Style Illuminated

Interior design tips and lighting ideas for today's home! Providing professional interior design advice, home decor ideas and inspiration.

  • Light Show LED Ceiling Fixture

    LED Light Show Ceiling LightIt may look like part of the Matrix, but it's actually a high-tech ceiling light design!

    The fixture combines rows of LED lights (including the color LEDs pictured here) along with four halogen bulbs. The LEDs can be run in a variety of sequences, and can be combined with the halogens as desired.

    We've posted a video about it on the light's product page; just click the link to visit the page and view the video. Light Show LED and Halogen Ceiling Fixture. Or browse all our LED lighting. Look to see more of use of LEDs in ceiling lights and fixtures in the future.

    Update: We are temporarily sold out! This item just flew off the shelves, so the link to the product page does not work for the moment. We apologize, and should have the fixture back in stock in about 4 weeks.

    Update on the Update: We're back in stock! Click the links above and take a look.

  • Questions With: International Dark Sky Association, Part 1


    Dark Sky lighting
    refers to outdoor fixtures and light plans that mitigate nighttime light pollution. We spoke with James Hanna, policy research Intern at the International Dark Sky Association, about the group's work promoting "Dark Sky" lighting and what that means for home owners. 


    Q: When was the International Dark Sky Association formed? 

    The International Dark Sky Association (IDA) was formed, and incorporated as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, in 1988 by Dr. David L. Crawford and his colleague Dr. Tim Hunter. The IDA has since grown to become a multinational collaboration of doctors, researchers, scientists, advocates, members, and volunteers who have made it the instrumental association in the fight against light pollution and its detrimental effects on our world.

    Q: Tell us a little bit about the association's work and goals.

    The IDA's mission statement is "To preserve and protect the nighttime environment and our heritage of dark skies through environmentally responsible outdoor lighting." This may seem like a rather simple statement but it encompasses a vast range of programs. The association promotes and organizes research, education, legislation, and products that seek to preserve and improve human, environmental, and scientific well being, all of which is negatively impacted by an excess of artificial light at night. Thus, the goal of the IDA is not to turn off the lights of the world, but to put them to better, more meaningful and less impactful use.

    Q: What are some of the major impacts, for both nature and mankind, of light pollution?

    Poor lighting at night can threaten the foraging, mating, and migratory behaviors of a multitude of species in all ecosystems by offsetting the delicate balance of night and day that all living things depend upon for survival and a healthy existence. For plants and animals of all sorts this may mean excess predation or a lack there of, habitat destruction, the inability to successfully reproduce, disruptions in migratory or growth patterns, and in some cases eventual extinction if some sort of intervention is not made.


    Humans face a similar situation due to how our circadian rhythm (our biological clock that is evolutionarily set to a 24 hour cycle of light and dark) directly influences our mental and physical health. Disruptions in this rhythm, linked to excess light at a time when our bodies most need darkness for rest and recovery lead to chronic disorders and afflictions. Furthermore, there is the detrimental impact light at night has on our astronomical and scientific observations as well as issues of safety related to excess glare on roads. All this, in addition to the 2.2 billion dollars and 14.7 million metric tons of carbon dioxide expelled into the atmosphere annually due to the electricity wasted by excessive outdoor lighting. (Editor's note 7-14-09: the above figures have been updated. See comment for more info.)

    Q: Describe how your work tries to influence commercial and local government policy.

    The IDA aims to influence both commercial and local government policy through its programs of light pollution research, education, and dark sky friendly product promotion. The association keeps up to date with all research on the field of light pollution and its effects, as well as sponsoring pioneering new studies. It then presents these findings to commercial institutions as well as city, state, and national governments in the form of requests for change, proposed legislation, and ordinance applications. All proposals and requests are closely monitored and continually negotiated to achieve the best possible outcome for all parties involved. The IDA makes it a point to not only discuss any and all problems, but to also offer solutions by providing information about cost, energy, and environmental savings benefits. Information on where and how to obtain lighting products that meet the needs of both the institution and the environment is also made available. In addition there are examples of how to execute these proposed improvements.


    Q: "Dark Sky ordinances" have been passed in municipalities; describe for us how those work and where they?ve been successful.

    "Dark Sky ordinances" and acts of legislation can and have taken many different forms, and are usually based upon the primary reason a particular locale has decided to adopt them. In the case of the state of California, the dark sky ordinances put in place there revolve primarily around the need to increase nighttime visibility on roadways by reducing glare from streetlights and advertising. This was achieved through the implementation of fully shielded and strategically located roadway and signage lighting. In Florida though, the initial concern was the preservation of mating habits of endangered sea turtles. Thus that states ordinances revolve around reduction of nighttime lighting from all sources on and near beaches where hatchlings emerge. There are many more examples from cities, states, and countries available on our website, the International Dark-Sky Association. Though the reasons for enacting dark sky regulations vary from place to place, in general the results are positive. Furthermore, the enacting of any dark sky regulation has a synergistic effect, paving the way for more and better lighting policies, and acting as an impetus for continued improvement of the quality of our nighttime environment.

