Atlanta Interior Lighting Options: Bright Ideas for Your Home
“The lighting industry is in tune with how our world is changing,” industry veteran Mary Ann Boedeker says.
As a senior buyer for online lighting retailer Bellacor.com, she sees all of the product offerings on the market today, and explains that now is an exciting time for lighting.
“I am very passionate about how technology is integrated into the home,” she says. This integration allows for conveniences that align with today’s busy lifestyles and creativity when it comes to style. You will be amazed by the marriage of form and function.”
Ready to be amazed? We’ve compiled recommendations from lighting-industry experts to provide a wide scope of advice and options—all at your fingertips.
Above and beyond
Some of the most intriguing advances in lighting technology involve increased versatility. “Light switches are often the most frequently used devices in the home, so why settle for simply on or off?” asks Frank Therrien of Colonial Lighting, a BSI Company.
Therrien advocates for light dimmers, noting that these can not only enhance the mood of a room, but also achieve longer bulb life and use less electricity. Though he adds a word of caution: “Not all dimmers are compatible with LED and CFL bulbs.” Check with your local lighting specialist to determine which bulbs will work with your fixture. Newer to the market, warm-dimming LED bulbs are a popular choice.
The ability to control your lighting in automated or remote ways is an in-demand trend, as well. “Thanks to evolving technology and communications protocols, including Wi-Fi, lighting control options have seen a dramatic increase,” says Jay Sherman of Leviton. “Radio frequency (RF) platforms offer homeowners an affordable solution to control lighting loads locally or remotely using mobile applications on smartphones and tablets. There are also a growing number of Bluetooth-enabled devices,” he adds.
Boedeker points to one such mobile app: fanSync from Fanimation. This Bluetooth-based technology connects your phone to your ceiling fans (multiple fans can be paired with your phone), allowing you to control the fan speed, lighting and timer functionalities from your iOS or Android device.
Another exciting advancement: Lutron Electronics recently announced that its Caseta Wireless system now supports Apple’s HomeKit, which allows you to use Siri to control the lights throughout your house. You can even take it a step further! Michael Smith of Lutron says, “For a more sophisticated solution in which every light, shade and thermostat in your home is controlled from keypads and smart devices—and to which AV and security systems can be linked—consider Lutron’s Radio RA2 and HomeWorks QS systems.”
Lighting controls with occupancy-sensing technology is another technology on the rise. These devices automatically turn lights on and off based on whether the area is occupied. Tom Leonard, marketing director for Leviton’s lighting and energy solutions unit, notes that the company’s LevNet RF line of products includes an occupancy sensor that can be used to automatically turn off plug loads when a space is vacated. (Read more about LevNet’s RF line under “Solar Freedom.”) This is especially useful when considering the energy savings it allows. “Devices that plug into a standard electrical outlet create plug loads that are known as ‘phantom’ loads—these continue to draw power even when they are supposedly off,” Leonard explains. “According to the U.S. Department of Energy, homeowners can save as much as $400 per year on their electricity bill by getting rid of phantom loads.”
The beauty of a solar-powered light fixture is that it is not only independent from electrical sources (and therefore as energy efficient as you can get), but also wireless. Of course, these fixtures are completely dependent upon the duration and intensity of the sunlight they get, but technology has increased their efficiency—and their efficacy.
One new solar technology that stands out from the crowd is the LevNet RF self-powered line of products from Leviton. Simply replace a traditional wall switch with a LevNet RF receiver wall switch; then you can place a LevNet RF transmitter (additional wall switch, occupancy sensor, three-way switch and more) anywhere you’d like, no wires required. Want a wall switch by your bedside lamp? Or an occupancy sensor next to every entry point in your living area? This system’s got you covered, with no additional wiring needed. Each transmitter is solar powered (using zero electricity), and each receiver uses the same wiring as your existing wall switch, while only using less than half a watt of electricity in standby mode.
“Traditionally, adding new locations for light switch control, room configurations or energy savings was costly and destructive due to the need to pull new wire through walls and ceilings,” Leonard says. “Levnet RF offers customers a reliable, cost-effective, do-it-yourself wireless solution for basic lighting control, three-way or multi-location switching, dimming, occupancy sensing and receptacle control for additional energy savings.”
It’s widely accepted that lighting can go a long way in setting the mood of a room. But did you know that the color of light can also affect your brain? “Light transforms the way you feel,” Smith says. “Think about your mood on a drab, cloudy morning compared to a sun-kissed day, or a bright afternoon sun that softens into an evening dusk. Your home is a place where you experience comfort, romance and peace of mind. These feelings can be controlled through the lighting in your home.”
