The main types of home lighting include overhead, wall, task, and specialty lighting. Whatever your needs, be sure to match the lighting fixture and bulbs with its purpose before purchasing or installing.
Ambient lighting may not dispense enough light for individual tasks, but it should have sufficient brightness to support the room’s basic activities — playing games, watching television, reading, or dining, for example. Install fixtures high enough so that even your tallest friends won’t bump their heads.
Match the style of the fixture to the room’s architectural style rather than to the furniture style. With the exception of the dining room and entryway, the central light in a room should not be a major focal point.
Tips When Replacing an Overhead Fixture: When purchasing a new overhead light, check the total wattage of the current light as well as the rating of the new fixture. If your current fixture provides adequate light, pick a replacement fixture that uses about the same total wattage. However, if the room has always seemed dark, use a higher-wattage light and install a dimmer switch.
The two types of electric sconces (wall lamps) are direct-wire and plug-in. Most sconces fit close to the wall and direct light up or down. Up-lighting enhances the room; down-lighting brightens specific areas.
1. Direct-wire sconces: These sconces have no exposed cords and are permanently wired into an outlet in the wall. An electrician is needed for installation. Some direct-wire sconces operate from light switches in the room and turn on and off with the ceiling lights or from a separate switch. Others have a switch attached to the sconce and are turned on independently. Determine your needs before purchasing. If it is to be a part of the room’s total lighting, select one that turns on at the switch. If you want to use it independently, such as for bedside reading after the main light is turned out, choose the kind with its own switch.
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