Decorating Guide

See the Light: What is “Ambient Lighting” and What is “Task Lighting”?

You can probably guess the difference between “ambient” and “task” lighting just by thinking about their names: Ambient lighting (also known as general lighting) creates an ambiance, or a certain vibe. It offers an overall illumination of a space, provides visual comfort, and comes from sources like chandeliers, pendant lights, ceiling lights, or wall mount fixturesTask lighting, on the other hand, is what you’ll want to have when you’re working—reading, cooking, etc. You can use accent, ambient, and task lighting in the same place, but make sure not to mix their functions--otherwise, it can become a bit disconnected.

Uplighting, Downlighting—All Around Confusing: How to Choose Light Direction

If you’re unsure about choosing light that glows upwards or illumination that glows downward, have no fear: you can do both. First, it’s best to understand the benefits of each, and the different functions uplight and downlight serve.

Generally, downlights are recessed lights in a ceiling that cast a perfectly ambient, welcoming light. They’re also versatile: Downlights can provide sufficient task lighting, so you’ll see them often in kitchens and other workspaces.

A Penchant for Pendants: How to Hang Pendant Lamps

Pendant lights don’t just illuminate a room—they add artistry to your space. So, how low should you go? When hanging pendant lights, keep these tips in mind:

Count Me In: How Many Lights are Right?

Too bright, too dark—sometimes finding the “just right” feels all wrong. Luckily, we’ve got an easy formula for figuring out just how much light you need in any given room. First, think about the purpose of the room. Will you be reading there, dining, or mostly relaxing?

Then, learn the difference between illuminance (measured in lux) and light output (measured in lumens).

Know Your Place: How to Find Ideal Spots for Floor Lamps

You love your new FLOS lamp—so where should you put it?

If your lamp is to be used for tasks—such as reading—keep it close. Place it next to your favorite easy chair, or even by your bed in place of a reading light on your nightstand. Floor lamps provide great, direct light that’s comfortable to work by. Just make sure it’s fitted with a great shade, or the glare may bother you.

Tough Choices: How to Decide Between Pendants, Bar, or Side Lights

Before you decide which light is right, get to know them:

Pendant Lights: You’ll find these sweet stunners hanging from the ceilings in your favorite rooms—like the dining room, kitchen, and foyer. They’re versatile and offer an ambient glow that is also task-ready. Try them solo or with several in a row.

Bar Lights: For those who favor the more modern, Bar Lights offer an innovative style that is rooted in true utility. Sleek and cool with an industrial edge, Bar Lights are branching out: consider these lights in more modern kitchens, bathrooms, and bedrooms.

Side Lights: Don’t get it twisted, Side Lights don’t play second fiddle to any lamp: They are the main event. These featured favorites diffuse indirect lighting to create an intimate, soft, and relaxing atmosphere. They’re the perfect illumination for your most relaxing spaces.

Work It: Are Pendant Lights “Task” Lighting?

Sure, pendant lights look great—but can they pull their weight in a working environment? In a word, yes. Providing both ambient and direct light, pendant lights pull double duty in spaces like kitchens, where you’ll need the benefit of clear lighting when you’re dicing up dinner. When deciding on a pendant for your space, consider the room and your style: Versatile pendants look great solo, or can be added in a row for enhanced lighting and effect. Just make sure you opt for a pendant that has a lampshade, or you may find the glare bothersome.

Prep School: How to Find Creative Solutions for Food Prep Areas

Don’t go dicing in the dark—find the right light for your food prep areas and get ready to cook up a masterpiece.

Pendant lights are ideal in kitchen spaces: They offer the direct lighting that’s perfect for tasks, and they add an interesting element to your décor. Consider a large, breathtaking dome light or a row of smaller, sleeker pendants with clear glass shades.

LED lights are a “cool” option for the kitchen—literally. Because they don’t emit heat like other less efficient light sources, you can comfortably use them no matter how steamy your soufflé gets. Also, since LED fixtures are generally designed to be shatter-free, they can be a safer option. Consider lining the underside of your cabinets with efficient LED fixtures instead of fluorescent bulbs. (Bonus: Some LED lighting is equipped with dimming and color adjustment capabilities.)

Mixed lighting is a great option for kitchens—a mix of uplighting and downlighting from sources like wall sconces, pendants, and under-cabinet lighting allows you to customize lighting for your needs at any given moment.

