How Much Light Do I Need?
Glad you asked. There’s actually a proven formula for calculating the proper amount of general light (usually expressed as the number of watts) you should have in each room or area of your home . . . and it’s not difficult, just some basic arithmetic. Multiply the length times the width of the room. Then, multiply that number times 1.5. That gives you the amount of wattage you need to light the room properly for general illumination.
Example: A room is 12 ft. x 16 ft. (12 x 16 = 192). Then multiply 192 x 1.5 = 288 watts. That means an 8-light chandelier using 40-watt bulbs would give 320 watts, which is even more light than needed.
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For specific task lighting in areas where stronger light is needed, multiply the area’s square footage by 2.5 rather than 1.5 to find the needed wattage. A kitchen work island or a desk area where schoolwork is done are examples of task areas in your home. These same rules apply to every room or area in your home.
Steel vs. Solid Brass – How do you tell the difference?
Simply place a magnet on the metal portion of a brass lighting fixture. If it sticks, it’s steel. If it doesn’t, it’s solid brass, which is generally more costly. Chandelier Installation – If a chandelier is heavier than 50 pounds, it will have to be mounted more securely to the ceiling or wall. Make sure there is enough support.
Casting or Stamping – How are they different?
Casting is generally heavier with more detail and durability. Whereas stamping is lighter, less detail and durable. Generally, cast fixtures are slightly more expensive than stamped products.
Wherever possible, use the same color bulbs in all lights in a room so the tone of the floors, surfaces, walls, etc. will be the same intensity.
Doing Your Homework
How should I prepare when shopping for lighting? First, know your budget. Second, if possible, look for pictures from magazines that reflect your taste. Third, bring in fabric swatches or color chips for any area you are re-decorating.
Natural Light – Is this a factor in the amount of light you'll need in a room?
Think daytime vs. nighttime light.
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