How to Home Theater Lighting

Home theater systems came as a boon to the cinema aficionados who couldn’t make it to the theater every time they wanted to experience the excellent audiovisual amenities of the movie halls. Since they first became popular in the 1950s, technological advancements have made watching movies in your home just as real as watching one in a movie theater. The real experience of a home theater is complete when the proper lighting complements the superior picture and sound quality. Some people have gone to the extent of dedicating an entire room to their theater system.

Tips

When it comes to installing lights in a movie room, most prefer to keep it dim. From wall sconces to fiber optics, there are many choices for the more passionate viewer.

Wall Sconces
Wall sconces are a great option that add to the mood of watching a movie. Their soft lights create the perfect ambiance that neither diminishes the essence of the movie nor do they strain the eyes. Wall sconces that come in a variety of shapes and designs provide soft backdrop lighting that add a touch of class to any movie room. These devices create a dimming effect with the help of a plastic covering or translucent glass that diffuses the light, or the metal shell that reflects the light back onto the wall. Some manufacturers also make themed wall sconces to help create the perfect atmosphere.

Recessed Lighting
Also referred to as pot lighting, recessed lighting is installed in inaccessible places in a room, generally inside a ceiling. They direct light at the ceiling, towards a wall, or any other area of the room. This helps to reduce the glare of the bulb.

LEDs
Light emitting diodes, or LEDs, have come a long way from being used in microwaves and VCRs due to their dim light output. Nowadays, LED lights are bright enough to replace normal lights. However, their small size and low electricity requirements mean that they can be used in rope lights and cove lighting that would perfectly complement the mood of a movie room.

Accent Lighting
This refers to installing a low-voltage light behind the couch or the screen, which emits a soft glow that is soothing to the eyes. Having it behind the screen will give a sense of depth to the image, this reduced the strain on your eyes. Certain television manufacturers have provided specific television models with accent lighting features that change color according to the theme of the image being displayed on the screen.

Fiber-optics
Fiber-optics can be used for numerous designs. The most common of these is creating a night sky that is lit by numerous glittering stars. A fiber-optic ceiling can be installed by purchasing pre-manufactured panels available in the market, or you can use a kit to do it yourself.

Explore More Technology

If you use wall dimmers, these could be replaced with dimmers that are operated with a remote control. Installing voice controlled switches could be another great idea. These switches could function as normal switches and can be programed to respond to your voice.

While choosing the lighting equipment, keep in mind what your movie room looks like. A projector works best with no lights, as additional light sources will produce a glare. Flat screens and plasma televisions distribute light more evenly with less glare. Hence, these work best for those who want to have some sources of surrounding light for their movie room.

Decorate a Living Room on a Budget Tips

Decorating your living room is like giving it an instant face lift or a makeover. You dust out the old and bring in the new, giving the room a fresh, new look. The task is challenging, as the renovations should reflect your personality and your unique sense of style and fashion, and at the same time be able to radiate a cozy and comfort feeling. The task becomes tougher when you need to do all this on a tight budget. Keep these few things in mind to prevent yourself from straying away from your budget or your plans.

Wall Paint: This is the simplest as well as the most inexpensive way to enhance the look of your living room. Select a color which is totally different from the existing color. Another idea is to paint one of the walls with your favorite color and make it the focal point of the room. It can be accentuated further with a nice wall hanging or by placing an elegant piece of furniture near it.

Floor Coverings: You can get rid of the dull look of the floors by replacing it with beautiful carpets and colorful rugs. These will not cost you much and you will have a wide variety of options in terms of colors and designs. You can opt for those that suit the overall ambiance of your living room. Place a number of rugs of various colors all over the room and give it a new lease of life.

Furniture: You know that for new furniture, you have to shell out a good amount of money. So you can purchase second hand furniture from garage sales. No need to buy bulky sofa sets as they will be more expensive. Rather, opt for small comfortable chairs which are far less costly. Polish them or paint them and they will look like new furniture. You can utilize your old living room furniture as well. Simply rearrange them in a new order and you will find that the room looks so different. Unlike the usual square position, keep them in an angular pattern and notice the difference it makes. Another easy way to make the old furniture look attractive is to change the upholstery. You can buy new slip covers for your couch, new cushion covers, a throw rug for your coffee table, and use them to decorate your furniture. These will just cost you a fraction of the total cost of furniture.

