By Sanford Fogg
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.
Decorative lighting includes Wall Sconces, Chandeliers, Flush Mounts, Semi-Flush Mounts and Pendants. The proper combinations of these five elements insure an interesting, attractive lighting design for any room. Using different elements of lighting is called layering. Many layers of light make the difference between an OK room and WOW room.
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Pendants are perhaps the most versatile of all decorative lighting fixtures.They can be as dramatic as a chandelier, as understated as a wall sconce or as functional as a floor lamp. They can be used to provide ambient, task or accent illumination. They can be used alone on in groupings. They are available as line voltage, low voltage halogen and LED. They can be made of glass or metal or a combination. They can be modern, traditional or transitional. Whatever your taste and lighting need there is a pendant for you.
Pendants are traditionally used in kitchens as task or accent lighting over islands, sinks or kitchen tables. But pendants are also used in foyers, in hallways with high ceilings, in dinning rooms over tables and in bathrooms. They are used as exterior fixtures on porches and entries. As long as you have adequate ceiling height, you can use pendants almost anywhere.
When choosing a pendant be sure that the light output meets your lighting needs. I have customers who would love to have small, colorful pendants over task ares in their kitchens. Unfortunately most of these do not provide enough task light for the application. So unless you can supplement the light with recessed lighting, such fixtures do not provide sufficient lighting for kitchen tasks. Be a savvy shopper and always match your lighting needs to the fixture you are buying.
Please visit http://www.fogglighting.com and like us on Facebook. I am always available for consultations on lighting plans.