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Lighting: Debunking the LED

Lighting – debunking the LED

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Lighting – debunking the LED

Photos courtesy of Living Lighting Etobicoke-Kingsway

The world of lighting has been changing drastically in the past several years. It used to be we had a few products to select from, some better for certain applications than others, and as long as we addressed the basic principles of lighting we should be safe in our lighting design. However, the technology that had moved at a bit of snails-pace started to rapidly increase and we are finding ourselves reaching a point where the traditional incandescent bulb will soon be a thing of the past with, amongst others, the LED bulb taking centre stage.

The LED bulb, or light emitting diode, has graced us with its presence for several years now.

This is a bulb that functions differently than the conventional incandescent. In the LED bulb, electrical currents pass through tiny microchips, illuminating the tiny light sources referred to as “LEDs” … the result is visible light. To prevent performance issues, the heat LEDs produce is absorbed into a heat sink.

LED bulbs are definitely different in many ways when compared with incandescent. The LED bulb does not actually “burn out”. In the case of LED lighting, they will experience a lumen depreciation in lieu of the burn out effect; meaning the brightness of the LED simply dims slowly over time. The “lifetime” of the LED bulb, therefore, is recognized when the light output is decreased by about 30 percent. However, that said, many LED bulbs have a life expectancy of up to 50,000 hours; longer than the typical incandescent. Another major difference between these bulbs would definitely be their energy output. With incandescent bulbs, light productions involves generating a lot heat as the filament needs to be warmed; this is wasted energy as a large portion of this electricity is not actually producing any visible light. Based on this process, as the LED bulb functions in a different fashion, it also generates very little heat, whereby a higher percentage of the electricity required goes directly to the production of light… therefore “energy efficient” as it will consume one-sixth the energy of incandescent bulbs and can last up to twenty-five times longer.

This is definitely a fantastic and important factor, in our world today. However, let’s face it LED lighting is not necessarily a favourite of many. Between the too bright, too white, too cool and the undimmable factor, the LED had a rough start on the market.

Too bright…

Many believe that the wattage of a bulb is an indication of the brightness of light, but in actuality, it is a measure of the volume of energy the bulb draws. With incandescents, we have accepted a general correlation between watts and brightness. However, with LEDs it’s not quite the same as they are designed to draw less energy and therefore simply don’t equate; as a 60w incandescent is approximately an 8-12 watt LED. The best way to determine the light output is to work in a measurement of lumens, the accurate measurement of brightness a light bulb can provide.

Too white, too cool…

After a bit of a rough start with the colour of the basic LED bulb, which was drastically different than customary warm, yellowish light the years of incandescent gave us, we are now able to select from several options of white LED lighting. Warm white and soft white will give us a yellowy hue similar to that of an incandescent. The bright white LED bulbs will produce a much “whiter” light more similar to daylight. Technically speaking, light colour or colour temperature is measured in kelvins. The lower the number the warmer the light will be. The incandescent bulb lies somewhere between 2700k and 3500k, so to achieve a similar warmth or colour of light a 3000k LED would be a wise choice, instead of a 4000k, a definitely brighter and whiter light.

Dimmability…

There have been many issues with dimming LED lights, or even the inconsistency of the dimmability of LEDs. When retrofitting lighting, you need to remember that LED bulbs have a low electrical load, often lower than typical dimmers which are still designed for tungsten loads that are rated at 250w to 400w. It’s best to simply just use dimmers that have been specifically designed for LED loads, and in the case of smart home technology attention should be paid to ensuring the compatibility of the LED dimmers with that of the specific supplier. Sadly, an equal balance of consistent dimming is often extremely difficult to achieve. It’s never a good idea to mix different manufacturers on the same dimming circuit as every LED can have its own circuitry design and the dimmer may not be able to provide a consistent signal to each light source; resulting in flickering, humming and annoyance. The short of it is… to really avoid any issues should they occur the best would be to change all the bulbs on that particular circuit preventing any chance of inconsistency. This can be rather expensive, but chances are it will eliminate any issues until such time that technological progress perfects the “ghosts” of the LED bulbs.

Becoming more familiar with the LED bulb will hopefully put to rest the loss of the incandescent that so many of us will mourn. The LED is a different entity and needs to be realized as such, so instead of fighting the change, embrace it and move forward knowing that the LED will light the way for the future.

