In a new monthly column, Sanford Fogg, of Fogg Lighting in Portland, offers his best advice on illuminating your home.
Q: What’s the most important thing to consider when planning lighting for a new home or remodel?
A: Bringing in a lighting designer at the start of a project is key. This is not a luxury reserved for people with big budgets. We will consult with any customer, free of charge, in our store. For a reasonable charge, we’ll also make a house call, but this is not typically necessary. Working with floor plans or drawings, we can determine how much light you need in a room, what types of fixtures will work best, and where they should go. Because lighting is one of the last things to be installed in a house, people often don’t contact us until the final weeks of a project. At this point, the wiring is done and it’s no longer possible to alter the lighting plan. We see kitchens that are drastically under-lit, with a grid of recessed lights in the center of the room instead of over the work surfaces. In living rooms, people frequently use recessed fixtures like klieg lights overhead, when they should be positioned around the room’s perimeter to create more comfortable, ambient illumination — to name just a couple of potential pitfalls.
Because contractors’ allowances are sometimes not enough to cover the type of lighting homeowners want or need, we also help clients devise a realistic budget up front so they are not hit with unexpected costs at the end of the process. You can spend a lot of time and money on your plans and architect, and choose the prettiest countertops, tile, and art, but if you don’t light it all properly, you can’t take full advantage of, or truly appreciate, the work you’ve done.
How many times have you used a dressing room in a clothing store to try on a garment before making a purchase? Lots of times, right. How many times have you gone into the dressing room and said to yourself: “Wow, this dress really looks great.”? Chances are that when you were “wowed” it is because the lighting was great – the lighting fixtures were placed appropriately, the color temperature of the light bulbs was flattering, and the color rendering index of the light bulbs was close to 100.
Well Lighted, Comfortable Retail Dressing Room
It is amazing what a difference lighting makes in how you look! Great lighting makes you look like a million bucks. Poor lighting washes out your complexion, distorts the color of your clothing and adds unflattering shadows on your face.
Why then would a retail establishment, trying to sell clothing, not invest what it takes to make their dressing rooms the best they can be?
To quote from an April 6, 2011 article from the Wall Street Journal entitled “Why Are Fitting Rooms So Awful”: “Lighting is a critical component. “Any woman who goes into a fitting room that has really bad lighting, you look at yourself, you look at your skin and you’re completely distracted,” says Anthropologie’s Ms. McDevitt. “Then you lose the real reason why you were in there.” The new Ann Taylor rooms have six sources of lighting and three types of bulbs, compared to one source and type of lighting in the old design. The mixture of ceramic metal halide, compact fluorescent and low-voltage bulbs is more flattering, Ms. Dorfman says. Bloomingdale’s has installed rear-lit three-way mirrors, which allow customers to see themselves from a variety of angles. There is also a ceiling-mounted light three feet back from the mirror to eliminate shadows on the shopper’s face, says Jack Hruska, executive vice president of creative services at Bloomingdale’s.” Please visit us at www.fogglighting.com, like us on Face Book and call with all your lighting questions. I like helping homeowners and business owners achieve optimum lighting. Download the free UL app “LightSmart” from the App Store for all kinds of useful lighting information.