religion. Through an extensive timeline, we know that until early man discovered the element of fire quite by accident. He lived in darkness for half of his life. Lightning probably struck a nearby tree and set it on fire, revealing a source of light in addition to the sun and the moon.
But with fire, man could control it and generate heat for warmth and provide energy for cooking. This new source of light gave man a whole new definition of power and control moving him to the top of the food chain.
By bundling sticks together, fire became a torch to transport and light a path to other places. Later, man learned that grease and oil served as fuels for his fire and he could create holders for the fuel. He fashioned an animal horn, a shell, or a rock into a vessel for his fuel and fire. Then, man discovered how a wick added another measure of control, which eventually led to the invention of the candle.
Some people believe the greatest technology in history is the electric light bulb. It is the incandescent light bulb that freed our reliance on daylight. While candles led our way through darker ages, and gaslight was a little better, artificial electric lighting provided another level of control to take us from rudimentary technology to a new source enhancing our quality of life.
Thomas Edison is credited with the invention of the commercial electric light bulb and received a U.S. patent for his design. Edison received over 1,000 patents in his career and holds the record for the most patents granted to one person.
Today, light brightens the Earth from continent to continent as recorded by photography from outer space by satellites and Space Shuttle missions. The light bulb and electricity has afforded nations and humans to prosper and enjoy the fruits of modern technology, as we know it today.
To date, fire and electric lighting has moved our civilization and culture to further heights of luxury that only prosperity can provide. Now it is time to share with those who are less fortunate even in the 21st century. Some companies now donate a percentage of their profits to feed thousands of hungry children located in less fortunate nations. Some people choose to give back. What about you?