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Pendant Lighting Placement Guide for the Kitchen

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.

Size Matters!

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.

When placing pendant lights, consider the usable space that needs lighting first. Three 16" dia. fixtures is more than enough to illuminate this custom 84" breakfast bar.

When placing pendant lights, consider the usable space that needs lighting first.
Three 16″ dia. fixtures is more than enough to illuminate this custom 84″ breakfast bar.

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.

Look to warehouse shades and barnlights to add industrial design elements to your kitchen.

Look to pendants with warehouse shades and barnlights to add industrial design elements to your kitchen.

 

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!

 

 

What is a Vanity Light?

A vanity light, also known as a vanity bar, is a long light fixture mounted above the bathroom mirror. The counter and mirror are the focal point of the bathroom, and vanity lighting draws attention to this important spot. Vanity lights and vanity bars come in a range of shapes, sizes, and colors. And since […]

What is a Wallchiere?

A burnt orange midcentury sofa with two wallchieres.

Wallchieres offer a fresh approach to lighting, combining the vertical lines of a torchiere lamp and the wall-mounted convenience of a sconce.

“Wallchiere” is the clever term for a wall-mounted lamp that resembles a free-standing torchiere lamp. Attached to a wall like a sconce, it usually has one of two functions: spreading light out or directing light upwards. Like a torchiere, it is usually tall and slender, like a torch.

Wallchiere with a twig and vine pattern

The Twigs Wallchiere has a vine shape that adds style to any decor.

 

Why Choose a Wallchiere?

A wallchiere combines the best features of a wall sconce and a torchiere floor lamp. This combination of features can be advantageous. Choose a wallchiere instead of a torchiere if you want a light attached to the wall, and choose it over a wall sconce if you want soft shadows or upward lighting.

A wallchiere is a good addition to a room that would otherwise lack intricate design. There are modern and vintage styled wallchieres available. Try the Dekora style two-lamp wallchiere for a perfect solution for any lighting dilemma. A wallchiere’s shade is often made of ceramic, as this material type is a good choice as a light diffuser. The Diploma style wallchiere is perfect for formal settings. Combine two with a dimmer for a perfect dining room experience. For a more traditional one-lamp experience, the Twigs style is a good choice. It wholly diffuses light, warming the atmosphere with the deep color of the lampshade.

Keep an eye out for wallchieres with additional features. Our Studio and Gallery Style wallchieres include picture frames, so you know your beloved photos will get the spotlight they deserve. The Loft Wallchiere includes shelves, perfect for holding keepsakes or even books.

Wallchiere with picture frames

The Gallery Style Wallchiere holds three photos, as well.

 

Where Should You Use a Wallchiere?

Use a wallchiere wherever you would use a wall sconce. Convert a plain bathroom into a more fancy one by attaching small wallchieres near the vanity to warm up the view in the mirror. Add two wallchieres (with a dimmer) around a fireplace to focus attention on it. Dim the light to a level comparable to the fire to intensify the aesthetics of the heat.

Instead of a corner torchiere, attach a wallchiere to all corners of a room to avoid pesky shadows and to allow space for furniture and decor. Use it instead of a corner wall sconce to direct light away from the middle, instead of towards it. This could come in handy when hosting an event with a larger audience. The diffused light will remove any unnecessary spotlight from individual people and avoid harsh glare.

You can use wallchieres outdoors, too. Using a torchiere in an outdoor situation isn’t practical, and might be a liability because of wires and wind. Instead, attach a wallchiere to an outside patio — one that looks like a torch or a candle — to add more exotic flavor. They’re also dramatic on the façade of a retail business or restaurant.

Wallchieres are relatively new on the design scene. Because of their versatility and fresh look, they should be a top choice when planning a room’s lighting.

What is a Wall Sconce?

A living room with couch and wall sconces

Clean, contemporary sconces can add dramatic light to any room. Consider pairing them on either side of a couch or bed.

Vintage two bulb wall sconce

This traditional wall sconce resembles two candles.

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.

Ceramic wall sconce in a ribbon shape

This ribbon wall sconce is made from ceramic and has a classic look.

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.

How to Create a Home Theater Room

Whether you want a simple media room or go for a complex home theater, these tips will get you started.

Whether you want a simple media room or go for a complex home theater, these tips will get you started.

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.

Bowl sconce for home theater

Theater sconces with dimming switches give a home theater authentic ambiance.

 

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.

Home theater with rows of seating and a wall sconce

Create rows of seating so everyone can enjoy the show. Image from wikiHow.

 

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!

Can Halogen, LED, and Fluorescent Bulbs be Dimmed?

Packaging for a GE dimmable CFL bulb

When shopping for a dimmable bulb, check the packaging to make sure it can be dimmed.

There are many different kinds of lights on the market today. Three of the most popular are Halogen, Florescent, and LED. Each of these three types of lights has its pros and cons. Some bulbs have better energy saving features while some bulbs will have stronger outputs.

But can these bulbs be dimmed? Home, office, and even public environments often require different light levels at different times, and being able to identify the right bulb to use for different situations could save time, money, and embarrassment. Not to mention add a touch of style to your home lighting. Here are the details on the new generation of energy-efficient dimmable bulbs.

Can halogen bulbs be dimmed?

