Dining Room Lighting
The Dining room is one of the most important rooms in the home for most people. It is where your style shines. Where your family meets for holiday dinners and special occasions. It is also the room that needs to be most versatile for some. Whether it is a school project or a card game, the dining room in today's home has many uses. When looking for a dining room light fixture, your Carol's Lighting Sales Team member will ask you a few questions about how you use your dining room. These questions are to help you determine the best fixture to fit your needs.
- What is the size of your room?
- What is your Ceiling height?
- What is the length and width of your table?
- How do you use this room?
- Is there other lighting in the room? Sconces? Recessed?
- What is your style?
Your answers to these questions help us determine what fixture will work best for your home.
What size fixture do I need for my room?
The best place to start is the width of your dining table. Dining tables are no longer the standard 42" wide Oval or rectangle. From reclaimed farmhouse, 72" round pedestals to pub style tables, there is nolongerastandard. Bylookingatthewidthofthetablewecandeterminetheappropriatewidthofthefixture. Theruleof thumb is subtract 10" to 12" from the width of the table to determine the max width of the fixture. For example: Table = 42" Wide the fixture should not exceed 32" Wide. When we stand up from a table we have the tendency to lean forward slightly. When this is coupled with the typical hanging height of a fixture (Bottom of the fixture 5' from the floor), if the fixture is too wide there is a potential for hitting the fixture. While this is a good guide, there will always be exceptions. Some other things to consider are the shape of the fixture, the visual weight of the fixture and the ceiling height in the room.
Do I have to use a traditional shaped chandelier over my table?
- Shape: Some fixtures are very narrow at the bottom and can be hung a bit higher. These fixtures allow for a little play in the max width of the fixture.
- Visual Weight: Fixtures that are visually heavy will appear to take up more space than a light and airy fixture. While this does not affect the physical width, it will affect the overall look in the room.
- Ceiling Height: The ceiling height comes into play in 2 ways.
- Most fixtures look best with at least 12" of chain. This keeps the fixture from looking like it is too close to the ceiling..
- The guideline for the hanging height of a fixture over the table is 5' from the floor or 30" of the table top. This is, of course adjusted for higher pub tables. Consider this when looking at fixtures.
Absolutely not! As illustrated in the pictures above, you can use you imagination. With new table styles, old standards are too small or too boring . Think out of the box. Some good ideas are as follows:
- Two fixtures over a longer table
- A large lantern over a round table or two over a rectangular table.
- A drum shade style fixture
- A trestle style fixture over a longer table.
Just keep your max width in mind so no one hits their head.
How high should my fixture hang over my table?
The guideline for height of a fixture over a table is 5' from the floor or 30" off the table top. In room with a higher ceiling, the fixture may be hung at a higher level to be visually balanced.
Do I need recessed lighting as well a chandelier?
Helping you create a look and making your home shine is our goal. Recessed lighting placed around a dining room or as additional lighting over a table can help do this. From "pin hole" spots flanking a gorgeous chandelier to wall washers around the perimeter of the room, recessed lighting can create an elegant mood in a dining room.
Do I need a dimmer in my dining room?
YES! YES! YES! This is the room where you may have kids doing homework in the afternoon, to a romantic dinner for two at night. A dimmer can immediately change the mood of a room as well as it's function.
The Foyer or Entryway is the welcome area of your home. In most homes it is also a commuter way. Lighting in this area needs to be gorgeous and functional. My one tip would be: Be careful not to undersize your fixture.
How big should my fixture be?
There is a formula designed to help with this question. Take the length and width of the room, in feet, and add them together. (Example 12' + 14' = 26') Take the total measurement in feet and change the feet to inches. (Example 26' changes to 26") this measurement in inches is a good place to start. BUT!!!! This measurement is simply a guide. Be careful not to undersize your fixture. The fixture installed there now is not always the best size. Here are some pictures to show well sized fixtures in two story entries. Single story entries are a bit simpler since the fixture should not hang below 7' from the floor. This limits your options when looking at the width of a fixture.
How high should my fixture hang?
Typically in a two story Foyer or Entryway, the fixture will hang approximately 8' to 10' from the floor. (See pictures above) This allows for people to walk under the fixture safely. If it is a single story space, the fixture should go no lower than 7' from the floor to the bottom of the fixture. (This is typically the code for new construction). Here are a few examples of lower ceiling entryway lights.
***Reword*** Lighting for your house is difficult enough, finding the right light for a bathroom is a challenge in itself. Bathroom lighting serves a very distinct purpose and is a mini case study in lighting dynamics. Bathroom lighting needs to particularly effective in lighting up a person's face as they look into a mirror. Haphazard handling of this task can result in lighting that creates unnecessary and distracting shadows.
