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Home Lighting - Important but Overlooked Aspects

Home lighting is something that doesn't get the attention it deserves. There are so many TV shows that focus on home remodeling projects, and speak very little about the lighting. Most magazines that pertain to home remodeling also don't do the lighting aspect justice. There are some publications whose primary focus is lighting but they are generally geared towards lighting professionals.

Just because it isn't given a lot of attention, don't let that mislead you into thinking it isn't important. One reason this happens is many general contractors, cabinetmakers and kitchen designers don't educate the customer on lighting importance, or don't know themselves. What they fail to realize is how a good lighting plan can actually enhance their design and craftsmanship. Time and again I see beautiful built in units, entertainment units and bookcases that had a tremendous amount of planning and labor put into them, and yet not one ounce of thought into the lighting.

If your wondering why should they, when the lighting can just be added later. That may be true in some cases, but too many times it is hard to make it work later. Let's take a bookcase for example. A floor to ceiling end-to-end bookcase is nice but picture the same unit with each shelf illuminated. Without having that in mind, the cabinet may be built without any lip above each shelf for the light to be hidden behind. A wall unit that is going to have some open or glass door display spaces really screams for lighting. The problem arises when a unit like this is installed without some forethought into the lighting and no prep work was done, it may be near impossible to add it later.

Kitchens are another example where planning a good lighting scheme beforehand is critical. I can't tell you how many times I get called into a kitchen that was installed and the customer now wants to add under cabinet lighting. Same thing applies to inside glass cabinets. These are things a kitchen designer should bring to the attention of the customer during the planning phase.

Interior decorators also need to have a good working knowledge of lighting and it's effects. All kinds of great looking fabrics and wall hangings can really beautify a house. Without a lighting plan to compliment it, that great design is only beautiful when the sun is out. Since most people entertain at twilight or after the sun has gone down, lighting can make all the difference.

There is almost no home remodeling project that won't be enhanced with a good lighting plan. Hopefully you'll see the light!

(c)copyright Paul Forte 2005

Paul Forte is a licensed electrical contractor with over 25 years of experience in residential lighting. If you would like some lighting ideas for your project contact Paul or visit his website

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