Lighting affects every room of the house, yet it is often one of the last things people think to change.
“People will change carpet because it wears out, they’ll change countertops, but lighting is one of the last things they change yet it is the most visible if you do it right,” says Greg Gill, president of Northern Lights and Furnishing in Rochester, Minn.
Even if you’re not doing a full room remodel, updating your lights and fixtures can create a completely different feel. “You walk into a room, flip the switch and a light turns on,” says Gill. “A lot of people aren’t aware of how much nicer the room can look and how it can be enhanced…they’re not thinking of style, they’re thinking of function.”
But when you shift the focus from function to style, you open up an entire world of lighting options that can completely change your home.
Light emitting diodes, commonly known as LED, have changed the lighting design world. Whereas previously, designers were restricted to creating fixtures that relied on a large bulb to create light, the small nature of LEDs have opened up a whole new world. “There are a lot of different things being designed around LEDs,” says Gill. Fixtures are now sleek and thin, they are a lot more varied because of the flexibility offered by LEDs for both interior and exterior fixtures.
LEDs have become more diverse themselves and now come in different color tones. You can get lights with a warm hue or a cold hue, allowing you to create a specific feel for individual rooms. You’re no longer limited to a single color LED. They are also available in dimmable options and can be EnergyStar rated, notes Gill.
Though it’s been around for a number of years, Gill says low-voltage monorails are underutilized options that offer great flexibility. A monorail is essentially a track on your ceiling that can work off a single outlet. One end of the track connects to the outlet and the rest of the track can snake around the ceiling however you want.
These lights are great options when your kitchen or living room only has one outlet but you want to bring light to the entire room. From the outlet, you can trace over a countertop in your kitchen or extend light over a wall hanging in the living room.
The monorail is also extremely versatile in the type of lights it can use. You can use directional lights for highlighting a part of the room and you can hang pendants over a bar or pool table; the best part is you can mix and match, creating lighting custom to your personal needs and desires.
When doing a remodel, lighting options should be looked at early, though specific design decisions can be made later in the process. “Lighting can’t be your last choice because you have to preplan for it as far as where you’re going to put outlets,” says Gill. Knowing what kind of lighting you want early on is important, though specific fixtures can be chosen after you’ve decided on your room décor.
Other things to consider when deciding lighting, whether you’re doing an entire remodel or just upgrading your fixtures: what is the style of the room, what is the finish you’d like, what color tone do you want, what is your budget. “When you get further into it, you should know your ceiling height, size of room and usage of the room,” says Gill.
Whether you’re doing an entire remodel or just need a small change, lighting is a quick and effective way to upgrade your home. With all the options available now, there should be no problems in finding a fixture that fits your needs.