Linda Mazur is an award-winning, nationally publicized designer and Principal of Linda Mazur Design Group.

With almost two decades of experience this in demand multi-disciplinary design firm is known for creating relaxed stylish spaces and full-scale design builds within Toronto, the GTA and throughout Canada.

@LindaMazurGroup


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BIG STYLE, SMALL SPACES: Finishing Touches

Tips to help you choose your new home finishes

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Tips to help you choose your new home finishes

Once you’ve figured out your home’s style, the rest comes pretty naturally – including picking the right finishes for your house, inside and out. Here are a few tips on helping you decide which way you’re leaning towards when choosing the right finish for you.

TAKE YOUR TIME

I say this with everything related to home decor and design, but it bears repeating: Take your time and don’t rush through any decision. It can become paralyzing when you think about everything you need to do – including picking every finish for every room – so know that you don’t have to replace every door knob and every hinge in a week. Slow it down and take your time, and move from room-to-room. That way you know you’re making an informed decision and will end up with a look you love. Trust me when I say you will appreciate the process of making the right choices.

LIGHTING

Choosing the lighting fixtures for the house is one of the many details you need to plan when decorating a new space, but to make the decisions more manageable, I’ve broken a home down room-by-room to share some suggestions.

• Entryway: The right lighting for an entryway is critical because it sets the mood and it can make your home look very inviting. A large lamp or chandelier can be lovely. If you have nice artwork displayed on your walls, accent lights can help to enhance their inherent beauty.

• Living room: Used as a place to relax as well as entertain, you will need to figure out the right balance in this space because this room is used quite often. There certainly are plenty of lighting options to choose from, like pendant lamps, chandeliers, floor lamps or sconces, so do a little gut check and remind yourself what your home’s overall style is and choose the lighting fixture that best compliments that. Also, don’t forget a dimmer switch. That truly makes all the difference.

• Dining room: I think this might be the easiest room to light primarily because you have the dining table as the main focal point in the room, so that means one thing: chandelier. Although pendant lights have also been gaining momentum, so again it goes back to your own personal style. Consider adding a task lamp or accent lights, too, if you wish to spotlight a certain feature in the room.

• Kitchen: Because there isn’t a single focal point in the room, it requires a more complex lighting system because of all the lighting the space requires. You’ll need overhead lights for your basic kitchen tasks, but you will also need extra lighting for areas like over a kitchen island or over the sink. I think spotlights and pendant lights both work here.

• Bedroom: Warm, warm, warm is the name of the lighting game here – you want your bedroom respite to feel restful and relaxing. Typically task lighting is used on bedside tables, but you can have beautiful sconces as well. Accent lights could be an option, depending on what you have on your walls, and I’d also use a dimmer switch here. It’s all about ambiance!

Lisa Rogers is the exclusive interior designer for Dunpar Homes.

Lisa has shared her style and design expertise on popular television programs, such as Canadian Living TV, House & Home TV and The Shopping Channel.

Lisa is one of the most familiar faces on CityTV’s Cityline as a regular guest expert for fashion and image, health and wellness and interior design.


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BIG STYLE, SMALL SPACES: Cummuter's Paradise

BIG STYLE, SMALL SPACES: Commuter’s Paradise

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BIG STYLE, SMALL SPACES: Commuter’s Paradise

Working from home requires a proper working space

Working from home has lots of advantages – the office commute is about 30 seconds, you can stick a load of laundry in between conference calls and you can wear PJs for most of the day. The downside is you’re too close to it to get away, you don’t want to be doing laundry all day, and PJs are really a fashion crime.

Whether you work for yourself or for a company that allows for some work from home, you still need a proper office. To start with, plan by making a list of everything you need in order to work well — natural light, tons of storage space and miles of countertop.

Where you work is important; preferably a dedicated office space in the guest bedroom, a main floor den, or the basement. This also depends on the kind of work you do. If clients are dropping in they will need a place to sit. Laptops and WiFi make it easy to move your office around, even to the back deck.

Once you’ve picked a spot, try an online space planner to see where the furniture should go, making sure electrical outlets and phone jacks – if you still use a landline – are close to the workspace. Include space for a printer, phone and resource materials. Rarely used items can be stored in the basement or a closet.

