Article
Lighting has always been important, even in the early days of our cave dwelling ancestors. In the beginning, light was more utilitarian. Just being able to see was more than enough to satisfy the most discerning of tastes.

Residential Lighting – Shining a Light on What’s Really Important

Steve Maurer, IME
Lighting has always been important, even in the early days of our cave dwelling ancestors. In the beginning, light was more utilitarian. Just being able to see was more than enough to satisfy the most discerning of tastes.

After all, what would all those cave paintings look like if they were crafted in the dark!

But through the ensuing ages, humankind’s quest for better lighting has blossomed into a whole new era of light as art … not just to make art. And if you’re a lighting contractor in any field, this is good news for your business.

Using lighting as an art form isn’t the only benefit of this new era of illumination. In fact, the form and function of lighting runs the gamut from merely increasing visibility to establishing mood to maintaining health and well-being.

Very cool. Or warm.

Depends on the color temperature, right?

Speaking of which …

Following the Sun With Color Temperature
Since the dawn of time, human activity has been dictated and guided by the sun. From sunrise to sunset, the color temperature and intensity of that giant orb above us signaled activity and even mood. Light tied in deeply to our body's natural circadian rhythm.

Color temperature is measured in Kelvin on a scale from 1,000 to 10,000. This scale relates to the appearance of perceived light from both natural and man made sources.

Sunrise throws off a low, angled light of about 3,000K and is a warm light of yellows and reds. Time to get up, sleepy head!

Sunset provides another low, angled light of about 2,500K. Day is done … time to sleep.
However …

The signal for activity is a cooler, more bluish light. The midday sun shines directly overhead with a Kelvin rating of 6,500K.

With the invention of electricity and the light bulb, the indoor life that most of us enjoy became almost a constant glare, totally disrupting the internal circadian rhythm thing. But LEDs most closely mimic the sun with a constant, stable white light.

And because they can be dimmed, brightened, and even change color, interior lighting can actually follow the sun's clues for activity and mood. Dimmers, apps, and smarter lighting could actually help contribute to our health and well being.

But wait … there's more.

Lighting Designed to Create Focused Moments
For a long time, I thought of home lighting as serving a more utilitarian purpose. I needed adequate light to read, to work, and to perform other household chores. But recently … maybe because, like many others in the past few years … I spend more time in and around the house and kind of like to showcase certain areas or items.

I've discovered a concept called light layers. It's accomplished by creating spaces within a space that are lit according to the purpose or mood. Ambient lighting mimics the outdoors, illuminating everything evenly. However, task lighting brings focus to the job at hand, whether it be preparing dinner, getting ready for an outing, or reading a book. Often achieved with downlighting, under the cabinet lighting, or lamps placed around or behind mirrors, it's designed to bring attention to whatever you're doing.

Accent lighting can be kind of fun. It adds a glow and aura around your favorite things. Trophies on the mantel, a favorite book collection, sculptures and plants all benefit from accent lighting. Pendants, sconces, and even LED tape lighting can put a shine on your important stuff.

But …

Have you ever heard of Toekick Lighting?

Me neither. But is a real thing and looks very cool. It's used to define the baselines of cabinets, particularly in the kitchen. It gives an illusion of floating and, now get this, it lights the path to the fridge for those late-night snack emergency runs.

My favorite midnight excursion.

For the Lighting Contractor, Designer, and Architect, Its Time to Level Up
With so many more options—and the versatility and opportunities LEDs provide—there's no need to create boring lighting schemes, even for customers on a budget.

Go beyond form and function with lighting layouts. Level up to a new experience, only limited by your imagination.

By the way … don't forget exterior lighting. Our new flower garden, designed and created by our daughter, shines like a welcoming oasis in the desert of darkness.

Starry, starry night …
Photo courtesy of Kichler Lighting
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