Vanity lighting is the primary source of useful light in a bathroom. The term useful simply characterizes the light that is helpful in highlighting the face for the purposes of cosmetics application, and daily personal upkeep.
What is the best way to light my vanity area?
Vanity lighting is typically mounted above the mirror and projected down in front of the mirror. This is ok but the best lighting will come from both above and from the sides. This approach is the the best way to eliminate shadows. This can be accomplished by placing a fixture or recessed light above the mirror and a sconce or pendant light on both sides.
Should I hang my fixtures up or down?
Most of todays vanity fixtures can be hung as an up or down light. This is accomplished simply by installing the fixture on to the electrical box with the cups of the fixture facing up or down. There are a few situations where this is not possible or recommended.
Can I hang a chandelier in my Bathroom?
- Halogen light bulbs: If the fixture uses Halogen light bulbs, it is recommended that the fixture be installed with the open end of the cups facing up. Halogen light bulbs produce a higher amount of heat that traditional bulbs. When fixtures are installed facing down the heat is trapped in the cup and reduces the life of the light bulb and the socket.
- Non-connected glass: If glass is not secured to the socket of the fixture, it cannot be installed as a down facing fixture.
Yes and No. If you have the higher ceiling height and electrical wiring, yes you can. A few things to keep in mind. One, if hanging a chandelier over a tub, the bottom of the fixture must not go below 7' from the top edge of the tub. In other words, there needs to be 7' between the waterline and the fixture. This is to prevent accidentally touching the fixture while in the water. This a one rule that we hold fast to. Two, if the fixture is hanging in the middle of the room, there must be 7' "walk under" space. This is so no one will run into or hit the fixture. Three, chandeliers can add a lot of light but they can also add heat. Use a dimmer to reduce the heat and light when you need to.
Will frosted globes cut down the amount of light given out by a fixture?
Typically no, but in the case of a fixture with very dark glass you will have reduced light. Vanity and bathroom lighting works best when the fixtures are opaque and create a pleasant and bright glow but are not dark. be wary of clear glass. Some clear globes can be harsh and create a high amount of glare that can make it difficult to use the mirror clearly.
Do I need a dimmer for my bathroom lights?
YES! The ability to control the light in the room with dimmer switches is great. It will also help control heat and glare as well as control brightness at night.
What do I need to know before shopping for bathroom lighting?
The best way to approach bathroom lighting is with simple preparation. Knowing the space available with which to work will dictate what size light fixtures will be able to fit into the area. Also be aware that if your electrical box is not centered over your sink or area, you may need to look a fixtures with a larger back plate to accommodate placement.
What else do I need to know about bathroom lighting?
It is also important to take into account the angles and color schemes of the bathroom. This will help to determine the strength of light that will be needed to provide adequate luminance. Dark surfaces will absorb more light and may require additional or higher wattage bulbs. Take pictures and know measurements. Your Carol's Lighting Sales Team member can help.
Care & Cleaning:
Generally bathroom vanity fixtures should be cleaned as follows every 3-6 months.
- Dust fixture with a damp cloth using only plain water to damped the cloth.
- Remove glass and wash with mild liquid detergent and water. Do not clean glass in the dishwasher.
- Inspect rings holding glass to the fixture for cracks and security.
Curb appeal. It's the favorable first impression others have of your home as seen from the street. You need it whether you are a builder marketing a home for sale or a homeowner welcoming friends and family. Your exterior light fixtures are one of the first things others notice when forming their first impression. Appropriately sized and styled fixtures add to curb appeal, provide a warm welcome, and safely guide visitors to your door. The most important factors to consider when making your selection are size, color, and style.
What size fixtures should I use on my home?
The biggest mistake made in selecting outdoor lighting is choosing light fixtures that are too small.
What finish or color should my fixtures be?
- If you are replacing existing light fixtures don't assume the original ones were the correct size-many builders use light fixtures that are too small in an effort to control costs.
- Light fixtures will only look about half as big on your house when viewed from the street as they do in the showroom. When deciding between two sizes the larger one is almost always the right choice.
- The front door is the most important door. It should have the fanciest and biggest light fixture on the house. Don't let garage fixtures and fixtures at secondary entrances upstage the fixtures at the front door.
- A good rule of thumb for the front door is for the fixture to be 1/3 the height of the door if there is only one and 1/4 the height of the door if there are two (one on each side of the door).
- Cut a piece of cardboard to shape and hold it up to the house to help visualize size.
Choose a color that complements the exterior color scheme.
What style should I use on my home?
- Bronzes are popular with earth tones. There are many different finishes available. If possible, bring in finish samples or pictures of your home when you visit the store.
- Black is appropriate in many situations; however bronze is usually a better choice when using dark brown trim and accents.
- The Houston climate is particularly harsh on outdoor fixtures. See below for some hints on making your fixtures last.