CHAIR: You’ll be sitting in this for six to eight hours a day, so get one that adjusts to your specific ergonomics. As pretty as leather is, refrain from buying it because you need something breathable. Chairs range in price from $150 to $2,000, but you can get a decent one for about $300.

DESK: Standard desks are 29 inches high, but 27 inches is actually ergonomically better for where your arms and hands are while using a laptop. If the desk isn’t adjustable, raise your chair a little. You also need enough workspace to spread out papers. If one desk won’t do it, add a second. A writing desk is preferable to those clunky mid-century office desks – much lighter and easier to move around. Place your desk so you have a view of the room and of the outdoors. Remember to place it so that light falls over your shoulder.

STORAGE: Drawers in the desk – or in stackable containers on top – are good for having stationery, paper clips, pens, pencils and staplers close at hand. Wall mounted storage minimizes physical and visual clutter. Wherever you keep your files – on your computer, an external hard drive, or in file folders – make a habit of culling regularly. If you haven’t used something in a year, toss it. (Except taxes, those you need to keep for seven years.)

LIGHTING: Natural light is best, especially since windows also provide good ventilation. But if that’s not possible, bump up the overhead and task lighting, like a reading lamp. If there’s no room on the desk, have it wall mounted.

Lisa Rogers is the exclusive interior designer for Dunpar Homes.

Lisa has shared her style and design expertise on popular television programs, such as Canadian Living TV, House & Home TV and The Shopping Channel.

Lisa is one of the most familiar faces on CityTV’s Cityline as a regular guest expert for fashion and image, health and wellness and interior design.


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Design Expert: Mood Makers

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Design Expert: Mood Makers

How colour and decor styles can change the feeling in a space

A home’s decor affects your mood. Why do you sit up so straight in some rooms and feel like you can put your feet up in others? Some of that has to do with furniture but mainly, colour and lighting create the mood in your home. Dimmers allow you to control and alter the mood in a space.

STRIKE A BALANCE

People often refer to deep colours being “dark,” however, dark really refers to the amount of light in a room vs. the colour on the walls. When the wall colour is deep and rich, it absorbs more light than colours like white or light pastels. The more light absorbed, the more we feel a sense of sonority and sombreness in the room. We refer to moods as “beaming with happiness,” or feeling “bright, up and happy,” all of which use “light” to describe mood. Conversely, we talk of “dark times” feeling “gloomy” or travelling with a “dark cloud.” The combination of paint colour, the quantity of light and the colour of the light can create feelings from danger to productivity, medical sterility to romance, intimacy and safety.

NATURE RULES

Have you ever wondered why most homes have white ceilings, warmer coloured walls and darker hardwood floors? This combination is the one that makes people feel most comfortable. It’s the same combination as the sky, the trees and the earth, as you walk through a forest. Once you know that rule, you can start to play with it by having painted ceilings, light-wood floors, etc. These combinations change the mood of the room because it is different than normal. Very deep colours on the walls also create a feeling of intimacy and sonority because the walls feel closer to you. The deep colours absorb most of the light. Without getting into the physics, the room feels more like “night” and we lose our ability to fully determine the dimensions of the room.

LIGHT CONTROL

In order to play with mood, we adjust the amount of light and the light’s colour temperature. We are all now familiar with the labels on light bulbs that say “warm white, soft white, daylight” etc. These words refer to the colour temperature measured in “degrees Kelvin” All you really need to know is that the lower the number, the “warmer” the colour. 2700-3000 is normal residential light while 5000K is more suited to jewelry stores and museums. The warmer the light the more like a “candle” it is. If the lighting is low, the more intimate the room feels. A kitchen, for example, needs to go from “meal preparation work space” to “romantic dinner date.” This is why most designers insist on dimmers everywhere. The dimmers allow you to alter the mood, by altering the light.

Everyone has a slightly different response to colour and light. It’s important you organize the lighting plan for your home to make sure there is light on every square foot of the floor, and then you can play with the mood to suit the people in the room.

DRAW THE EYE TO ART

The light and wall colour also allow us to feature works of art that adorn the walls. A white wall with white painting is very subtle, while a black painting on a white wall is very dramatic. The lighting plan allows you to feature the art in the room by adding specific “art lights.” Essentially, the lighting plan tells people entering the room where to look first by providing that element with more light. The featured art or sculpture also affects the mood of the room. Think about your mood when you look at art that is bright coloured and “cartoon-like” vs. a battlefield as night falls. Art is an expression of the artist to evoke a feeling or mood.

