Illuminate Your House, Light It Up

by Charles Dow
(New York)

Illuminate Your House, Light It Up.General Overall or background lighting, which provides illumination after dark. Since the function is to throw light on a wide area, general lighting can be achieved in two ways, either by using one central light source, from which light spreads out, or by using a variety of individual light sources. Most homes are wired to have a central light hanging from the ceiling in the middle of each room to provide general lighting.

This has great disadvantages because a central light usually gives an unattractive and dull quality to a room and is inflexible. More effective general lighting can be achieved by using several light sources for example, down lights or spotlights fitted in the ceiling. In work areas, general light is often provided by fluorescent tubes, but they tend to produce glare and are often positioned so that you are working in your own shadow. Equally effective, and more attractive, is the use of several spotlights.

Task Concentrated lighting used to illuminate one area brightly for example, a work surface, desk or reading chair. Task lighting can also be used to highlight particular objects or features in a room such as paintings or plants.

Spotlights are particularly effective for this, whether they are fitted to the ceiling or walls, on floor stands or used as table lamps. Fluorescent tubes can also be used, and they are considerably better if they can be hidden - beneath wall units in kitchens to light work surfaces, for example, or behind shelves to light display objects. However, although less expensive, fluorescent tubes do not provide the quality of illumination that can be achieved with spotlights.

This is particularly true since the advent of spotlights that throw out intense, narrow beams of light.
Atmospheric Light used for effect, to provide shadow and subtle illumination. Lights placed low in the room and giving local illumination are used to this end - table lamps, floor lamps, wall lights. On the other hand, up lights also give subtle light that is reflected from the ceiling.

Spotlights, which are used for illumination work or reading areas, paintings or architec1tural features, can become atmospheric when dimmed. The same applies to pendant lights used with a dimmer.

Dimmers Flexibility is an essential ingredient for good lighting. Few rooms should be lit to the same intensity at all times. Dimmer controls for lighting are invaluable because they allow the intensity of light to be varied simply at the touch or turn of a switch.

They are very easy to install and, in addition, it is possible to wire them to table and floor lights as well as to ceiling and wall fittings. Some fittings, set as low-voltage desk lamps, have dimm switches attached. Dimmers have the effect of cutting the voltage of electricity passing through the bulb; the result of this is not only to giving varying intensities of light but also dramatically to lengthen the life of the light bulb an cut the amount of electricity used, especial if a bulb is switched on at the lowest possible level of brightness that is, when the dimm switch has been turned right down.

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