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Light Up Your Life

A house or any particular room can be carefully planned, well thought out and perfectly executed but without the proper lighting it never really comes to life. A perfect example is a tile back splash in a kitchen. Without some nice under cabinet lighting to show it off it never really reaches it's potential as an eye opener.

As you plan each room there are three basic forms of lighting. General Lighting - which is the light you need in a room to function. A means to safely navigate the room in the dark of night. Accent Lighting - light that highlights a particular item or items of importance to you or the room design. Task lighting - light that serves a function related to a particular task or area where work is performed.

A kitchen benefits most from all three forms of lighting in most cases. Recessed lighting combined with a pendant or two and possibly a ceiling fan can provide the general lighting. Under cabinet lighting serves two functions. It acts as Task lighting for working on the countertop as well as Accent lighting to highlight that beautiful countertop and back splash. Additional accent lighting can be added in glass cabinets, which really brings them to life. In some cases where crown molding is installed and there is space above some cove lighting can create a wonderful effect and ambience to a room.

In a living room a couple of well placed wall washers can turn an fireplace wall that seemed ordinary into a piece of art. Perhaps you are planning on a wall to display photos or a collection of art posters. Wouldn't it be nice to light that independently and show it off? Along with the lighting, the way in which they are switched is almost as important. A room with 9 recessed lights that all come on at once lacks forethought.

In any room by breaking the lights that are switched into sections or patterns and through the use of dimmers, a room can take on many personalities and moods. When considering switches it is also important to consider traffic flow through the house. There is nothing worse than a setup where you have to go back and turn a light off only to proceed in the dark. With the proper planning and use of 3 way and 4 way switches the house can be so much more user friendly.

(c) Copyright 2005 Paul Forte. All rights reserved.

Paul Forte has over 25 years of experience in the electrical field and specializes in lighting and design. For more useful tips, information, photos and products please visit

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