    Tomorrow: In part 2, we learn about Dark Sky outdoor light design for homeowners.

  • More Secrets from the Specification Services, Part 2

    LAMPS PLUS Specification ServicesHere's part 2 of our talk with Tim Haley from our Lighting Design and Specification Services team.   

    Q: Give us an example from a recent job of how you’ve helped on a development project.
    Typically I’m presented with a project where very little quality time has been expended reviewing the specs and product choices.

    A recent example was a student housing facility near a major campus with 250 multi family units. The light fixtures were specified by the engineer and architect. There was no financial review associated with this specification, so that when the product went out to bid, it came back far in excess of the planned budget.

    I was able, with the owner’s interest, to redesign the lighting and value engineer new product specs that cut the proposed cost nearly by half. This while still concentrating on the key areas of aesthetics, safety and energy consumption.


    Q: What about product procurement?
    Right, we can help there as well. A lot of architects and firms are at the mercy at their local commercial rep agencies. These agencies have a vested interest in specifying product from companies they represent. The problem is that these products may not be the correct application for the job.

    This is where the value engineering comes into play – plus our ability to design or source custom product for a job.


    Q: In your opinion, what’s the biggest challenge facing the building community today?
    Financing and credit is a huge hurdle for any development. Lots of projects on the books are appraised for far less now than they were a year or two ago. We can help in certain areas to save money and lower overall project costs.


    Q: What’s next for your team?
    Our mission is to help owners/developers achieve successful lighting on their projects. We represent a new resource they may not have had in their local markets. To do that, we’re really looking to expand the reach of our services to the Web.

    We recently got a response to our LAMPS PLUS Professionals e-mail from an architect in New Mexico who does tenant improvement projects. She talked about how lighting is always the last thing discussed on a project, and that often she’s stuck using specified product that’s not appropriate. We think we can help by providing an outside resource to review product.


    Q: Thanks, Tim! If readers are interested, how can they get in contact with you? 
    Just give us a call at 1-800-304-8120 or e-mail us from our LAMPS PLUS Professionals page.

  • What's in the Mirror

    Infinite Way LED Light Infinity Wall MirrorIn this case not only your reflection, but also a ring of LED lights that helps create the impresion of light that appears to stretch to infinity. Hence the product name: Infinite Way LED Light Infinity Wall Mirror. Very trippy and very fun. For product that's less far out, browse our full wall mirrors collection.

  • Walt Disney Wall Art

    Walt Disney Wall Art at LAMPS PLUSWalt Disney Alice in Wonderland Wall ArtWe've recently added a number of fine art prints (in our wall art category) from the Walt Disney Signature Collection.

    These prints are based on elements of classic Walt Disney movie art, animation cels and sketches, and come beautifully framed. Each has a plaque of authenticity and a print code on the back.

    They're not your typical Disney product, but they are very grown up and very beautiful. Take a look for yourself: Disney wall art.

     

     

  • Questions With: International Dark Sky Association, Part 2

    Here's Part 2 of our conversation with policy research Intern James Hanna from the International Dark Sky Association. In this section we focus on Dark Sky lighting for homeowners.

    Kirkham 11Q: What qualifies as a Dark Sky residential outdoor fixture?

    Essentially a dark sky friendly outdoor residential fixture is one that is also "good neighbor" friendly.  Good neighbor friendly fixtures aim to reduce intrusive light on a neighbor?s property by limiting light pollution sources such as glare, light trespass, and skyglow. 

    Many people feel that just because a fixture is under an eave or porch, the fixture is automatically dark sky friendly because it doesn?t shine any light up.  Well, these fixtures can, and often are, the worst offenders when it comes to good neighbor lighting practices since they almost certainly cause glare and trespass. 

    Residential lighting should be shielded, so that the light source cannot be seen, low luminance levels (low light output), and use an energy efficient bulb.  Also, the light should only be used to illuminate the necessary area.  That?s not to say that you shouldn?t have landscape lighting or architectural lighting, but consider placing these light sources on timers or motion sensor, so that late at night when no one needs the light to see, the lights are turned off. 

    In addition, IDA recommends including a porch light/door light that properly allows the resident to view and identify a visitor through a peephole.  If this cannot be accomplished with a fully shielded fixture, we recommend a low level semi-translucent luminaire face with a lamp output of under 1000 lumens (approximately 60 Watts Incandescent and 13-15 Watts Compact Fluorescent). IDA has a Good Neighbor Lighting concept practical guide (opens in PDF form) with more information.