You can play with colour, art accessories and light level throughout the year and stay in control of the mood your home evokes. If nature is affecting your mood outside, you can control your mood once you come inside!

Extensive experience in residential, commercial and hospitality design. Principal of design firm Grafus Design Build, Glen Peloso is frequently in the media as design expert on the Marilyn Denis Show, and CHCH Morning Live, a contributor to Global Morning News, Breakfast Television Toronto, past series with HGTV and the Food Network, along with Radio and Blogs. Reporting on design trends from around the world, his work has been featured in various print publications throughout North America. Twitter: glenpeloso Instagram: glenpelosodesigner

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A “Bright” Idea for Your Backyard

A “Bright” Idea for Your Backyard

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A “Bright” Idea for Your Backyard

When it comes to enjoying your outdoor living space after the sun goes down, lighting is key.

One of the hottest trends – literally – for 2018 is the incorporation of warming features into outdoor spaces. From fire pits to decorative wall sconces, products that lend physical and ambient warmth are one of the most popular additions to any outdoor living area.

By incorporating a few different outdoor lighting accessories, you can create a perfectly curated – and adjustable – atmosphere for any setting or gathering. Simply choose which outdoor elements to highlight, and it’s easy to completely change the look of your outdoor living space without moving a single piece of furniture. Here are five easy and affordable outdoor lighting options to match the style of any backyard retreat.

Decorative Candles

Candles provide effortless décor to create a distinctive mood. Pair different shapes and sizes to create a soft glow. Swap out new colors and styles for a seasonal or holiday theme, or just to switch it up. Flower-shaped candles floating in a bowl can serve as an elegant centerpiece for an outdoor party.

Deck Lighting

Deck lighting takes sophistication and subtlety to a whole new level, illuminating your space at night and seamlessly blending into your deck during the day. For an easy DIY option, Trex Deck Lighting can be installed in a new or existing deck. It’s also energy efficient, dimmable and cool to the touch, making the fixtures safe for children and pets.

Tiki Torches

Tiki torches are a festive way to light up your outdoor space. Line them along the perimeter of your backyard or pathways to transform your space into a tropical paradise. To prevent the tiki torches from falling over, quick-set cement them into terra cotta planters or aluminum buckets. This also will make them easier to move and store.

Twinkle Lights

Not just for weddings and the holidays anymore, twinkle lights add charm and a lot of fun. All styles offer the flexibility of year round use and pair gorgeously with any outdoor décor. Twinkle lights can be hung in several creative spots, including under a patio umbrella, around a tree or strung around the perimeter of a gazebo or pergola.

Landscape Lighting

Perfect for showing off your favorite flowers, shrubs or architectural features or lighting up walkways – landscape lighting can take your outdoor space from invisible to inviting. Steer clear of the dreaded, garish corner spotlight, and instead install a mix of lighting features, such as path lights to brighten walkways, well lights to illuminate foliage and small structures or multifunction lights that cast a wide glow to add warmth to your garden or trees.


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PRODUCT SPOTLIGHT: Those Summer Nights

PRODUCT SPOTLIGHT: Those Summer Nights

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PRODUCT SPOTLIGHT: Those Summer Nights

by Silvana Longo

The only drawback of summer is shorter days after the summer solstice. Fortunately the beautiful array of lighting choices help keep the good times going way into the wee hours.

Normandy Lantern, from $281US

Restoration Hardware

RH.com

Wood Rope Lantern Brass, small $69, tall $181

WestElm.ca

Moroccan Lantern $39.99

HomeSense.ca

Canvas Black Rope Solar-Powered Lantern $39.99

CanadianTire.ca

Mid-Century Wood Lantern, small $39, large $111

WestElm.ca

Asura Metal Lantern with LED Flameless Candle, two sizes available, $79.95 & $119.95

Pier1.ca

Angled Mercury Glass Lantern, small $28US, medium $58US, large $98US

Anthropologie.com


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Lighting up our summer!

Lighting up our summer!

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Lighting up our summer!

by Linda Mazur

Proper illumination is vital for obvious reasons.

