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Back Issues
   LIGHTING Personality Highlights
2009 - Fall Edition
Interior Design
Article:  Joe Burgess
            Charlotte Tallman
Photos: Bill Faulkner
            Russell Bamert
            Joe Burgess
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How exciting to walk into lighting showrooms with every shape and size of floor lamps, reading lamps, chandeliers, sconces, vanity lighting, decorative lighting, old world or modern high tech designs.

You can set a tone and highlight your personality and you can change the tone for a different mood. Your ultimate goal is to achieve fashionable lighting arrangements and effective illumination with manageable energy consumption – and your options are truly endless. There are books and Internet sites, but don't pass up the opportunity to ramble through a showroom – it is so much fun!

Designers Mart
6960 Gateway East
El Paso, TX 79935

Designers Mart
106 Wyatt Drive
Las Cruces, NM 88005

El Paso Winnelson
1052 Humble
El Paso, TX 79915

Ferguson Bath, Kitchen
& Lighting Gallery

820 Sunland Park Dr
El Paso, TX 79912

Morrison Supply

311 Southgate Court
Las Cruces, NM 88005

Westside Lighting Gallery
5375 South Desert Blvd
El Paso, TX 79932

There are often structural issues and there are always electrical issues, so lighting must be addressed early in the design and construction processes. There are green considerations and there are cost considerations, but life is all about light. Whether subtle or intense, beautify your home with light. Make that special artwork pop while creating a soft and intriguing mood in the family room. Indulge in bygone eras or leap into the future, you'll be amazed at what can be accomplished with lighting.

Perhaps the greatest challenge is balancing the effects of natural light, bright sunshine or overcast skies and the daily swing from day to night, with the generated light installed in your home. Layers of light fixtures and variable intensity coupled with the use of shades and drapes contribute toward maximizing the mood and intent of the room and toward remaining in control of your power usage. Circuits can be simplified for daily use with more complex designs for special occasions. Don't skimp on wiring and control hardware, because those make a difference in longevity, dependability, safety and ultimately in power usage.

Fluorescent lighting has recently become one of the elements of "green building." It requires less energy and lasts much longer than its incandescent counterpart. It also comes in different "color temperatures," measured in Kelvin units, that vary from a warmer, slightly yellowish light, similar to incandescent light, through more neutral tones to a cooler daylight tone, which has a slightly bluish tinge. The downsides of fluorescent include warm up time, reduced bulb life from frequent turning on and off, flickering (not normally noticeable) and the fact that they will not work with most photocells, motion sensors and electronic timers. There are new shapes and uses being developed and there are now 3-way bulbs and those specifically designed for dimmers.

Designers and suppliers can guide you through a maze of options and help you discover the magic to create a home that is uniquely you.

Conversations with the Experts

What role does lighting play in planning the overall room design?

Lighting is the single most important and least understood aspect of interior design. Technology is constantly changing and in turn offering new approaches and sometimes-complex options for our profession to deal with. Before I can make lighting suggestions to a client, I must first experience their home at several times of the day. Natural light is ever changing and blending with our controlled artificial lighting to hopefully achieve user-friendly and aesthetically pleasing results. It is a balance that requires exploring available options. It's not rocket science, but most assuredly deserves the extra attention. A well lighted home adds greatly to the overall appeal, comfort and livability. –Connie Hines

We need 75% more lighting after the age of 40 than we did in our 20s. I still like recessed lighting but my favorite light is from a lamp because the light is so much softer. All chandeliers need dimmers. The new skylights are wonderful and I use them quite often. All are Low E and give great light without heat. –Anne Steele

Lighting is probably one of the most overlooked aspects of a design project. Getting it right can make or break everything else you put into it. Lighting plays a support role by properly illuminating all the elements with the correct amount and intensity of light. A successful lighting plan will enhance the color, shape and placement of furniture, artwork and accessories in the space. –Lynda Power

How important is it to utilize natural lighting in a room along with lighting fixtures, etc.?

Natural light can be an important asset to design. When working with a client at "blueprint" stage, we always take into consideration how natural light can be used. The size and location of windows in relation to how the home faces the sun should never be taken for granted. Another often-overlooked opportunity to take advantage of natural light is the inclusion of skylights to illuminate rooms in the interior of the home.An advantage of natural light is that it reveals more true colors. Fixtures with the proper bulbs can also work in harmony with natural light for the desired effect. –Lynda Power

A Southern exposure is the best for all day natural light for your living areas such as kitchen and great room. –Sherry Franzoy

It is a balancing act so a wall of windows will not overtake a space during the daytime and create a black hole at night. Light layers and flexibility are key. –Fran Timbrook

What are the different types of light to consider?

Begin with recessed can ceiling lights in every room and space in areas where more general lighting is needed. Add chandelier hanging lights, which shine directly down, over entryways and over dining tables. Pendant lights, which can create interest, should be hung at different heights over bar counter tops; also off-centered over sinks master baths. These task lights produce the appropriate light in areas where needed. –Bernadette Valdes

The soft light that fills a room is "ambient" lighting. The source can be the lights mounted in a coffered ceiling, torchiere lamps or wall sconces within the room. When brighter light is required in a specific area for such activities as reading, sewing or cooking, "task" lights are the solution. Typically this is accomplished through the strategic placement of recessed lights or lamps with the ability to direct them on the task."Accent" lights are fixtures dedicated to the purpose of illuminating a feature or element of the room. Lights within a China cabinet or a fixture directed at a painting or piece of art are but a few examples. The final type of light is "decorative." There are situations where the light fixture itself is the focal point. Chandeliers hanging in a foyer or over a dining room table are not only functional but make an important contribution to the overall design of the space. –Lynda Power ///
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