ighting is an amazing thing. It has the subtle power to make small rooms look open and airy, or large rooms appear cozy and inviting. It's especially important in log homes.
In conventional construction, drywall reflects light, but in log construction, the wood in the walls and ceilings absorbs light. That means it takes much more light to illuminate a log home. Add vaulted ceilings and a log home needs far more lumens than a conventional home does.
These spaces will also have to work for you as you age. After 60, you need three times the amount of light to accomplish the same tasks as you needed at age 19.
One of the most common mistakes many log home buyers make is under-budgeting for lighting needs. This is an oversight that can be easily avoided with some advance planning.
There are no universal rules for lighting costs. The materials that help or hinder the reflection of light in your home will influence the number of fixtures you need. These include room sizes, cabinetry color and flooring, and any non-log wall treatments. Fixture quality and installation costs will also affect the total price.
If you're on a budget, focus on wiring your home generously for a variety of fixtures. Because fixtures are easy to replace, you can use less expensive products until you can afford to upgrade to more artistic and custom illumination.
There are three basic types of lighting?general, task and accent&3151;and your home should include all three.
General lighting takes the place of sunlight, enabling you to see and move about safely. Task lighting helps you perform specific tasks, such as cooking or reading. Accent lighting adds drama to a home by directing eyes toward a specific area.
Ceiling fixtures are practical for general lighting in busy areas. Wall-mounted fixtures can furnish general, task and accent lighting.
Chandeliers can be used in foyers, bedrooms or over a living room grouping and provide a great source of general lighting. Track lighting, once considered as tacky as green shag carpeting, has advanced light years in appeal and convenience, and it's still a good source of general lighting, as is recessed lighting when employed in ceilings or under eaves.
Pendants suspended from the ceiling can be used for task lighting?particularly useful over kitchen islands. In the bathroom, lighting strips above sinks or by the sides of mirrors supply task lighting for grooming. There are also small specialty lamps, such as clip-on lights, adjustable task lights and mini-reflector spotlights.
Don't forget floor or table lamps. They have their place, too. Not only do they supply ample reading light near chairs or bedsides; they are portable, allowing you to move them or group them as needed.
Exterior lighting is needed for both aesthetic and safety reasons. For safety, illuminate steps, paths and driveways to prevent after-dark mishaps. Low-voltage lights installed under handrails, stairs and around decks increase the ambiance of outdoor entertaining. You can draw attention to key architectural features, such as an entryway or gable, or highlight the natural features of the landscaping.
Lighting control has moved beyond on/off switches. You can now program a variety of lighting scenarios for each room and recall them instantly with a touch of a button from a hand-held remote. Dimmers also are controlled with touch, slide or rotary switches. Other controls include timers, photo sensors and motion detectors.
When planning your lighting system, look at the activities that occur in each room, the atmosphere you want to create and the decorative elements you wish to emphasize. Some lighting suppliers have engineers on staff to assist you with developing a strategy for your particular floorplan.