Tag Archives: lighting

Make a Big Impact with Lighting

via The Decorista
via The Decorista

Lately I’ve been spending a lot of time researching and sourcing light fixtures.  I’m a believer that lighting can make a tremendous impact in any space, and the kitchen and bath are no exceptions.  Often times people fail to see how both the proper amount and type of lighting are necessary components when creating a functional, beautiful space.  More importantly, lighting is often overlooked since people don’t realize that it is a decorating opportunity that’s well worth the time it takes to select just the right fixtures.  

via Houzz
via Houzz

When designing a lighting plan for a kitchen (or most rooms, for that matter) I want the lighting to be flexible.  For example, there are times when I’m cooking that I want my kitchen to light up like Yankee Stadium.  When entertaining, I want to create a mood that can only be achieved when certain lights are on.  And at the end of the night when the dishes are done and the kitchen is clean, I might only flip on one or two accent lights so no one is fumbling in the dark to grab a late-night snack.  When you’re designing your kitchen, consider a variety of light sources.  A combination of recessed lighting, island pendants, sconces and a fixture over the table all will provide both the appropriate amount of light for each designated area and the variety you need to keep it interesting. 

hepfer
Kriste Michelini

Consider the following guidelines when installing your light fixtures:  

  • When installing a fixture over a dining table, begin by holding the light 30″ above the table surface for a room with an 8′ ceiling.  Add 3″ for every foot that you add to the ceiling height (for a 9′ ceiling try 33″).
  • When hanging pendant fixtures over an island, consider that the bottom of your light fixture should be roughly 28-34″ above the countertop.  Once again, if your ceiling is higher than 8′ you might consider hanging pendants  a little bit higher.   Some situations do call for as much as 40″ over the island, so bear in mind that every space is different.
  • When installing sconces in a bathroom, for example, a general guideline for where to begin is 64″ from the floor.  Oftentimes, homeowners and electricians have a natural inclination to install these fixtures much higher than they need to be.  But who wants to stand at the sink and look straight into the bulb?  The purpose of a bathroom sconce is not only to shed light so that you can see what you’re doing, but it’s also to act as a decorative element in the room, no??  

How you choose to install your light fixtures is ultimately up to you.  Customers and friends always ask if there’s a rule to follow when making these decisions.  Unfortunately, the answer is no — it’s simply not that easy.  There are guidelines, to be sure, but in the end, it’s your decision.  For me, I often err on the side of having a light fixture hang a little bit lower as opposed to a little bit higher since I believe that lighting on the lower side creates a sense of coziness and adds a bit of ambiance — but that’s just my opinion.  What I do tell customers is that determining the correct height to hang any fixture is best done with two people.  One person should hold the fixture in place while the other person observes the fixture from multiple vantage points.  First, sit at the island or table — can you see the person across from you or is the light fixture in the way?  Enter the room from each doorway and look towards the island and/or the table — do you like what you see?  Is the light fixture too high or too low?  Does it block the view beyond the fixture?   Remember:  lighting serves a dual purpose.  It’s meant to illuminate the space and to be beautiful at the same time.  Lighting is an investment, so I suggest you treat it as such and take the time to make sure that the fixtures you choose hang at the height that is the most pleasing to you!  

 

Posted in Design Element, Kitchen, Materials | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Why Put off ‘Til Tomorrow What You Can Do Today?

Circa Lighting
Circa Lighting

Lately I’ve been feeling as though I’ve had so many things going on that I’ve had trouble crossing the finish line with any one of them.  I’m a knitter (a great stress-reliever) and right now I have at least four different projects on the needles, none of which I seem to be able to actually complete.  Some may say that I’m a “process knitter” — that I simply enjoy the process more than the finished product.  When I say that, I know I’m just fooling myself — I love the finished product, too!  The truth is, I guess I just like having multiple things going on at the same time.  The past six months have frankly been like that, too.  With a kitchen and bath design business, a son applying to college, and a fledgling blog that’s received almost no attention at all, I seem to be busy all of the time and yet I keep putting off things that simply can no longer wait.  Last week I checked two boxes off my growing list of to-dos, and when I completed each one I felt like a million bucks.  The first one was to create an ad for my son’s senior yearbook.  Going through pictures and thinking of the past eighteen years has made me both wistful at this milestone and excited about what lies ahead for him.  When I finally selected the photos that I would use and the caption that would accompany them, I felt a tremendous sense of relief.  Why had I waited so long to get that done?  And then, propelled by the momentum generated by that achievement, I decided to tackle the biggest weight that had been sitting upon my shoulders since December…my Christmas cards!  Yes, I mailed my Christmas cards at the end of February, much to the amusement of many of my friends.  A post on Facebook that I wrote shortly after mailing day acknowledged that perhaps sending my Christmas cards in February is a measure of how out-of-control I must be feeling lately!  Well, at least it’s done — another box checked off the ever-growing list.  

 

Alno Creations
Alno Creations

Truth is, I do enjoy being busy.  The past six months have been exhilarating, and I’ve met so many terrific people and learned so much.  Lately I’ve been helping several people to refresh their kitchens which after several years have simply become dated.  With cabinets and countertops in good shape, sometimes the best way to give your kitchen a face-lift is with a change to several key materials.  Re-tiling the backsplash, changing the plumbing and light fixtures, painting the cabinets and changing out the hardware can all have a meaningful impact on the overall look of your kitchen.  In future posts I’ll show some before and after photos to demonstrate how these changes can dramatically affect your kitchen’s overall appearance.  

 

Walker Zanger
Walker Zanger

In the meantime, the images that I’ve selected for today’s post should simply serve to get you to begin thinking of which elements in your kitchen you could change that would make your space look just a little bit more current.  Could it be the cabinet hardware or the backsplash tile?  Or would simply replacing the light fixture over your kitchen table be enough to refresh your space and reinvigorate one of the rooms in your home where you likely spend the most time?  Stop putting it off and consider changing some basic design elements in your kitchen — it can have a lasting impact.  Think about it!

 

Posted in Design Element, Kitchen, Materials | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments