I don’t want to be too controversial, but lights in the house are important. Peeing by sonar at three in the morning can be interesting occasionally, but can be messy in the long term. Picking out the right light fixture may not be as important as actually having lights, but will make or break a room. So I am just going to write a short list of lighting styles you may want to consider. Hopefully this definition based post won’t rub too many of you the wrong way. Quick side note, if you couldn’t pick up on the sarcasm in this paragraph, you are quite possibly dead inside and may want to talk to someone.
Flush Mount/ Dome Lights: These are not usually the flashy choice, and the pictured light can be picked up at Lowe’s for about $20. These are not flashy and won’t draw the eye, but will light up the area you want lit. Many of these have two light bulbs concealed under the dome, and it is usually fairly easy to change the bulb. Simply unscrew the decorative “nut” at the bottom of the dome, change the bulb and then re attach the dome. These also have less power draw than a ceiling fan or a chandelier, which could easily have dozens of lights. These also work great in rooms where you have a ceiling 8 feet high or so (Like many ceilings). In these rooms a ceiling fan or a chandelier could hand down too low and hinder walking in the room. However seeing as most of these are only about 6 inches deep, there should be few issues where your tall buddy walks into your light fixture. Picture found at Lowes.com where it is avail;able for purchase.
Recessed Lighting: This has been all the rage in the minimalist/modern movement. These are practically just exposed bulbs mounted inside the ceiling to obscure them slightly. Many of these use low wattage halogen bulbs, which can be too bright for some, but there are other options. However these may be a little too complicated to put in for the average DIY guy. Your also normally want four or so lights per room, which could be costly in wire with copper prices so high. Putting in four basic recessed lights could cost you around $150 without installation costs, so look around for deals. Amazon.com has a fairly large collection at decent prices. This picture found and the light is available at Amazon.com
Track Lighting: This has been a big trend in the last decade or two, and works exceptionally well at putting light exactly where you want it. Being able to direct the bulbs toward the darker areas of the room, eating surfaces, or toward your favorite art pieces is an appealing idea. This is an option that chandeliers, dome lights, and many recessed and ceiling fan lights don’t really have. Having 3-35 watt bulbs is more energy efficient than having 2-60 watt bulbs like you would with a dome light. These come in a large variety of options and can be a small 3-light fixture or even a 8 foot long fixture with 6 lights. Obviously 6 lights draws more power than a 3 light, but putting it on a dimmer switch can be an idea that solves that problem. On a design note, these lights tend are usually not meant to make a design impact. The small lights are meant to be ignored so you can pay attention to what they are illuminating. There are exceptions to this of course, but this is true for most small to medium sized tack lights. Picture found and light is available at Amazon.com.
Ceiling Fans: These are possibly the epitome of getting as much function out of a fixture as possible. Circulating air will almost universally make the air a more comfortable temperature. While turning the fan on in the summer has its obvious advantages, in the winter turning it on in reverse will push the hot air, which has risen to the ceiling, down to mix with the colder air. So while this will cost you more in energy compared to pure lighting fixtures, it could help you save on air conditioning and heating costs. Many also have the ability to direct the lights where you choose in the room, which has the appeal of small track lighting fixtures. When purchasing, make sure not to get one that is too big for the room. Getting a 5 foot diameter ceiling fan in an 10′ by 10′ room will be too much. It is actually around 16% of the area of the room. I would advise trying to stay in the 10-12% range. This means for tat same 10″ x 10″ room, you want to get a 42″ or 44″ fan. This picture and fan are found on Amazon.com.
Cove Lighting: This kind of lighting can be difficult to install, but does a great job at highlighting a great architectural feature in your come. This is basically a “rope” or “ribbon” of LED of fiber optic lights that is hidden in a architectural “cove” like one in a ceiling or underneath a cabinets. This is a relatively new phenomenon in homes, but has been popular in casinos for a while. The benefit, beside the architectural highlight, is that you do not have to look at exposed bulbs, However I do not know what happens if a bulb inside the “rope” goes out. There are a variety of sites that sell rope lighting, but they really haven’t moved into the neighborhood hardware stores yet. This is because most homes do not have alcove ceilings. This picture was found on phantom lighting.com and is available there or at Amazon.com
Side note: I know this chandelier doesn’t scream class and isn’t really a great endorsement for chandeliers, but I found it funny and couldn’t resist. When you start your own website, you can choose to whether or not your want to add penis shaped light fixtures.Photo found at http://www.lostateminor.com/2010/05/03/amazing-chandeliers-by-hans-van-bentem/
Chandelier: This will always be the “classy” way to do things and are pretty much a design necessity in a dining room now a days. Yes these don’t have the functionality of a ceiling fan but still usually require a special electrical box (Mounted differently to support the extra weight). They also have a lot of different bulbs that can go out and need to be replaced when they go out and take up more electricity. As a man who usually thumbs the bible of functionality, it is hard to endorse paying $150 or more for something that will accomplish the same thing a dome light will for $20. However as someone who looks are interior design sites often, I know that it is better not to think of a chandelier as a under-functional light fixture, but rather a functional piece of art. This is a chance to show off your personality with a grand gesture.