Dirty Talk: How to Clean Pendant Lights

Dust, grease, spider webs: Even the cleanest homes accumulate grossness sometimes, and dusty, dirty pendant lights don’t just look bad, they work less efficiently and cast the wrong color on their surroundings. Here’s how to get them shining right and bright again:

Get Unplugged: Always unplug any electrical equipment before cleaning. For lights not connected to a receptacle, flipping the switch isn’t enough—you’ll need to disconnect the circuit breaker, too.

Baby Your Bulb: Remove any bulbs so they won’t sustain damage, and remove any shades while you’re at it (check the care manual of your lamp for instructions on removing shades and any pins, etc.)

Be Bookish: Check your FLOS manual for specific cleaning instructions, as each product’s care varies.

Raise Your Glass: How to Clean Glass Light Shades

Light—and any room it shines it—looks best coming from a clean source. Cleaning glass lampshades can feel tricky, but a few easy tips will keep you in the clear.

The Right Light: What is Incandescent Lighting vs. LED

It’s about more than just a light bulb: Incandescent and LED offer different types of lighting performances—and each has benefits (and drawbacks) that are uniquely its own.

The hallmark of incandescent lighting is a warm white output with perfect color rendition. It matches the quality of daylight, which makes it perfect for illuminating decorative features or fine art. The traditional rounded bulbs also offer a design element within a light fixture. However, incandescent bulbs fall short on energy efficiency—using more than five times the energy of LED bulbs during a service life that’s generally less than 1,000 hours. In addition, they generate heat. If your space uses air conditioning, the extra heat released by the bulbs will increase the cooling load and your energy expenses.

That’s Intense: What is Light Intensity and How is it Measured?

It’s soft from one angle and glaring from another—light intensity can seem tricky, but it’s really all about how you look at it.

Lighting intensity is the brightness of a light, specifically from a given direction. The brighter, or more intense, a light is, the more energy is present. Technically, light intensity is the rate at which energy from the light hits a surface. So, you may notice that intensity varies for the same light source based on where you’re standing, and on other spatial variations.

A highly specialized device called a goniophotometer measures intensity, and yes, that’s a real thing. Luckily, you won’t need your own to measure intensity—manufacturers supply lighting intensity curves along with their product specifications.

Support System: Why Secondary Lighting is Important

To understand secondary lighting, let’s have a primer on primary lighting.

Primary lighting refers to objects that produce their own light-- anything with a light bulb in it, regardless of type.

Secondary lighting refers to objects that reflect primary lighting. For example: Assume an architect uses only uplighting in a room. The downlighting effect is achieved through the reflection of the uplighting on the ceiling. The ceiling is your secondary lighting source. The point is, whenever you use the reflection of lighting on objects and surfaces, that is secondary lighting.

So why is secondary lighting so important? A room that’s lit only on the floor may feel cavernous or dark. In the example listed, the architect used the ceiling and walls as a secondary lighting source to illuminate the room overall.

Get Out: Why Exterior Lighting is Important

Exterior lighting doesn’t just look great (hello, curb appeal!)—it’s also really smart. The right light makes it easier to navigate your outdoor areas in the dark, and it’s a security measure that makes your home less of a target for ne’er do wells. And, since light travels so beautifully in the dark, you don’t need to light an area directly in order to illuminate it.

Homey Run: How to Create Hospitality Lighting that Works

It says it right in the name: the hospitality industry specializes in making guests feel comfortable, welcome, and, well, right at home.

The key to hospitality lighting is control, and by that we meaning giving it all to the guest. Control panels in hotel rooms allow guests to adjust the lighting as they get their body clocks in rhythm with their environment—even allowing them to account for jet lag.

What is Human Centric Lighting?

It sounds like the stuff of science fiction novels, but the idea behind Human Centric Lighting is simple: We need light for both visual and non-visual reasons. And, we need it delivered in a healthy way: Negative effects such as glare can damage human sight with prolonged exposure.

HCL acknowledges that our brains are affected by light in two ways. First, we need it to see—our brain uses light along the visual path that helps us to determine images. Here’s a few quick tips: Clear, or neutral, white light helps improve our concentration. Aim for a color temperature of around 4,100K. Warm, or yellowish, white light is relaxing and helps us sleep better. The goal color temperature is around 2,700K.

Aren’t You Smart: How to Achieve Smart, Sustainable Lighting and Energy Savings

Here’s a light bulb moment: lighting your home in an artistic, functional, and stunning way doesn’t have to strain energy consumption (or your wallet). Here’s how.

Space Case: How Light Can Make Your Home More Spacious

Even the smallest rooms dream big—so show them the light!

Light is the best way to make a space seem bigger than it is. Maximize the availability of natural light by making any window a focal point of the room, and opt for light and neutral paints that won’t absorb the your glow.

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