Getting the right look, set the right mood, and find the right size chandelier is more than just picking a design you are immediately drawn to. True, that may be exactly the chandelier you end up getting, and it may work perfectly in your space—but why take the risk when you can know for sure? […]
Do you have an upcoming home improvement project that involves electrical wiring? Before you get started on your project, you should make sure that you are following certain safety precautions to avoid electrical shock and other accidents. Taking care of projects on your own can save you money, but to ensure you are safe against potential dangers, you should take the time to understand what you are getting into. Whether you are wiring lights or connecting electrical wires, look over this list of best home electrical tips before you take out your tools and begin your renovation.
Labeling Your Circuit Panel
Before you start messing with electrical wiring in your property, you will need to know which outlets and electrical connections are connected to each other. You may need to shut off power to specific parts of your house. In order to do this, you will have to access your circuit panel. When your circuit panel was installed, there is a good chance that various rooms and outlets were labeled on the circuit panel. Over time, through renovations and changes to your home, these labels could become outdated or incorrect, especially in older homes.
Take a look at your circuit panel and see if it contains any labels. Next, go through your home identifying which locations go to each circuit breaker. To do this, turn on all your lights. You may also need to connect a lamp to an outlet to determine which circuit it is connected to. Now turn off one of your circuits on your panel and see which room the power was shut off to. Go through all the circuits, examining which rooms and electrical outlets each circuit is connected to. Add labels as you go and re-label any incorrectly marked circuits. Having a fully labeled circuit panel will help you when it comes time to shut off power to the area where you will be working.
Dealing with Light Bulbs
Every home has lights and most homeowners do not give much thought to what lights they use. When they burn out, we simply replace them and move on. If you want to ensure your light bulbs last as long as possible, there are a couple of tips that you should keep in mind.
Always purchase light bulbs that match the wattage of the light fixture. Most light fixtures are labelled with the correct wattage to use. Using a light bulb with a higher wattage than the fixture can handle could cause your light to burn out quickly. In addition to having your light bulb burn out quickly, another problem that you may encounter occasionally is broken light bulbs. It can be dangerous to attempt and remove a broken light bulb with your hand. First, turn off power to the room with the broken light, which should be easy if you have labelled your circuit panel. Now attempt to remove the light bulb using a pair of pliers. If you have difficulty using pliers, then consider using a potato to unscrew the bulb without the risk of cutting your hand.
These are just a few tips for dealing with electricity in your home. If you are ever unsure about the best way to handle a project that involves electrical wiring, you should consult with a professional or hire an experienced electrician. Safety should always be your primary concern. Do your research, and contact a professional when needed.
Pendant light fixtures are truly universal because they are easy to install and can be used virtually anywhere. They come in various shapes and sizes, but you know them by their one similarity: They hang like a pendant from the ceiling. The kitchen is a common place to hang pendant lights, especially over the kitchen island or for use as modern lighting by hanging them over the kitchen table. How many lights should hang over a kitchen island? Take a look at this guide to help you decide how many to purchase.
The number of island pendants that one kitchen should have is wholly dependent on the size of your kitchen island. There is no set rule for island sizes, but generally the smaller start at 24″ x 48″, while some go up to as many as 10′. For your buying convenience, we will start with smaller islands first and then move onto the more common sizes of six and eight feet.
Does my kitchen need a single pendant?
The 16.5″ Heirloom Scalloped Radial Shade Pendant Light is a great choice for a smaller island. It is rather large in diameter, which would light up a 24″ area easily. These pendant lights are great because they are wired for service with compact fluorescent and HID bulbs, creating a clean and bright kitchen area to work with. Pendant light fixtures can be ordered with accessories such as cast or wire guards. In addition, their shade design comes in multiple colors to match any color scheme in your home or professional kitchen area. These details can be handled when you call customer service to place your orders.
What to Do When Your Island is Longer
Six and eight feet are common sizes for kitchen islands, but many people have trouble with placing the light fixtures. It is a good idea that if you’re willing to hang pendant lighting, then you’d want to divide your island into smaller sections and hang more than one pendant. For example, if your island is six feet long, you can easily divide it into two sections by hanging two pendant lights. You need to order larger light fixtures for such a situation, like the 14″ Heirloom Opal Shade Pendant Light, so that your kitchen island is well lit. While you’re searching for the right look, consider dividing your six foot or eight foot kitchen island into thirds and hang smaller pendant lights instead. For modern lighting, take a look at the 8″ x 7″ Prairie Barn Pendant Light.
