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Home  /  Useful Lighting Tips

Lighting Tips and Advice

If you were to walk into any lighting store today you will be overwhelmed by the amount of styles, finishes and designs of lighting fixture that are available. The development of the humble light bulb over the last few years has seen a dramatic increase in the type of fixtures available.

We aim to provide informative helpful advice to aid your purchase decisions.

Pendant fixtures are good to create ambient light, however retractable versions can be used over a table in the dinning room while background lighting is dimmed to create intimacy and focus. The Pendant has to be at the correct height as glare from the light source can be uncomfortable for family and guests.

Spotlights are used for directional lighting which will illuminate a defined area, some will use lenses or other optics to reduce the side-spill of light. They are often confused with flood lights that are more power and spill light over a greater area.

Track lighting offers a stylish way to highlight anything from artwork and family portraits to plants and telephones where space is at a premium. Track lighting can also be used to good effect in the hall which can be a long narrow space that has numerous features and helps direct people. Wire systems are very similar and are supported by springs and fittings mounted in to a wall which ensure the wire is taut. These are low voltage systems.

Recessed lights can be used to light a whole room such as a bathroom or a kitchen where high concentrations of light are required in specific areas. Some fixtures just downlight whilst others such as eyeball fittings can be directed onto areas required.

Chandeliers are ideal to grab attention and be the focal point in any room. Available in many different shapes and sizes the chandelier can create a dramatic atmosphere. The glass used in these fixtures vary widely, full lead crystal glass is more expensive but will last far longer than lower quality crystal glass and not discolour as easily.

Central ceiling fixtures provide good levels of ambient light for almost any room. Some are fitted with an uplighter which can be made from glass, soft fabrics or plastics, this diffuses the light and disguises the light source.

Standard/Floor Lamps provide stylish light as they bounce light off the ceiling. Some have reading lights (task lighting) as extra and are available in a variety of finishes and styles to suit. Halogen bulbs in these fixtures reach high temperatures and following manufactures' instructions should be followed to increase your pleasure and safety.

Wall Washers create soft ambient lighting with eye-catching effects over walls. This usually works best in a dimmed room where the full effects can be seen.

Under cabinet lights will increase safety in the kitchen or can be used to highlight those special trophies or ornaments in a living room or book in a study.

Desk lamps provide good levels of task lighting where reading and writing are important. Traditional to more contemporary these lamps can also help reduce glare from a computer screen and help keep you focused on the job at hand.



Energy Efficient Lightbulbs

 

What are Energy Efficient Light Bulbs?

Energy efficient light bulbs are known as Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs). They were invented by Philips around 25 years ago. They use less energy than the traditional tungsten filament bulbs. They are essentially a fluorescent tube which has been bent into a more compact form. They generate less heat (wasted heat is wasted energy) and last up to 10 times longer than filament bulbs.

The ratings of the lamp may be compared with the filament lamps. As an approximate comparison see list below.

  • 40W Filament = 7 - 10W CFL
  • 60W Filament = 12 - 16W CFL
  • 100W Filament = 20 - 25W CFL
  • 150W Filament = 32W CFL

The Government also revealed that the standard GLS bulbs (Filament Bulbs) that are the most common bulbs in UK homes, will not be for sale after 2011, in an effort to lower energy consumption. This wholesale approach will inevitably drive down prices of CFL bulbs in the near future.

 

Saving you money?

CFL bulbs cost more than filament bulbs to purchase, however, they use less energy and last 10 times longer. Depending on the usage and location, the cost over a 2 year period should save you money on your electricity bill. Typically you will achieve around 5,000 hours of lighting from a CFL bulb. Always turn off lights when not in use. There is no truth in keeping a light on will cost less than switching it on and off constantly but this may compromise the longevity of the CFL.

Using energy saving bulbs should be given good consideration especially as we have seen such dramatic rises in electricity bills in recent years.

Consider using these bulbs in rooms where the lighting is used constantly when dark. e.g. Living Room or external security lighting. The most recent innovations allow for smaller bulbs, coloured bulbs for accent lighting. Newer designs can also work with rheostat dimmer switches.

Superior Lighting are happy to advise you on your purchase of energy efficient light bulbs.

 

Bathroom Lighting

 

The bathroom is considered to be an area requiring special attention as water and mains voltage do not mix and the potential for a fatal shock is always present. The code of practice demands that the room is divided into different areas dependant on the perceived risks, and the specification for the light fittings used gets more stringent as the installation of the light approaches water. There are quite a few attractive bathroom lighting designs, but the choice is diminished as the specification is tightened for the most water tight fittings.

Consideration should be given to the activities that are performed in the area. These activities can be divided into two categories.

a) Grooming.

 

Most of the activities will be performed in front of a mirror and it is important that the face in evenly illuminated. The ideal is an illuminated mirror or for the lamps is at either side of the mirror, no more than a metre apart and at about head height. (Lighting from above or below the mirror, either in the form of a wall light or ceiling downlight spots will be largely ineffective and will cast shadows on the face.) Colour of the lamps is an important factor and wherever possible daylight lamps (12 volt halogen, mains halogen, daylight fluorescent or daylight LED) should be fitted in the wall fittings.

 

 

 

b) General Lighting.

 

Halogen ceiling downlighters strategically placed around the room to illuminate some of the bathroom features are a good idea and these can be linked to an IP44 touch pad dimmer to provide mood lighting. A central light is the norm in most houses, and this will provide general lighting and can be made a feature by installing a more unusual light fitting. If the room size allows then even a crystal chandelier could be fitted. (Please see the drawing Fig.1  for the regulations)

 


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