By Jeanelle Deppner
That lighting as an element of home decorating doesn’t receive the same attention as style, color, texture, or contrast might simply be because homeowners are not really aware of the impact of lighting on space. Some may have the germ of an idea but might be overwhelmed by the jargon –lumens, candlelight, candela – that they avoid the subject altogether, believing that of the myriad of choices in home finishing shops, there’s bound to be one that fits their needs.
Here are some facts about light fixtures the DIY decorator would want to know.
Freestanding fixtures are ones which are not fixed to any wall, floor, or ceiling, allowing them to be moved around at will. There are two types: uplights and lamps.
Uplights beam light up on the ceiling creating soft ambient light. The intensity of the light can be controlled by adjusting the height of the uplight. The farther an uplight is from the ceiling, the greater the area that will be illuminated, and the more diffused the light will be. Torchieres are one example of uplights.
Lamps are the lampshades everyone knows. Illumination is normally directed downward, although the shade can be tilted to direct the illumination sideways. Shades come in a wide variety of sizes, shapes, and materials, and the base can be any of a myriad of designs, making lamps the favorite lighting fixture of many.
Ceiling fixtures are those attached to, or are hung from, the ceiling. There are three types: pendants, chandeliers, and downlights.
Pendants are hung from the ceiling and can be used for general or task lighting. For general illumination, the bulbs are covered with translucent globes causing the light to be distributed throughout the room, or covered with shaped shades causing the light to be trained at a particular location.
Chandeliers are a type of pendant with branches that hold bulbs and often elaborate ornamentation. The glam factor of chandeliers is such that, often, they themselves become the accent of a room. The quality of light, and, of course, the oomph of a chandelier depends on its design-the number of branches, and the amount of reflective glass that usually adorn it.
Downlights are recessed into the ceiling to train light downward. Downlights project the narrowest beam of light, and are often used to focus light on work areas, or to highlight a tree wall art, for example.
Wall-mounted fixtures are usually accent lights, designed more for drama than for illumination. Sconces, for instance, can be used to create pockets of light for a dramatic ebb and flow of light on a wall. Wall washers, usually mounted high on the wall, are another type of wall-mounted fixtures that are used to bathe walls with soft, uniform illumination. Sconces are usually used in pairs, as when they’re placed on both sides of your tree wall art.
Tracks, a combination of spots and downlights on a ceiling-mounted track, are used where flexibility is desired. It’s possible to point each individual fixture in any direction, allowing tracks to be used as general, task, or accent lighting.
Spots, which can be mounted on walls, floors, ceilings, or on some stand, are used to highlight specific spots on the wall, ceiling, or floor. If you want your breathtakingly beautiful square wall dcor to shine through, you should be thinking of spots.
About the Author: Jeanelle Deppner is the senior staff writer for WallDecorandHomeAccents.com – a unique wall art store specializing in
large wall artwork