We are here with Ashton Harrison; Founder & CEO of Shades of Light with an interview of Q & A’s of Lighting Tips, Ideas & Inspiration to guide our readers through the choices & styles for updating your home or starting from scratch with a lighting floor plan.
SOL: What are 3 tips you would give our readers when lighting a room?
- You must light for all functions to be performed in the room (reading, cleaning, etc.). If you use directed light (eyeball recessed lights, “opaque” lamp shades, etc.) for tasks, you will have more opportunity for dynamic accent lighting. Use dimmers everywhere to control the “mood” in the room!
- Think of your lighting in terms of “layers”. Vary the height and the direction of the light sources in the room. Use table lamps, sconces, plant uplights, picture lights, ceiling eyeball spotlights, etc.
- Don’t forget accent lighting (see article entitled Accent Lighting under Tips and Techniques).
SOL: How can we customize lighting products to make them have a “one of kind” look?
Change the shades on table and floor lamps to match or accent your decor. Use our magic pendant (Magic Pendant Light Choices) to convert recessed lights to pedants and then choose your choice of shade. Use our pendant hardware (Shade Pendant Hardware Kit) to convert a stylish lamp shade into a hanging pendant and replace a chandelier with this trendy look. Add crystals to (or take all the crystals off!) your chandelier. Add chain cover (Linen Chandelier Chain Cover, Silk Chandelier Chain Cover, Tartan Plaid Silk Chandelier Cover), decorative candle covers (Kaarskoker Decorative Candle Covers), ceiling medallion, decorative chandelier shades or fancy light bulbs to your chandelier and sconces. Add natural (sticks, fruit, garlands, etc.) or holiday decorations to your lighting fixtures (see photo).
SOL: What are the most common mistakes made when lighting a room?
- Use of a center ceiling fixture or one high-powered light source to light the room.
- Not following 3 tips in #1 above!
- Too much light or not enough light (1 watt per square foot for relaxing spaces and 2 watts per square foot for task areas).
SOL: If you have canned, recessed lighting how can you update with minimal expense?
- Use our Magic Pendant Light Choices or Ceiling Light converter to change to pendant or decorative ceiling light.
- Change the fixture to an eyeball and use to spotlight artwork.
- Change the light bulbs to Full Spectrum “happy” bulbs (75 Watt R-30 Verilux Reflector Flood Bulb)!
- Replace the recessed light with a monorail track kit and use light fixtures to spot artwork.
SOL: Could you map out the steps for starting a lighting floor plan for a new construction home?
- Plan task, general, and accent lighting for each room. Don’t forget to provide light for bookshelves, artwork areas, floor receptacles for large spaces, ceiling fans (ones with uplights above motor are really great), etc.
- Make a list of all fixtures & quantity of each you need room by room.
- Consult our Lighting for New Construction checklist for all the extras you will need.
SOL: Can you offer tips to stay on budget with the lighting plan?
With new home construction, you should budget 3% for lighting. When remodeling, you should budget 5%. Always look at sales and specials first. Then consult the lighting experts in the store or on the phone for help in getting the look you want in the budget you have. There are always good-better-best selections in every lighting category!
SOL: What trends should readers avoid when purchasing lighting?
Buy lighting fixtures that have to be “installed” that you REALLY love because rarely do people replace these. Go trendy and fun with portable pieces like table lamps and shades!
SOL: Please offer some suggestions for “Going Green” with home lighting?
- LED products have FINALLY gotten to the point where they are affordable, produce warm light (be sure to check this out BEFORE purchasing), and give off ENOUGH light.
- Eco-friendly lighting is made from bamboo, cork, hemp, and recycled wood, recycled paper and recycled glass. Consult our Green Your Home article for a complete guide to going green.
SOL: With the holidays approaching what creative ideas do you have to incorporate seasonal decorations with existing light fixtures?
SOL: This has been such fun & so informative! Thanks for your solutions & ideas. Can readers send you in questions to help solve their lighting Challenges?
I love to give lighting solution ideas! Email me your question at AWHarrison@ShadesOfLight.com.
Ashton Harrison has a bachelor of science degree from UVA and a masters in business administration from the University of Richmond. Ashton was the V.P. of Operations for This End Up Furniture before opening the first Shades of Light retail store in 1986. She started Shades of Light national catalog operation in 1995 and launched the Shades of Light web site in 1997. Shades of Light specializes in the highest quality lighting, lamp shades, chandeliers and rugs for every lifestyle.