Lighting 101 Living Room
Lighting is essential to our lives. In today's homes, it serves many needs. These include lighting for performing activities, enhancing décor, creating mood and ensuring safety and security. Good lighting also contributes to health and a sense of well being.
When designing a lighting plan for a living room or family room, you'll want to include general lighting for entertaining and watching television, task lighting for reading or sewing, and accent lighting for artwork, plants, and interesting architectural features. Dimming controls are ideal for the living room because they allow you to design the lighting to suit each mood and activity. A mix of light sources works well in these spaces. Incandescent offers easy dimming and directional beams; fluorescent (including CFL's) provides higher illumination, lower energy cost and less maintenance.
TV, video games, and computer monitors require low-level general lighting that does not wash out the screen's image nor reflect into the viewer's eyes. Miniature track lighting can be installed under shelves to provide both general and accent lighting. Choose from accent spots, mini-lights, and compact or linear fluorescent light sources.
Reading requires task lighting that comes from behind the reader's shoulder. This can be accomplished by placing a floor lamp either at the right or the left of the reading chair. The bottom of the shade should be located at eye level to avoid glare.
Brick or stone walls and fireplaces
can be emphasized with recessed downlights installed in the ceiling over the mantle to create an intriguing grazing effect across the surface. Wall sconces on each side of the fireplace are an attractive addition that draws attention to the featured area, while providing general lighting for the living room.
By Placing downlights 6”-12” from a wall, a grazing effect can be achieved on textured surfaces such as stone, brick or stucco. Par lamps are a good source to use for grazing.(Note: Grazing on smooth surfaces is not recommended as it will magnify any surface
The living room is ideally suited for dimming control systems. Systems such as Cooper's Aspire Series of Smart Dimmers are compatible with incandescent as well as magnetic low voltage. These smart dimmer's LED brightness indicators give you instant visual confirmation of the level your lights are set to, additionally they allow you to make quick changes to the dimmers preset settings. With smart dimmers you have the option of whether your lights turn off instantly or gradually fade out similar to theater lighting, the lights can also gradually rise to their set level which increases bulb life and is easier on the eyes. A remote controller can be paired with the smart dimming master controllers and used to change between different preprogrammed scenes.