Wall Decorations: A beautiful piece of wall art can make the walls more appealing. Frame up a collage of beautiful pictures in an attractive frame and hang it up. Mirrors with nice frames can also serve as a piece of wall decoration. Another advantage of using mirrors on the wall is that it make the room look more spacious. Window treatments like curtains with attractive designs can add softness to the living room decoration. Wall sconces can also be used for the same purpose.

House Plants: Houseplants can make your living room look classy. It gives a closer-to-nature kind of feeling. Arrange a few potted plants in one or two corners of the room. The greens of the plants add a sense of liveliness to the atmosphere of the room and can also cover up flaws, if any.

Since you are redecorating on a budget, you need to use your own creative and innovative ideas very efficiently. In this article, we have just shared some ideas that you can modify according to your needs. One thing to be kept in mind, is that you should use the available space in such a way that it does not give a cluttered look to the room.

Choose Decorative and Exquisitely Ornate Light Fixtures Tips

Decorative lighting is what we are most familiar with; this includes the chandelier hanging over the dining table and the 2 lanterns flanking the front door. Their job is to create some visual sparkle, what I like to call architectural jewelry.
―Randall Whitehead, Residential Lighting Expert
It has been found that lighting is one of the most overlooked aspects of home décor. Why? Because it is used mainly for functional purposes, and even then, not appropriately in most cases. We don’t realize that we have been working in bad light unless we find ourselves in a zone with better light while doing the same task. And lighting is not just about function; it aids aestheticism, and in this regard, the fixture plays a critical role. It can become the focal point of a room, it can be used to adorn lone spots in large rooms, it can bring a dim hallway to life, and it can make a pillar that is overlooked, the center of attention. So, how do you go about buying the right fixture?
The Function of Light
It is vital that we understand the effect that light has on us before we invest in fixtures that are, more often than not, quite heavy on the pocket. Lighting affects mood. Bright lights create alertness, vibrancy, and energy. Dim lights soothe and relax the mind, and even create an ambiance of romance. Dull lights are energy killers and lull the mind into a state of gloom. And while decorative light fixtures are meant to enhance the visual appeal of a room, they can contribute to each one of these emotions.
How to Choose Decorative Light Fixtures
To put it briefly, a good light fixture:

Can highlight the focal point of a room, or become the focal point itself.

Can highlight accent features without overshadowing the focal point.

Can serve as a standalone piece of décor.

Will be functional as well as visually appealing.
Has the ability to create a dynamic environment with diffusion, reflection, shadows, and light. This depends on the material used―metal and glass for reflection and sparkle, opaque or translucent shades/holders for glow.

Will not overshadow the visual appeal of the room―it will either blend in seamlessly or enhance it to make a statement.
Purpose
Every lighting fixture has some purpose, and no one fixture can fulfill ALL purposes, though one fixture can fulfill more than one purpose. So, the technique to implement here is light layering, i.e., putting together different types of lights so that your room is perfectly illuminated. While doing so, it is important that natural light sources also be taken into account to avoid overdoing the light and creating a harsh, uncomfortable environment. There are four types of lighting.
Task Lighting: Lighting for functional purposes such as reading, studying, etc. Such lights include desk lamps, pendant lamps, or under-cabinet lights in kitchens.
Ambient Lighting: Soft lighting that alters the appearance of a room and gives it more warmth. It usually bounces off surfaces (ceilings/walls/floors) to create a glow. Opaque fixtures often fulfill this purpose.
Accent Lighting: Lighting that adds depth to a room and highlights its features, such as artwork or an architectural detail. Directional lights, such as wall lights, are best used for this purpose.
Decorative Lighting: Lighting only for decorative purposes through fixtures such as chandeliers. These are generally not used as task lights.
While these are the basic layers of lights, it is possible that any of them fulfill more than one purpose. These functions will also help you decide upon the positioning of the fixtures.

Types of Light Fixtures
Chandeliers
Chandeliers are great choices not only to add to the décor of the room, but to alter the way the room appears in terms of the height. For instance, if you have a very low ceiling, fix a chandelier that throws light upwards. This gives the feeling of a raised ceiling. Alternately, if you have a high ceiling, a chandelier that throws light downwards will visually reduce the height of the room, and give it a more cozy feel. When placing chandeliers above dining tables, ensure that they are at least 30″ above the surface of the table.