The warm weather has finally arrived and many of us will be working on outdoor living spaces for our clients. Creating a beautiful, well-curated backyard oasis, with lush gardens can be an exciting project. However, an outdoor space cannot be truly complete without proper lighting. It not only adds value to the home, it can bring great enjoyment and value to life.

Proper illumination is vital for obvious reasons such as safety and ease of mobility. Whether it’s an entryway, pathway lighting, recessed deck lighting, a security light or beautiful sconces outside doorways, we require basic lighting to assist us in the dark. However, good outdoor lighting also carries an aesthetic value.

When planned properly, exterior entryway lights can highlight architecture features, whether at the front or rear of the home. As we know, there are multitudes of styles and lighting options available from modern to traditional to period pieces — wall sconces to pendant lighting. Decide what may be the most complementary to enhance the exterior of your home. Recessed soffit lights may be another option to consider and are a great way to “wall-wash” the house, casting a warm glow and highlighting the architectural details.

Photo Courtesy DOT Furniture
Photo Courtesy DOT Furniture

Deck lighting and pathway lighting not only improves the aesthetics of your outdoor space, it obviously also enables us to move freely and safely in the dark. When creating pathway lighting remember to keep your lights well balanced and staggered to avoid the “landing strip” effect that we so often see. When lighting a staircase, I’m often asked by clients how many lights are enough? For a relatively narrow staircase, a single step light centred in each riser may be sufficient, for wider steps you may feel that you require a series of lights along each riser, or perhaps they can be positioned in the stringers.

Photo Courtesy Pier1.ca
Photo Courtesy Pier1.ca

Accent lighting is also important when planning an outdoor project. Consider adding lighting to garden beds, up lighting trees, architectural features like pergolas, arbours or gazebos, or perhaps a wall or water feature. And, let’s not forget that fire is a great feature for the outdoors. Whether it’s an actual formal fireplace or simply one of the various other options such as columns, bowls, pits, lanterns or tables, the addition of fire to your space is a wonderful feature to cozy up and enjoy the summer evening outdoors.

Photo Courtesy HomeSense.ca
Photo Courtesy HomeSense.ca

When planning and designing your outdoor living spaces, keep in mind that the drive to Smart Home automation is not lost outdoors. Consider Control4 for your lighting, sound, water features, security and more, to enhance your space with ease, as well as maintain usage control.

Our time outdoors in the summer is so short-lived; however, with the addition of proper lighting you can extend and enhance your stay to really soak in the relaxation and pleasures that the summer months have to offer.

Linda Mazur is a nationally publicized designer and Principal of Linda Mazur Design Group.

LindaMazurDesign.com

@LindaMazurGroup


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Big Style, Small Spaces: Home Work

Big Style, Small Spaces: Home Work

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Big Style, Small Spaces: Home Work

Make sure your home office is efficient but also reflects your personality

Working from home has lots of advantages – the office commute is about 30 seconds, you can stick a load of laundry in between conference calls, and you can wear PJs for most of the day. The downside is you’re too close to it to get away, you don’t want to be doing laundry all day, and PJs are really a fashion crime. Whether you work for yourself, or for a company that allows for some work from home, you still need a proper office. To start with, plan by making a list of everything you need in order to work well — natural light, tons of storage space and miles of countertop.

Where you work is important — preferably a dedicated office space in the guest bedroom, a main floor den, or the basement. This also depends on the kind of work you do; clients dropping in need a place to sit. Laptops and WiFi make it easy to move your office around, even to the back deck. Once you’ve picked a spot, try a space planner to see where the furniture should go, making sure electrical outlets and phone jacks – if you still use a landline – are close to the workspace. Include space for a printer, phone and resource materials. Rarely used items can be stored in the basement or a closet.

CHAIR

You’ll be sitting in this for six to eight hours a day, so get one that adjusts to your specific ergonomics. As pretty as leather is, refrain from buying it because you need something breathable. Chairs range in price from $150 to $2,000, but you can get a decent one for about $300.

DESK

Standard desks are 29 inches high, but 27 inches high is actually ergonomically better for where your arms and hands are while using a laptop. If the desk isn’t adjustable, raise your chair a little. You also need enough workspace to spread out papers; if one desk won’t do, add a second.

A writing desk is preferable to those clunky mid-century office desks – much lighter and easier to move around. Place your desk so you have a view of the room and away from the outdoors. Remember to place it so that light falls over your shoulder.