These are the perfect match for those polished stainless steel kitchens that are popular today, especially if you have a metal or concrete-industrial kitchen island. Just divide your six foot island into three equal sections and hang one of our pendant lights in the direct center above each section. If you order with us, your cookery will be stylish and complete! Eight foot kitchen islands are a bit trickier, because you don’t want to divide them into threes – however, we offer the Topeka Ribbed Glass Antique Pendant Light just for this occasion. This pretty pendant light has a rustic feel to it and a sturdy 10″ glass shade – it even has an antique vintage key on the light itself and is still designed for control by a wall switch. Once you get your kitchen island divided, make your lighting choices from our vast array of pendant lights, and get started remodeling today!
A wall sconce is a light fixture that is attached to a way that it only requires the wall for support. Wall sconces serve both aesthetic and utilitarian purposes. They are used very widely, and hallways, bathrooms, living rooms, and patios are among the countless places to add a wall sconce. There are various options to choose from when deciding to use a wall sconce. Some wall sconces have candles, while some are bulb based. Some are plugged into an outlet, while some are are battery operated.
There are, of course, pros and cons for each different kind of wall sconce. Some look like lamps, with an arm coming out from the wall and an attractive shade. They are very traditional and suit most applications. Lamp style sconces work well with pull chains and switches. They use bulbs with shades that can project the light evenly throughout the room, especially if there are a lot of them set up in the room’s perimeter. Other, fancier wall sconces might have replaceable covers. Some people may want to be able to replace the design of the sconce without touching any of the circuitry or the light sources. Some sconces resemble torches or candles, providing a more natural feel. Homes and restaurants with patios and outdoor areas compliment the outdoor aspect of a torch-like sconce. Some sconces lie flat against the wall, with light seeping out around the edges, while others direct light up with a bowl shape.
Sconces suit many different environments, including but not limited to offices, hallways, and indoor environments. Most sconces are wired to a switch, but there are some benefits to having battery-powered sconces. Unlike sconces that are hooked into your home’s wiring, battery-powered wall sconces can be more portable and may save energy. Also, a battery-operated sconce is much easier to install! Keeping a sconce separate from the room’s other light sources can be useful and stylish. It’s nice to be able to have light in just one area of the room as needed.
When buying sconce lights, it is important to have an aesthetic goal in mind. Sconce size can impact the mood of the room, and have practical considerations as well. A two-bulb wall sconce could illuminate a room in less space than two separate one-bulb sconces. This can save space in a small room and avoid cluttering the walls.
Wall sconces can be made of many different kinds of materials: Ceramic, plastic, glass, wood, and even metal. Choosing the right material for your situation is incredibly important to a room’s lighting. A blue ceramic sconce, for example, would highlight cool tones in a room, and a clear glass sconce could allow the warm light of the bulb inside to dominate the color emitted. Metal sconces offer defined, clear-cut shadows and focus light towards a certain area, while ceramic sconces dampen shadows and illuminate more spherically.
Most designers combine overhead lighting, lamps, and wall lighting to create a rich atmosphere throughout a room. For help choosing sconces, call our design consultants at 1-888-320-0630.
Are you thinking of turning your den, spare room, or even basement into a home movie theater? Taking on a media room project can be challenging, but with some planning, it’s within reach. The important elements are picture, sound, lighting, seating, and décor.
Getting a Great Picture
Projectors with 1080p playback are becoming less and less costly. A good quality 1080p projector will cost around $1,000. The Epson PowerLight Home Cinema costs about $1,300 and does the job very well. Higher end home theater projectors can cost up to $5,000 and more — your budget should determine how far you want to go when choosing a projector. It’s easy to find low- and high-end home theater projection systems at electronics stores and online.
For the screen, you can either purchase a home theater screen or simply leave one wall painted white. A bare wall isn’t the best surface for showing movies, but if your budget is limited, it can work in a pinch.
Home Theater Sound Tips
A 5.1 surround sound system is standard in a home theater system. I like the sound quality of Onkyo, because the highs and lows are pretty even. If your budget is a little higher, you might want to look into a 7.2 system. If you’re looking for a sound system with deeper lows, look into Bose. Bose is a bit more expensive than Onkyo, and its quality is arguably higher. The quality of a speaker system rises significantly with its price tag, and for good reason too. Sound is half the experience, and not-so-great sound quality can prevent a home theater room from feeling immersive and authentic.
Lighting Your Home Theater
In a real movie theater, the lights dim when the show begins. Use dimmers on your lights to make your home theater experience realistic. Slowly dim the lights to a very low brightness when the movie begins, to allow viewers’ eyes to adjust. Leave one dim light illuminated near the door to help viewers find their way to the restroom or other parts of your house in the middle of the showing.