In recent years, the alternative medicine known as chromotherapy has seen a resurgence. Also known as color therapy, the science behind this treatment involves using the color spectrum in lighting to improve your mood. Boedeker recommends two color-changing fixtures offered through Bellacor.com. One is Alfi, a color-changing showerhead. “Turn on the fun in your shower just by turning on the water—the LED lights will automatically light up and set the mood,” she says. “They will even change colors automatically based on water temperature. All of this with no batteries—everything is self-powered by a built-in dynamo that takes advantage of the water pressure to create energy to light the bulbs.”
Whereas showerheads are a typical offering for chromotherapy, chandeliers are not. And yet, Sonneman’s Chromaglo Spectrum chandelier brings the excitement of variable color illumination to the dining and living areas. “Spectrum lets you control the lighting’s direction, distribution, intensity and color,” Boedeker notes. “With six preset color-changing modes with variable speeds, as well as four preset brightness levels, you are able to easily customize and operate these lights with a remote control.”
The color temperature of a light bulb also has a profound, albeit subtler, visual effect—both indoors and out. “With residential exterior lighting, balance warm and cool lights,” recommends Jim Burks, founder and president of Pinnacle Lighting Group. “If you only have one color, the effect may appear more commercial than residential.” Burks goes on to note that the correlated color temperature (CCT) of an exterior lamp can also effect how vibrant your landscape seems; for example, when lighting greenery, go with a 4200K light, which has a blue hue that enhances the green color of the tree or shrub. For brown or tan stone, a 2700K light will help increase the vibrancy of the hardscape.
Perhaps the fixture that has advanced the furthest in terms of both design and technology is the chandelier. “Lighting manufacturers are leveraging LED technology to create new and interesting forms for chandeliers,” Boedeker notes.
Therrian agrees. “Today’s chandeliers are eschewing the overly scrolled and adorned designs of the recent decade in favor of cleaner lines,” he says. “However, that does not mean you’re limited to cold designs with only straight lines.” Indeed, integrated LEDs allow for a wide variety of shapes and styles in chandeliers.
Whatever you do, do not discount the chandelier in your home. “Consider the dining room chandelier the most important single piece of decoration, or ‘jewelry,’ in your home,” Therrien advises. And these fixtures aren’t just limited to the dining area—they can be in nearly any room of the home. “Make sure the scale fits the room; it’s okay to go a little larger in rooms with higher ceilings,” advises Alicia Mooney of Alicia Mooney Interiors. “Chandeliers—and lighting in general—help to create the mood, so have a little fun with it."
Light fixtures are the “jewelry” of your home, so put some serious effort into choosing the right ones. It is just as important as furniture shopping! Your home’s fixtures should look like they came from the same catalogue, but they don’t have to be the exact same product. Mix tones and metals for a look that is cohesive yet fun.
—Alicia Mooney, Alicia Mooney Interiors
3 Top Trends in Outdoor Lighting
We asked Lindsey Barnhill of Architectural Transformations what she sees trending in outdoor lighting in 2016. She’s spotted a few great ones…and one not-so-great one!
1. More LED and less halogen lighting.
2. Mixing up color temperatures within a single project.
3. Homeowners realizing safety value of outdoor lighting, not just for curb appeal.
The Not-So-Good Trend: Because installing LEDs systems is a little easier to do, more companies are installing these systems without the ability/knowledge to service issues down the road. They are taking the money on the front end and not standing by their work! Make sure you hire an outdoor lighting pro so you don’t get stuck with a broken installation.
Newer generations of bulbs are not suitable for all of the applications for which the older-technology incandescent bulbs are suitable. For example, LED bulbs are extremely sensitive to heat. This can adversely affect the bulb’s performance if heat is not allowed to dissipate or escape effectively. So, installing LEDs in closed fixtures like ceiling flush-mount fixtures is not always advisable. Conversely, CFLs do not respond well to periods of prolonged cold temperatures, which makes them not the best choice for exterior lights. Also not all LEDs and CFLs are intended for use in damp or wet locations. Make sure you are choosing the right bulb for your situation.
—Frank Therrien, Colonial Lighting, a BSI Company
Alicia Mooney Interiors | (706) 540-3025
Architectural Transformations | ATOutdoorLighting.com
Bellacor.com | Bellacor.com
Colonial Lighting, a BSI Company | Colonial-Lighting.com
Hinkley Lighting | Hinkleylighting.com
Leviton | Leviton.com
Lutron Electronics | Lutron.com
Pinnacle Lighting Group | PinnacleLightingGroup.com
WAC Lighting | WacLighting.com
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