Halogen is an incandescent lamp with a tungsten filament — similar to the regular incandescent we’ve all grown with. The bulb is filled with halogen gas (unlike the traditional incandescent). As the bulb heats up, tungsten from the filament evaporates through the halogen gas in the bulb and deposits on the inside of the glass “wall.” The halogen gas then carries those tungsten particles back to the filament and re-deposits them. For this reason, halogen bulbs often have much longer lives than regular traditional incandescent ones.

All halogen bulbs can be dimmed, and finding a dimmer for halogen bulbs should be easy. Most dimmers are compatible with halogen bulbs. As long as the light and the dimmer are compatible, the bulb will be able to dim to most frequencies — but at the cost of a shorter life. You will have to replace a dimmable halogen bulb more often, so keep that additional maintenance in mind.

Packaging for an LED bulb that can be dimmed

It’s easy to find an LED light bulb that can be dimmed. Most LED bulbs are dimmable.

 

Can you dim LED bulbs?

LED lights are a more recent invention; they use a lot less wattage than incandescent bulbs for the same amount of output. An LED bulb with comparable output to a 60-watt incandescent uses less than 8 watts — a huge power-saving improvement! They are much more expensive than incandescent and florescent bulbs, but can last decades. An $80 LED bulb can last more than ten years and save tons of energy (and money) in the long run; a $7 incandescent bulb may last a fraction of the time and eat up much more power. In other words, your cost-per-year is much lower with a long-lasting LED bulb.

Most LED bulbs can be dimmed. Simply check the packaging to verify its dimming capability. Some LED bulbs turn off at the lowest dimming setting; this seems to be less of an issue as LED technology improves through time. In order to maximize the quality of your LED lights’ dimming, look for dimmers that are made for LED’s.

Are fluorescent lights dimmable?

Fluorescent lights work with a constant electrical current flowing through ionized gas in a bulb. This is why they take a few minutes to turn on and brighten. For the same reason, most florescent lights, bulbs, and strips cannot be dimmed. But don’t despair! There are special florescent lights that can be dimmed. According to EnergyStar.gov, CFLs dim a bit differently than incandescents. They will dim to 10-40% of the light’s full brightness, but will not dim all the way to darkness.

Dimmable fluorescent bulbs are expensive, and won’t work with traditional halogen dimmers. They require special florescent dimmers. To check if a florescent bulb is capable of dimming, a quick look at its packaging will often do the trick.

DIY Lighting or Hire an Electrician?

Installing a ceiling light fixture

Installing a new light fixture can be a fun DIY project, or a nightmare better handled by a pro.

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?

Using a screwdriver to adjust a light switch

You may have all the tools around the house, or the project may require an electrician’s tool bag.

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!

Recycling, Donating & Storing Your Christmas Lights

Strings of Christmas Lights, wound up for storage

Recycle, donate, or store your Christmas light strings

Getting with the holiday program entails a lot of joyful shopping, wrapping and lighting. You know, deck the halls! But after the last Christmas cookie is gobbled down and we begin to think about the New Year our households are often left with storage debacles and waste. Where to put all the stuff and how to dispose of old or unneeded items?

One item that always seems to show up on the list of post-holiday hassles is Christmas lights. Depending on what you’re working with – working lights to keep, extra light strings you don’t need anymore, or non-working strands to be disposed of – you have several options: recycling, donating, and carefully storing.

Recycling Christmas Lights that No Longer Work

Workers recycling Christmas lights

Every year, workers shred Christmas light strings to recycle them.

Festive American families love to decorate with tons of holiday light strands. This means multiple seasons of coiling, uncoiling, stringing and sometimes 24/7 displays of lighted bulbs. Even the heaviest duty Christmas lights have a lifespan which leads to the question of where lights go after they’ve expired.

This holiday season we recommend recycling Christmas lights that no longer work. The Christmas light recycling process sounds rough and merciless. Strings are loaded into giant shredders, whose sharp teeth reduce them to tiny bits of plastic, glass, and copper wire. All those little pieces are then cleaned and sorted, so they can be melted down and used to manufacture new strings of lights.

Your usual recycling pick-up probably won’t handle Christmas lights, but there may exist a number of options for free drop-off of old or damaged lights. Some home improvement businesses take old strands and there are also free recycling centers for Christmas lights. For more details, check your city’s government website or search the web for local options.

Donating Christmas Light Strings

The holidays are a special time for us all. For families who are struggling with unemployment, poverty or the loss of a family member though, the arrival of Christmas can equal stress and pressure to make ends meet. Few things lift spirits higher than the simple hanging of bright and twinkling lights on an evergreen tree or in the frame of a window.

If you open up decoration storage this season and notice lights to spare then why not brighten the home of another family? Check with area shelters, non-profit organizations or businesses that organize holiday drives of goods and decorations and give the gift of dazzling light.

Storing Your Christmas Lights for Next Year

Getting the most out of Christmas lights is a cinch with just a little extra effort. As you pack up after each holiday, remove light strands from your tree and other displays with patience – taking care to avoid knots, breaks and pinches. Use cardboard from gift deliveries to wind strands around as you unravel from the tree. This not only keeps strands flat and organized but it is also a smart way to reuse materials. Or purchase Christmas light reel and bag sets for simple winding around a spool.

Put smart storage and handling of Christmas tree light recycling on the holiday to-do list this winter. You and generations of Christmas-lovers to come will be glad you did!