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Friday, January 31, 2014

How To Use Outdoor Lighting To Boost Curb Appeal And Increase Safety and Security

Outdoor Lighting How To Guide

Learn how to use outdoor lighting to enhance the beauty and curb appeal of your property while increasing safety and security. Using outdoor lighting allows you to take advantage of your outdoor spaces after dark and adds value. These illuminating tips from the American Lighting Association will get you stared on the path to having great  outdoor lighting for your home while adding curb appeal and increasing safety and security. 

It is important to note that many cities have implemented special building codes related to the type of lighting you are allowed to use outdoors. Check with your local building inspection office regarding this issue before installing outdoor lighting.

Front Entrance:

A well-lit front entrance enables you to greet guests and identify visitors. Wall lanterns on each side of the door will give your home a warm, welcoming look, while assuring the safety of those who enter.

Under a porch or other overhang, you can use recessed, chain-hung or close-to-ceiling fixtures. A separate rear or side entrance can be lighted with a single wall lantern installed on the keyhole side of the door.


Outside the garage, mount a lantern on each side or install a single fixture above to provide lighting for safety and security.

Consider installing a motion sensor on these fixtures or a photocell that turns the lights on at dusk and off at dawn to save energy. For added security, illuminate any side of the house that would otherwise be in shadow. Spotlights installed on your eaves will accomplish this, or, for a more dramatic look, consider ground lights pointed up to graze your walls.

To conserve energy, install a sensor that will switch on the light only at night or upon motion. If using uplighting, aim the fixtures so that the light is captured by your eaves to lessen light pollution.

Steps, Paths, and Driveways:

Steps, paths, and driveways should be illuminated to make sure family members and guests are able to move about easily and safely after dark. You can install path lights or post lanterns or attach lights to the side of the house.

Low-level path lights, which spread circular patterns of light, will brighten your walkway while highlighting nearby flower beds, shrubs and ground cover. Low-level path lights can also be used to define the boundaries of long driveways.

Bollards, which stand 30 to 36 inches off the ground, also work well. Use shielded fixtures to avoid glare.

Decks, Porches, and Patios:

Decks, porches, and patios can be converted into romantic evening retreats by concealing low-voltage mini-lights under steps, railing or benches. Another idea is to install a spotlight in the branches of a nearby tree.

Pools and Fountains:

Pools and fountains illuminated with underwater lighting provide beauty and safety for evening entertaining or swimming.

Low-voltage and LED lighting are popular sources for ambient pool lighting, or install fiber-optic lighting to create a starry background in your pool's floor and around its edges. Floating and solar-powered lights are also available.

Be sure to check with your local building authorities for safety regulations before installing new lighting systems in existing pools.

Grills and Dining Areas:

Grills and serving areas benefit from bright task lighting. To accomplish this, install a recessed spot-light on an adjacent roof overhang, mount lights on a railing behind the grill or use a portable fixture approved for outdoor environments.

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Monday, January 13, 2014

'Epic' Home Lighting Video Shows Nearly Every Kind Of Lighting Fixture Imaginable

This unbelievable video shows the Austin, TX home of the former lighting director of Paramount Studios, Milton Verret, known as "Acqua Villa". Crammed full of all types of lighting, from floor-to-ceiling windows outfitted with shades that are programmed to open and close depending on the position of the sun throughout the day, to a remote-controlled LED fixture that can be color coordinated with the interior decor, this home is a lighting enthusiast dream come true.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Belkin Puts The Light Switch On Your Phone

Belkin's WeMo Smart LED Light Bulbs
Belkin's WeMo Smart LED Light Bulbs

With automated home lighting systems becoming more and more common it seems that there are more choices than ever for smart home lighting options. Belkin recently join the fray with their WeMo Smart LED Light Bulbs.These new bulbs are designed to replace standard 60 Watt bulbs and retail for about $40 by themselves or about $130 with the WeMo Link controller. You can read more about the Belkin WeMo Smart LED Light Bulbs on Gizmodo in this article by Andrew Liszewski.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Connected Home: Marking Home Lighting Smarter

Many people have heard of or seen the new smart home lighting bulbs and products that offer a wide range of home lighting options that can be controlled directly from your iPhone, iPad, Android smart phone, Android tablet or desktop computer via Wi-Fi but are unsure about their options. Options range from automating everyday tasks like turning on and off lights at scheduled times to change the color of the light to suit your moods. While these lighting schemes may seem far-out to some, changes are coming sooner than most people think.

In this video, Jefferson Graham of USA Today previews and reviews new smart home lighting products from Belkin, Philips and TCP.