Your room will probably have some overhead lighting in the room already. For a truly authentic theatrical look, add theater-style sconces along the walls. Bowl sconces will direct light towards the ceiling, so your viewers won’t be blinded by glare in their eyes. For those who place elegance at the top of their priorities, clean sconces with an opening at the bottom are a great idea. Not only do they project light up, they also reveal a path of more intense light below. Corner lights, on the other hand, aren’t a good idea, as the corners nearest to the screen could wash out the picture even if they’re very dim.
Creating Comfy Seating
Consider the size of the room, the size of your family, and the number of guests you’d like to invite over for screenings. If your home theater is just for you, you could go all out on a gorgeous, comfortable recliner. To entertain a few people, a couple loveseats should do the trick. To create a movie room that can accommodate larger groups, plan to have rows of chairs or, for a casual feel, beanbag seating. Ideally, row seating should be installed at different heights, just like in a real movie theater.
The best theaters are the most comfortable ones, so investing in comfortable leather seating will pay dividends. If your budget allows it, look for reclining seats and cup holders.
Decorating a Media Room
Use cool, dark colors to paint the walls. Dark blue, green, brown, and grey are all great choices. If you don’t want to invest money into a screen (which you should definitely do), you could leave one wall white. Avoid glossy paint to minimize glare and reflection, and allow viewers to focus clearly on the projected picture. Don’t forget the final touches: movie posters, memorabilia, and other keepsakes on the walls. Hang curtains around the screen and consider creating a “concession stand” with a small fridge for soda, some shelves for candy, and a popcorn maker for the most classic movie treat.
Don’t forget to stock up with classic movies, because without them, none of these tips will matter!
Been watching home improvement TV shows lately? Of course you have! They make it all look so easy and get us excited about those three little letters: DIY. Take a deep breath and a dose of reality. When it comes to home lighting projects, it’s important to think carefully about what the job requires. Only then can you make a smart decision between hiring an electrician and doing it yourself. Here’s a checklist of questions that may help you figure it out.
Do you understand electrical wiring and connections?
You don’t have to be a pro to complete simple projects, but a basic understanding of electrical outlets and wiring is essential to your safety. Do you know where your circuit breaker panel is? Do you know how to turn off the power supply to the fixture you’re working with? When you pull off the fixture and are confronted with a tangle of wires, will you know which is which? There are guides online to help explain it step by step, but look them over first and see if you can follow along or if it’s all a bit overwhelming.
If installation of a light fixture will involve switching out or rerouting cables, this adds some complexity. In this case, unless you have special knowledge of or prior experience with wiring, hiring an electrician is best.
What tools are required for the lighting installation?
DIY lighting may require particular tools. For example, to replace most fixtures you will want a wire stripper to prep the fixture for attachment to ceiling or wall electrical wiring. If you don’t have a stripper, use a utility knife in its place. A power drill makes mounting new fixtures simple and fast, but a screwdriver is a reliable option as well. We strongly recommend using a voltage tester to confirm that the power is off before you start fiddling with bare wires.
Are you adding a new fixture where none existed before, either on the wall or the ceiling? You’ll need quite a hefty list of tools, from a stud finder to a jab saw, making this an ambitious DIY lighting project.
Does your new light fixture come with mounting materials, and clear instructions?
When you pull your new sconce, ceiling light, or pendant out of the box, you might feel like a kid on Christmas morning. Put your giddiness in check, and check the box for mounting instructions and supplies. Most lights will include a mounting bracket and screws that fit the fixture. Like our stylish 13.5″ Drum Top Ceiling Light, which comes with a plate for semi-flush mounting. Your fixtures should also come with instructions showing materials included, configuration of wiring, and also the maximum wattage for lamping. Fabby’s ceiling fixture installation guide includes a clear, helpful diagram. Easy instructions make do-it-yourself lighting projects simple.
If mounting instructions are not included, the task before you becomes more challenging. Can you fit tab A into slot B based on intuition and clever guesses? Electricians have seen just about every type of fixture out there, so hiring a professional may be easier than trying to figure it out yourself.
Is there any visible damage or wear?
When working with electrical wires, wear and tear is a sign of danger. It can cause shorting and lead to an electrical fire. If you begin to replace a light fixture and notice that the hardwiring in your home looks distressed, then it’s time to hire an electrician.
As long as you disconnect power, have all the right tools, and feel comfortable with a project, DIY lighting installation is a safe and fun project. For more complicated wiring, we recommend letting your electrician take it on. Happy renovating!