Pendant lights
Pendant lights are not only decorative, they function as great task lights. For instance, when placed above the kitchen island, they can make for an interesting style statement as well as allow the function of kitchen activities.

Table Lamps
Table lamps are best used for ambient lighting. To create a soft, diffused glow, use table lamps with opaque shades that reflect light above and below.

Floor lamps
Floor lamps serve the same purpose as table lamps, except that they can make grander statements because of their height and the very interesting shapes they are available in.

Wall-mounted Sconces
Wall-mounted sconces also work to create ambient lighting. However, that is not all. Place multiple sconces that throw light both above and below in a long hallway to illuminate the passage and visually reduce its length, or next to mirrors to avoid the shadow cast on your face that occurs due to overhead lighting.

Directional Lights
Used directly around features to be highlighted, directional lights are great as task lights and for highlighting artwork such as sculptures. Dimmer directional lights may be used to highlight paintings/photographs to prevent glare on the glass.
Theme of the Room
The style of light fixtures should be in keeping with the theme of the room.

  • Placement of the Lights
    The placement of light fixtures requires some considerations to be followed. Any decorative light fixture:
  • Should not hinder movement
  • Should fulfill their purpose-accent, ambiance, task
  • Should have appropriate electrical points or plug points (if applicable)
  • Should be able to withstand the vagaries of the outdoors (if purchasing for landscaping, patios, etc.)
  • Should be hung at the appropriate height from the ceiling (e.g. at least 30″ – 36″ above dining table/kitchen island)
  • Should be placed such that they do not hinder your function (e.g. place wall sconces beside mirrors instead of a single one atop, to avoid shadows)

Types of Lights the Fixtures will Support
Find out what types of light the fixture will support (e.g. LED, incandescent bulbs, CFLs), and ensure that it is easily available. Also, check what wattage of light is best suited to the fixture. It should not be too dull, but it should not burn through the fixture and become too harsh or even affect the fixture itself. For light fixtures that can serve more than one purpose, choose those that have a dimming feature so that you can adjust the light according to your needs when necessary. This can apply to chandeliers, pendant lamps, and floor and table lamps.

Size
The size of the fixture should be proportionate to the size of the room it will be placed in along with its furniture. It shouldn’t be oversized so that it is the only visible element, nor should it be so small that it loses its identity and becomes a meaningless accessory in the room.
This oversized chandelier for such a small dining area sticks out like a sore thumb.

Budget
If you have already started looking into purchasing decorative light fixtures, you may have come to terms with the fact that this is a purchase that should be planned so that it doesn’t hit your budget. But just because you have your heart set upon a fixture that isn’t in your budget, you shouldn’t be disheartened. Consider purchasing these fixtures over time and building up your collection. Look for online clearance sales; you can find amazing discounts on these websites for sure.

How to Pick the Right Wallpaper to Refresh the Look of Your Home

Trending!
Grasscloth and metallic wallpapers are the raging trends this year. While grasscloth adds unique texture to walls, and is eco-friendly, metallics add vibrancy to a room by reflecting light.
Even the best designers often have difficulty choosing a wallpaper to add the final touch to a room that they have designed with so much attention and care. Because even they know that this wallpaper has to complete the vision they had in mind, not ruin it. So, how do they go about the process? How do you, as a home owner, decide what you’re going to put, how it is going to look, how you’re going to maintain it, and what you’re going to do if you don’t like what you see for a long time? Let us tell you how to choose the right wallpaper.

Following a logical series of steps will help you decide which wallpaper is going to transform your home from dull or lacking that zing to a vibrant, classy, or simply sleek space.

Where’s the Wallpaper Going?

Will the wallpaper refine the rustic living room, or add a graphic dimension to an eclectic one?

  • Which room are you putting the wallpaper in? This decides the appearance of the wallpaper. It also decides the durability. Will it be able to withstand the happenings in a kid’s room, or can a delicate one be left alone in an adult’s room?
  • Which wall is it going to be placed on? This is important if you decide to wallpaper just one part of the room, and whether it is meant to serve as a feature to highlight something placed against it.
  • Are the walls wide and short or narrow and tall? This will decide the print and pattern of the wallpaper-small for small walls, and bold for larger walls.
  • Does it receive a lot of sunlight? This decides the durability you need from the wallpaper. Standard pieces do not fade that easily in natural sunlight. However, some might. Check for this before you purchase it.