    Dark Sky Lighting at LAMPS PLUSQ: For the typical home owner, what are some of the common mistakes made when lighting their property?

    The most prevalent mistake made by home owners is the over lighting of their property. This can be due to a desire for a particular aesthetic appeal, or the perceived need for security. In actuality, though, a more controlled, less intense and evenly illuminated light scheme, can actually fulfill both of these desires. This is truly one where less is really more.


    First, light of a carefully directed (preferably downward) nature can better show off the architectural style and structure of a home in order to play up particularly appealing aspects, and downplay others that may be less so.

    Second, greater amounts of light does not mean greater amounts of security, it often simply provides the feeling of it. Well placed, downward aimed lighting of a minimal nature can easily illuminate pathways, and doorways, as well as landscapes in a way that does not wash out details, induce glare,or leave dark zones on the perimeters of lighted areas.

    Combined, these techniques may make it easier to spot a security threat or obstacle than in a brightly floodlit area. In addition, the use of motion detectors supplies an additional layer of security as the lights draw attention to an otherwise dark area.

    Furthermore these controlled lighting schemes are less invasive towards neighbors, who one aims to impress with their tasteful and considerate lighting as well as relies upon to keep watch of a property from the exterior.


    Q: What recommendations do you have for home owners to lessen their impact on the nighttime skies?

    The simplest way a homeowner can lessen their impact upon the nighttime skies is to turn off all unnecessary lighting at night. Next a homeowner can choose to replace high wattage, overly bright light bulbs, with those of a more efficient and application appropriate nature.

    Ideally though, a homeowner can decided to make the maximum positive impact upon the nighttime environment by replacing or retrofitting all existing outdoor fixtures with either lighting covers, or dark sky friendly fixtures, both of which control light in a way that reduces glare, light trespass, and skyglow.


    Q: Are there any considerations with "aging eye" older home owners and Dark Sky lighting?

    The considerations that must be made for the aging eyes of older homeowners are actually well addressed by dark sky friendly lighting fixtures. As the human eye ages it becomes far more sensitive to bright light and takes more time to adapt between light and dark conditions.

    So, existing floodlighting on a homes? exterior, as well as other overly bright and glaring lighting, can actually make it harder for an elderly individual to discern obstacles and other features of the outdoor environment at night.

    Thereby, the implementation of lower wattage, less intense lighting, and shielded fixtures will in fact make it far easier for these home owners to observe their property safely and accurately at night.

    Q: How can Dark Sky lighting and home security work together?

    As mentioned above, dark sky lighting can actually allow properties to be more secure than they would be with many traditional forms of lighting. The more directed, accurate, and less invasive light, that is cast by dark sky friendly fixtures illuminates only what needs to be, allowing for the quick discernment of threats through a lack of glare and heavy shadowing at the perimeter of overly lit areas.

    Further information on well designed nighttime lighting which enhances safety can be found on our website here: Dark Sky Safety Brochure (opens in PDF form).

    Thanks to James and all at the International Dark Sky Association for their input! Let us know if you have any questions or feedback.

  • The News on Incandescent Bulbs

    Incandescent Light Bulbs at LAMPS PLUSHere's an interesting New York Times article about new research on incandescent bulbs.

    "For lighting researchers involved in trying to save the incandescent bulb, the goal is to come up with one that matches the energy savings of fluorescent bulbs while keeping the qualities that many consumers seem to like in incandescents, like the color of the light and the ease of using them with dimmers."

    Incandescent Bulbs Return to the Cutting Edge

  • It's a Coat Rack...It's a...

    Flow Bent Wood Torchiere Floor LampActually, it's not a coat rack. In fact it's a very cool torchiere floor lamp design. The lamp is fashioned from slat-like pieces of bent wood with the light source concealed in the center. A dimmer lets you easily set the lighting output. Maybe it's more sculpture than lamp!

    The Flow Torchiere Floor Lamp.

  • Digital Photos See the Light

    Digital Photo Desk LampIt's pretty amazing where digital screens are popping up these days. This innovative desk lamp design is case in point. 

    It combines a digital photo viewer with a contemporary halogen desk lamp. The viewer will store around a 1,000 photos and can be used with both PCs and Macs.

    When you get tired of looking at family pics it also has a built in digital clock and calendar. A pretty neat little package!

    These make a great office accessory or back to school gift. Check out the details here: Digital Photo Desk Lamp or browse all desk lamps.

  • Dallas Market Overview Video

    Dallas Market LogoResidential Lighting editors give a quick overview of the recent Dallas International Lighting Market. Click the following link to view: Plugged In - June 2009 - Dallas Market

July, 2009