Many of today's homes are not one particular style; they incorporate elements of several styles.
How much light do I need?
- When choosing a style for your exterior light fixtures pay attention to the key architectural features of your home and select fixtures that complement those features.
- Choose the fixtures for the front door first because it's your most important door. Then select the rest of the outdoor fixtures from the same family to maintain consistency.
Depending on the location of the fixture, typically 60-75 watts total of incandescent light per fixture or 20 watts of CFL (compact fluorescent) is ideal for most decorative exterior wall fixtures and post lanterns.
What is the proper mounting height for my exterior fixtures?
- Many of our fixtures are rated for more than 60W. The electrical rating is the maximum safe wattage allowed, not the wattage that is the most appropriate.
- Using bulbs that are brighter than necessary will increase glare and detract from the fixtures. The glare is even worse if you have fixtures with clear glass.
- Concentrate on the style and size of the fixtures when making selections and use only the wattage you need.
Exterior wall-mounted light fixtures should be mounted slightly above eye level on most houses-about 66" above the threshold.
What is the best way to light my front door?
- If you have taller than normal doors or a transom you may need to install the fixtures a little higher than 66".
- Fixtures should not be installed so that the top extends above the top of the door. We offer several fixtures where the body of the fixture is low with respect to the junction box to accommodate situations where the junction box is too high.
The most popular way to light the front door is with a pair of fixtures-one on each side of the door.
What about my garage doors?
- A fixture on only one side of the front door is also appropriate if space or architecture dictates. When using only one fixture, make sure it is installed on the same side as the doorknob so visitors' faces are not in shadow when opening the door.
- If the front door is under a porch or other cover you may want to consider a recessed, ceiling mount or hanging lantern instead. (The Houston weather can be just a bit windy during Hurricane season, keep this in mind when installing hanging lanterns outside.)
- Choose a fixture that is 1/3 the height of the door if using only one fixture and 1/4 the height of the door if using two.
Install a lantern on each side of the garage door or a lantern over the top of each door depending on style and space. Select fixtures that match the front door but are a little smaller or less important looking. The fixtures at the garage should not upstage the front door fixtures.
What about my back doors?
Don't skimp. Choose fixtures that match the rest of the house and are not too small. A small cheap fixture does not look good anywhere and will detract from your patio furniture and accessories.
Why should I use post lanterns?
Use a post lantern when light from the front door doesn't reach the parking area. They are also a fantastic way to accent a wall or gates entering your front entry or driveway. Choose a post lantern from the same family as the other exterior fixtures and be sure it's large enough. Post lanterns look even smaller than wall fixtures when viewed from the street.
Why should I consider energy saving fixtures?
By installing energy-saving compact fluorescent bulbs in many of our fixtures you can greatly reduce the amount of energy used to light outdoor areas. Some things we suggest to help improve the appearance of energy saving bulbs are:
What is Dark Sky:
- Use fixtures with seeded or frosted glass to disguise the CFL bulb and look more refined.
- Use Outdoor approved LED bulbs
- Use CFL bulbs that are shaped similar to a "regular" light bulb.
A growing number of cities and states are passing "dark sky" ordinances to control the amount of light pollution going up into the sky from light fixtures. We offer a selection of fixtures that direct almost all of their light downward that are designed to address these needs.
What are outdoor fixtures made of?
Care and Cleaning:
- Solid brass: Solid Brass fixtures are typically made from cast or stamped solid brass. They are then covered with a powder coat finish. This powder coat finish is baked on at high heat, much like a porcelain sink. Since brass will not rust or rot it is a very good base for the durable powder coating.
- Solid Copper:
- Vivex: Vivex is a unique synthetic composition containing ground marble powder for strength and a latex composite for durability that are bonded together with ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate) adhesive, which is used primarily in outdoor applications. ATP is an adhesive that has been tested for large temperature swings between temperatures that exceed 130¬įF and go low as -20¬įF. It is expected that this material can withstand even greater temperatures. Vivex material is both biodegradable and fire retardant. Vivex, unlike resin cast into inexpensive plaster molds, is pressure injected into expensive steel molds. This produces a very hard and dense product. Injection molding gives better quality to the details of the parts. Parts come out of the molds with crisp lines and intricate detail not obtainable in resin casting.
- Cast Aluminum: Cast-aluminum fixtures are lightweight, non toxic, non magnetic, corrosion-resistant and easy to mold. Die-cast aluminum is made by injecting molten aluminum, under high pressure, into a hardened steel die. Generally, cast-aluminum fixtures are powder coated for better durability.
- Stamped Metal: Stamped metal is the least expensive and least durable of the materials used in outdoor lighting. It is either painted or powdercoated. ome center
- Cast Resin: Cast resin fixtures, like stamped metal are inexpensive. They are often used in coastal areas.