STORAGE

Drawers in the desk – or in stackable containers on top – are good for having stationery, paper clips, pens, pencils and staplers close at hand. Wallmounted storage minimizes physical and visual clutter.

Wherever you keep your files – on the computer, or an external hard drive, or in file folders – make a habit of culling regularly. If you haven’t used something in a year, toss it. (Except taxes. Those you need to keep for seven years.)

LIGHTING

Natural light is best, especially since windows also provide good ventilation. But if that’s not possible, bump up the overhead and task lighting and add a reading lamp. If there’s no room on the desk, have it wall mounted.

DECORATE

If your home office is visible from the rest of the main floor, try to tie it in decoratively so that it blends in style, colour and theme.

Don’t be afraid of colour, or at least adding colourful accessories. I love white space, but I still like to add colour through accessories – a Navajo blanket, or beautiful pillows on a chair. Incorporate colour as well into stationery, magazine racks, storage containers and so on. Colour affects the way you feel; orange is considered a colour that stimulates creativity, green is restful, blue is calming and yellow makes you happy.

This isn’t the corporate office, it’s your home, so get creative in making it yours, and making a place you look forward to working in. Incorporate art, lamps and accessories that convey your personality. Use what you have – turn a vase into a pen holder, wicker baskets for scrap paper, the dining sideboard for printer, phone and other supplies. Splurge on a chaise – go modern with Eames or Mies, or traditional like a fainting couch — for naps and reading breaks.

SCHEDULE

When you work alone, getting down to work can sometimes be hard; it’s far easier to check out the fridge, stare into space, or run the vacuum through the main floor. Most successful people say that having a consistent routine, one that triggers the brain to get into think mode, is the only way to get things accomplished.

Lisa Rogers is the exclusive interior designer for Dunpar Homes (DunparHomes.com).

Lisa has shared her style and design expertise on popular television programs, such as Canadian Living TV, House & Home TV and The Shopping Channel.

Lisa is one of the most familiar faces on CityTV’s Cityline as a regular guest expert for fashion and image, health and wellness and interior design.


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Decor-Expert: Kimberley’s Guide to Balanced Decorating

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Decor-Expert: Kimberley’s Guide to Balanced Decorating

The essential building blocks to harmonious interiors

Balance is Everything

After years of practical experience as an interior design professional, designing, renovating and decorating hundreds of homes, I can tell you this: Balance is everything. In fact, if there’s any design lesson whose mastery is essential, it’s this one. The ability to skillfully harmonize an interior’s essential elements—scale, proportion, light, pattern, and colour—takes practice, but the basics can be learned and improved upon with every project.

Here are a few elements to consider as you work through your next decor project.

The essential building blocks to harmonious interiors

SCALE

In residential design, scale usually concerns the relationship between an item or a room, and the human body. In other words, how well do you fit the space?

Does the room feel sufficiently cosy for reading or watching television in? Is the chair large enough to comfortably support someone curled up with a book? Is there enough space between the chairs and the armoire for people to pass through comfortably? Does the island and kitchen layout support multiple home chefs or only one?

LIGHTING

Because lighting has both a physiological and emotional effect on humans, the quality of light is an essential consideration. Balance, once again, is the key to success. Excessive contrast causes eyestrain while absolute uniformity is monotonous and dull. The requirements for a television room are different from those of a kitchen or home office. A standing floor lamp with an opaque shade will push light down onto a book, making it ideal for reading. The same light with a sheer shade will disperse light into a wide circle, adding to ambient light. As you consider lighting, it’s critical to aim for a layered scheme that includes ambient or general lighting, task lighting and decorative lighting (those feature lights you want on when you’re having a party).

PATTERN

When placing pattern in a space, consider its visual weight and determine where you want balance, and where you might want a focal point. For instance, in an all-white room, black-and-white patterned pillows will throw off the balance but create a focal point. If the identical room also has a baby grand, black piano, the same patterned pillows create visual balance instead. As a general rule, patterned textiles have more visual weight than solid textiles. For instance, a solid pale blue carpet will have less visual impact than a patterned carpet in a similar colour. A balance of pattern creates a quieter space, while an imbalance of pattern creates more drama. To determine which works for you—quiet or drama—consider the overall mood and atmosphere you want to create.

