We Know: Home Lighting Basics

What should I consider when buying lighting for my home?

When considering your lighting needs, you need to address safety, tasks, ambiance, and energy efficiency.

How do I light my home to improve safety?

A dark home can be an unsafe home. Use these tips to increase safety:

  • Use direct lighting over stairs to increase safety.
  • Install two-way switches at the top and bottom of stairways so you will not have to use the stairs in the dark.
  • Make sure entry doors are well lit.
  • Ensure your address markers should be well lighted and visible from the street.

How do I use lighting to improve the functionality of my home?

Having the correct lighting in your home will make tasks like cooking, working, and playing easier and even relaxing.

  • Consider the activities that will take place in each room and the kind of lighting these tasks will require.
  • Consider how the lighting needs will vary during the day.
  • Install both general lighting and task lighting to address these needs.

How do I create ambiance in my home with lighting?

Sometimes overhead lights are just too much. There will be times when you would like less illumination, like when you are relaxing or entertaining.

  • Add dimmers to your general overhead lighting.
  • Install specialty spotlights in your home to highlight art.
  • Add lamps to your home with low wattage light bulbs to give the room a soft warm glow.

How can I use lighting efficiently in my home?

Good home lighting does not need to be expensive. There are several things you can do to make your lighting more efficient.

  • Install motion detectors so that light will shut off when rooms are not in use.
  • Clean your light fixtures and bulbs as dirt can prevent light emission.
  • Do not use too much light. Switch to lower light bulbs and use dimmer to tailor the amount of light in the room to your needs.
  • Use energy efficient bulbs. Compact fluorescent bulbs, reflector bulbs, and high-pressure sodium lamps provide more light than incandescent bulbs.
  • Use fewer light bulbs. One high watt bulb uses less energy than several lower light bulbs.


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