How Do You Imagine it to Look?
The palette of wallpapers is huge, and choosing a wallpaper is definitely more tedious than choosing a paint color, simply because, along with color, a wallpaper also offers patterns and textures. So, how do you imagine the space to look with a wallpaper? There are certain features that you can find in the variety available out there.

Do you wish for the wallpaper to have big, bold designs?
Bold designs look good only in a big room, and may even provide the illusion of cozying it down. In a small room they will give the illusion of constricted space.

  • Would you like the wallpaper to have texture so that it may add a third dimension to the room?
  • Do you want it to be reflective so that the room looks brighter with natural light?
  • Do you want a simple wallpaper just to break the monotony of your room?
  • Do you want the paper to have metallic colors and elements to add a touch of bling to the room?
  • Do you want it to have fine, small designs? In a large room, this will not be noticeable. However, in a small room, it will stand out perfectly, and provide the change you are looking for. Using light colors will provide the illusion of space in a small area.
  • Do you want the illusion of height or width? For height, choose vertical striped wallpapers, and for width, choose horizontal striped papers.
  • Do you like the simplicity of floral designs, the daintiness of damask designs, or the boldness of graphical designs? Go by your gut feeling about what will look good-it is usually right
  • With the look comes maintenance, so if you want a durable wallpaper that can handle the wrath of nature or even little kids, always opt for vinyl. It offers you a world of textures and patterns without the heavy price. It can be easily scrubbed and cleaned, which is a big bonus.

How Are You Going to Use It?
Do you want the wallpaper to cover up the entire room?

If the design is bold, this may become a little difficult to absorb over time. In such a case, you can break the continuity by using moldings, frames, or even a chair rail at appropriate points. If you already have a chair rail, you can use wallpaper only on one side of it. The other option is to use a simple wallpaper that is not overpowering-a wallpaper that blends into the room, yet gives it a unique identity.
Do you want to make a statement by highlighting only certain portions of the room?

If you think the wallpaper will become too much to handle, use it in bits and pieces. Break it up into patches, and paste it on offset or inset walls or panels. The drama these bits add is immense, and you can get a new look without having to invest too much or redo the entire space.
Do you wish to create a more dramatic look by combining two wallpapers?

It may seem overwhelming but if done well, it can look out of this world. This would be ideal for just one long wall in a room, where you can break the length by using two wallpapers-one with a bold pattern, and another with a bit of texture to balance it.

Who’s Going to Apply It?

  • While some of the application can be done yourself, in most cases, it is best to hire a professional for the job.
  • Standard, pre-pasted (which require to be dipped in water to activate the paste), peelable (those that have a backing and are easy to remove once pasted), and dry-strippable (can be removed entirely) varieties are available for the DIYer. The last two are particularly great for those who intend to redecorate with wallpaper sooner than later.
  • Hiring a professional is a good option when you intend to paste wallpaper with large patterns and have to match them. Most DIYers go wrong while matching patterns. They may also be required for papers that have texture which is difficult to apply.

How Much Wallpaper Do You Need?

  • Wallpaper roll widths vary among manufacturers. However, the rough average size of a single roll wallpaper is about 21 in. (width) x 16.5 ft. (height). Most professionals will be able to tell you exactly how much is needed. If purchasing online, most websites have calculators to tell you the number of rolls you will need.
  • To determine how much you will need, measure the square footage of the area you are going to cover. Measure the width and height of the area, and multiply it to get the square footage. If you intend to use bits and pieces in different areas, calculate the square footage independently and add it up.
  • Always purchase an extra roll to account for wastage or touch ups. This will also ensure that you have wallpaper from the same lot without any color, print, or pattern variations.

Having worked out all of this, sit down and create a palette of wallpaper samples for yourself. Put them together, and see which one really calls out to you; which one you think will genuinely work in your space. If you find something you like, order a sample and put it up in a frame on the wall for a few days. Let it stay there and grow on you. If it doesn’t, you know it’s not the right choice. If it does, what more could you want? Still not sure? There’s always professional help and advice. When in doubt, do not think twice before asking questions. Wallpaper is an expensive investment, so do all you can to get it right in the first go.