When we highlight something, we showcase it, pull it from the background and place it in focus. We highlight the best parts of ourselves, displaying the traits we want others to see, and that same idea can apply to our homes. With homes, nothing highlights better than light. Often times, with lighting it’s the fixture we want noticed – a chandelier emblazoned with tiny crystals – but when highlighting, it’s the feature that needs the focus, not the fixture.
Add dramatic flair to your backsplash
A statement backsplash is becoming more commonplace in the kitchen. It can be a smooth subway tile or rough, stone-like tile. The tile can stop below the upper cabinets, or, when opting for open shelves and windows instead of wall cabinetry, it can stretch all the way to the ceiling. No matter the tile type, or how much tile there is, the right light will accentuate subtle colors and textures in way nothing else can.
When there is upper cabinetry, LED strip lights can be placed under them to highlight the backsplash. This type of lighting is handy as it can turn corners and be cut to any length, unlike its bar light counterparts. Also, LED strip lights eliminate dead spots between light sources that arise with puck or bar lights.
Recessed cans with angled heads situated on the ceiling, close to the wall, best highlight long stretches of tile. Choose recessed cans that radiate wide beams to wash the wall in light, playing highlights against shadows to accent the textured surface.
Draw attention to the arts
Whether it’s a collage of family photos or a Renoir, there may be special pieces of art in your home you wish to highlight. Ceiling lights used to accent art should be recessed or surface mounted and allow for control over the direction of the light and wideness of its beam.
Track lights are best when the art pieces are changed often as their heads can be easily removed or moved along the track. The downside of track lighting – more of the fixture is seen.
Picture lights resemble long, thin desk lamps and are mounted to the wall or frame of the artwork itself, casting soft light down from above. Even though the fixture is exposed, picture lights create the most intimate lighting for a piece of art, naturally drawing people in for a closer look.
To minimize heat and ultraviolet (UV) light, both damaging to artwork, choose LED bulbs for your fixtures as they emit little heat and no UV light. Also be sure to keep your artwork away from the number one source of heat and UV rays – direct sunlight.
Enhance Your Soak
If you’re already trenching electrical to the site of a new hot tub, why not include some low voltage wire in that trench for uplighting a tree, a pod of bushes, or a couple of boulders. Gazing out at the soft light cast up on a favorite maple will enhance the relaxation you feel as you unwind after a long day.
When highlighting landscaping, mature trees are best spotlighted using a narrow beam to climb the trunk coupled with a wider beamed fixture to highlight branches and leaves. Give flower beds a fairytale-feel by nestling 2-to-4 watt LED lights into the dark mulch around plants, a bed of hostas becoming magical when light catches their droopy leaves. Whether it’s hostas, tall grasses, or other types of perennials, bullet lights with directional uplighting will assure you see the plants and not the fixtures.
Highlighting outdoor features should be done in bulbs with very warm color temperatures – 2700K to 3000K. These warm temperatures are ideal for adding that soothing campfire glow to your outdoor environment so you can sit back, relax, and enjoy your landscaping while you soak.
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