When you want visual drama aim for high contrast. For example, a stunning mid-century modern chair in black leather will disappear against a dark green wall. To really show it off, place it against a white or pale oyster coloured wall. Conversely, if the living room sofa has seen better days, choose a wall colour in a similar shade and the sofa’s impact will be lessened.

Remember, balance applies to space planning as well as colour planning. Every item of furniture has a visual weight. You can offset large-scale items such as armoires, pianos, and sofas with a grouping of smaller items.

Taking a photo of your efforts (rather than just looking at the room) will allow you to more easily critique your ongoing efforts and perfect your skills. Change things around and compare the images. You’ll find your skill for creating a balanced room setting will improve with practice.

PHOTOGRAPHY: DONNA GRIFFITH

Kimberley Seldon

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The Basics of Lighting Design

The Basics of Lighting Design

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The Basics of Lighting Design

by Samantha Sannella

Ensuring that your space looks and functions requires the perfect lighting. Light is the key ingredient in the space and influences our safety, health and mood. Layering three types of lighting is critical for good lighting design. Providing flexibility in how lights are activated is important as well. Whether old-fashioned switches or a digital smart system, the guiding rule about how lighting is used should be common sense.

Ambient Lighting

This is the general lighting that must be provided to ensure that a space is well lit. It provides illumination for general tasks and it is always better to provide more, rather than less, ambient lighting. It’s easy these lights on dimmers or to zone it on switches if you believe that you might over-light a space. The psychological aspect of lighting is an important element throughout the design. Ensuring that spaces are devoid of shadows and dark corners helps us to circumvent our mental triggers of looming danger, according to Kristina Zarembo, a lighting consultant at Nemetz.

Task Lighting

Task lighting is critical in workspaces such as offices, kitchens and bathrooms. Under-counter lighting, bathroom vanity lights and desk lighting should be carefully calculated. Foot-candles measure the amount of light on a surface while lumens measure the amount of light emitted from a source. It is important to know the meaning of both of these terms since there can be significant loss of light as it travels to a surface due to distance, direction and other factors, such as the colour of the surface.

Accent Lighting

Accent lighting brings added visual interest to a room by creating different focal points and is another important element of lighting design. Accent lighting highlights specific objects like art, sculptures and bookcases. It can also be used to highlight a textured wall, or other architectural features. Classic track lighting and picture lights are often used to provide accent lighting.

Calculating Lighting Requirements

Lighting calculations can get technical. Fortunately, many suppliers offer these services at no additional cost. However, it is still essential that designers understand the terminology and can ensure that the space is lit appropriately.

Lumen: A lumen (lm) is a measure of the total amount of visible light emitted by a source in any particular direction.

Lux: Lux (lx) is the metric measure of illuminance. This is a measure of how much light there is over a given surface area. One lux is equal to one lumen per square metre.

Foot-candle: A foot-candle (fc) is the imperial measure of illuminance for those who prefer to work in imperial feet. One foot-candle is equal to one lumen per square foot.

There are charts recommended by the Illumination Engineering Society (IES) that recommend the number of foot-candles or lux required for a space.

Lighting fixtures and their lamps indicate how many lumens they emit. After calculating how much area you are lighting, and how many lumens are needed, then you must search for fixtures and lamps that meet your requirements. It is recommended that you over-light and use dimmers. As people age, they need more light.

Photography: Loft BBY SDJ Design
Photography: Loft BBY SDJ Design

Trends

Indirect hidden light is a trend on the market today made possible by advances in lighting such as LEDs, OLEDs and fiber optic lighting. It is possible to hide the light sources and illuminate walls and ceilings without ever seeing a single fixture. Lights have become more powerful and laser technology has influenced lighting development.

Also important to note are the advances in lighting control systems. In short, everything can be controlled through WI-FI and a smart phone or iPad, even when you are not home. While some of these applications are great, when the Wi-Fi is down frustration can increase. While many designers dream of never seeing a light switch mounted on a beautiful wall again, reliability over form is highly recommended and at this time redundancy is needed.

SAMANTHA SANNELLA, BFA ID, M ARCH, is a designer, educator and principal at Urban Retreat Homes.

She is an expert in the field of design and construction and is a columnist for RENO & DECOR and editor of the Ontario Design Trade Sourcebook.

urbanretreathomes.com



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