Exposure to the sun's UV rays will age exterior light fixtures faster than anything else in the Houston area. Also high on the list of culprits are salt air, bird droppings and airborne pollution that settles as dust and grime. Follow these steps to keep your outdoor light fixtures looking their best:
- Wipe bird droppings and other spills off of your fixtures immediately using a clean soft cloth wet with plain water only.
- Wipe your fixtures once or twice a year with a clean soft cloth wet with plain water only.
- Polish your fixtures after each cleaning with silicone car wax or CRC -56. Do not use CRC Formula 6-56 on plastic fixtures.
Use a bead of caulk around the backplate where the fixture attaches to the wall to keep water out of the junction box. Leave a little break in the caulk at the bottom of the backplate to allow any moisture that gets in a way to escape.
What Size Ceiling Fan do I need?
It is difficult to give a definite size for a room without knowing a few things. The suggestions below are helpful but when shopping for a ceiling fan, your Carol's Sales Team Member can help you determine the right fan size and motor size. It is best to know your ceiling height and room size when you come in or call. This will help make sure you get the best fan for your space.
How important is a fan's CFM?
- For large rooms (16x16 / 250 square feet or larger) we recommend a fan with a blade span of 56"-72". This might include a large family or game room, a master bedroom or a large outdoor space.
- For medium to large rooms (15x15 / 225 square feet or smaller) we recommend a fan with a blade span of 50"-54". This might include a secondary bedroom, office/study, large master bathroom or a patio.
- For medium to smaller rooms (10x10 or smaller) we recommend a fan with a blade span of 48" or smaller. This might include a utility room, bathroom, master closet or study nook.
First let's define CFM. CFM is the acronym for Cubic Feet Per Minute. The most simple explanation as it applies to ceiling fans, is that it is the measure of the amount of air moved by a ceiling fan. The higher the CFM, the more air movement you feel. In actuality a ceiling fan doesn't cool the air, it only moves the air around. Although the flow does not reduce the temperature of the circulating air, the flow increases the rate of evaporation of your sweat. The evaporating water takes some heat away from your skin, resulting in your skin becoming cooler. We call this the breeze effect. The higher the CFM the higher the breeze effect.
So when asked how important CFM's are in celing fans, I would say VERY important. If you do not feel the breeze, you are just wasting energy. The higher the CFM the more of a breeze you will feel. Getting the highest CFM, especially in out hot Texas climate, is the goal. We see fans with CFM's that vary from 3000 to 9000 and not all fans are made equally. Most customers look at 3 things, Appearance, Price and Productivity, but not always in the same order. Here are some good tips on CFMs.
What size Downrod do I need in my home?
- For Very Large Rooms: Fans that have a blade of 60" and larger are for larger than average rooms. Particularly if the ceilings are higher than 10'. Be aware that the larger the ceiling fan the more the air gets spread out, so the breeze may feel less concentrated (and therefore not cool you off as much as you want). So size alone is not going to give you more air. Be sure to check the CFM rating for larger ceiling fans because some brands are poorly designed and do not move enough air to do the job. For larger rooms, look for fans that produce at least 7,000 CFM.
- For Large to Medium Rooms: Fans that have a blade span from 50" to 56" are the most popular size and can be used in most rooms. This is standard size that is most commonly used blade span for living rooms, dens, and a home office. A CFM between 5000 and 6000 or more would be most desirable for these rooms.
- For Medium to Small Rooms: Fans that have a blade span from 42" to 48" are most often used in small bedrooms, as well as smaller home offices and sitting areas or bathrooms. A CFM of 3500 to 5000 or more would be most desirable for these rooms.
- For Very Small Rooms: A category of fans referred to as mini or micro fans has become popular for use in small areas such as utility rooms, bathrooms and closets. They are compact and high powered. CFM's on these fans can be deceiving because they are for small spaces so they do not have a larger spread of air. I good Mini or Micro Fan will have a CFM of
A general formula for calculating downrod length is: ceiling height in feet minus 9' = downrod length. This formula is based on the fan-to-floor distance of 8 feet plus 1 foot for the dimension of the fan. So if your ceiling height is 12 feet, you need a 3 foot downrod in order to properly position the fan 8 feet from the floor.
Some exceptions are as follows:
- Couplers: Couplers are used to tie two downrods together to create a longer extension. Many companies make couplers and they can be used with most fans on very high ceilings to lower the fan. Caution: Coupling downrods on more powerful or larger fans can intensify vibrations and cause a wobble on high speeds.
- Patio Fans in High Wind areas: We recommend that patio fans that are exposed to high winds be installed on the shortest downrod appropriate. By hanging fans a height where they are somewhat protected, they will have a longer life.