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Lighting For Your Home

Lighting is my favorite category in a kitchen or bathroom project because lighting alone can transform the look, feel and performance of a living space at a better value than any other category.  Unfortunately, it’s often the most overlooked; so, here’s some information that will help teach you about the main types of lighting that can be used in your home.  

First, we need to understand the difference between the types of lighting:

Ambient Lighting

According to the American Lighting Association (ALA), Ambient Lighting provides an area with overall illumination. Also known as general lighting, it radiates a comfortable level of brightness without glare and allows you to see and walk about safely. In some spaces, such as laundry rooms, the ambient lighting also serves as the primary source of task lighting.  It can be accomplished with chandeliers, ceiling or wall-mounted fixtures, recessed or track lights or with lanterns mounted on the outside of the home. It is fundamental to a good lighting plan to have a central source of ambient light in all rooms.

Task Lighting

Task Lighting helps you perform specific tasks, such as reading, grooming, preparing and cooking food, doing homework, working on hobbies, playing games and balancing your checkbook. It can be provided by recessed and track lighting, pendant lighting and undercabinet lighting, as well as by portable floor and desk lamps.  Task lighting should be free of distracting glare and shadows and should be bright enough to prevent eye strain.

Accent Lighting

Accent Lighting adds drama to a room by creating visual interest. As part of an interior design scheme, it is used to draw the eye to houseplants, paintings, sculptures and other prized possessions. It can also be used to highlight the texture of a brick or stone wall, window treatments or outdoor landscaping.  To be effective, accent lighting requires as least three times as much light on the focal point as the general lighting surrounding it.  Accent lighting is usually provided by recessed and track lighting or wall-mounted picture lights.

Now, we need to apply these lighting types to the design.  It is critical to determine how the kitchen or bathroom design will be utilized by the home-owner in order to design the lighting plan around the different tasks that will be taking place where that specific lighting will be used. Thompson Price automatically integrates lighting design into every one of their project designs to try and make sure we utilize our lighting options in the best way we can.

Next, we need to figure out how we want to control the different types of light. Will the new lights be on regular switches?  Is dimming necessary?   With the newer LEDs, the need to dim lighting for energy conservation has basically gone away because LEDs themselves are so energy efficient.  However, some customers still prefer to dim lights to create a certain mood or atmosphere.  This means we need to confirm that:

1.  The particular LED fixture we’re specifying is dimmable.  

2.  To determine if we need to specify an alternative driver or dimmer to dim the fixture.  

Sometimes, this requires different equipment that are needed specifically for dimming. Thompson Price’s goal is to make sure the different lighting elements work seamlessly together from a both a visual stand-point and a control stand-point.

Our higher end lighting systems allow control of multiple fixtures via an app on your smartphone or wirelessly.  These products allow us to create ‘Scenes’ where the different light fixtures are automatically set to pre-programmed lighting levels.  For example, at my home I use a scene I have labeled ‘Entertaining’ which dims the main lights to a lower than normal setting but raises the level of my accent lighting and task lighting below the wall cabinets in my bar area to draw the eye of my guests to that part of the room.  When the guests leave, I hit a single button to return all the lights to their highest setting to help make clean-up a breeze for me.

Some of our newer products allow for some really cool control options like door sensors where the interior of a cabinet can be illuminated by opening the door, controlled by a remote or even controlled by a timer that can turn lights on or off at a certain time of day.  Do your kids always leave the lights on downstairs?  You can set a timer that turns off every light downstairs at 10pm each night.  There’s really no limit to what Thompson Price can help you do with lighting in your home.      

Here are a few quick myths about lighting:

Lighting is for high-end projects only.  

False. Thompson Price has basic lighting for even our most cost-conscious customers.  By changing the fixture type or the actual wattage, we can integrate a lighting plan into the simplest of projects.  

 

Lighting has to be expensive

False.  Granted, it’s easy to drive the budget up by going overboard with interior accent lighting and some of the cooler control systems or color changing features; but again, Thompson Price has many lighting products to accommodate most price-points.  

 

Lighting really doesn’t have any purpose other than looking pretty

I think we cleared this up earlier.  Ambient lighting and task lighting are really critical for both safety and functionality reasons.  The accent lighting is really the only lighting that is purely aesthetic, but it can really highlight all of the your surfaces, products and finishes when you add accent lighting to your home design.

Lighting is too complicated

It may be if you try to go it alone, but Thompson Price knows our lighting products in and out and we can help make adding lighting to your project a breeze.  Stop by our showroom or submit a quote request to see how easy to add lighting to your kitchen or bathroom.