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Lights n more: LED Light Bars Blog

Redesign Your Small Laundry Room with LED Lights

02/18/2017
Posted by John Ross

Unless you have kids, generally speaking, a small laundry room isn’t an issue for you. But for those families who do have children, perhaps even multiple children, the rush to keep the laundry going on a daily basis is real. The terror that grips us all when we’ve been away and realize that there are 6 loads of laundry to be done before school the next morning is real. The frustration with the child who changes clothes three times a day…don’t even get me started.


When redesigning your laundry room, remember that this is truly the one area of the house where utility is significantly more important then style…of course, that doesn’t mean throw style out with the bath water! First, if you’re going to upgrade the laundry room, you should upgrade your washer and dryer. Consumer Reports does a special every year on washing machines and every year (it seems) they find that front loaders are the most water efficient and do a better job cleaning clothes than a top loader.

An easy way to maximize space, even if you can’t do the pull out cabinets, is to buy a laundry bin that has all three slots. This allows you to effectively separate colors, lights and towels/sheets. If you get a front loading machine, you can hang a ¼” rod so that you have a spot to hang clothes above the washer and dryer.

Build cabinets on both sides against the wall. This will serve two functions: 1) extra storage space; and 2) a great place to have lighting so that you can see what you’re doing. You can use track lighting with LED lights that run underneath. It sounds crazy, but making sure you can see helps with cleaning and keeping everything tidy.

I also like to use small baskets or containers as organizers. I put items that are alike in each of them. They well work in cabinets or on a counter top.

Source: http://www.lushome.com/20-space-saving-ideas-for-functional-small-laundry-room-design/171197

River Rock in the Bathroom

02/18/2017
Posted by John Ross

Are you looking for a truly unique design idea? Think that you’ve seen them all? Not so fast. Designers are getting more and more clever every day. You are probably used to seeing river rocks used in the front entry or even the garden, but how about the bathroom?

Using river rocks is a common technique used by home designers when they are trying to create a sense of tranquility. This is why we see frequent use of river rocks outside and in gardens. But that moment of Zen does not have to lie solely out of the house. Designers are beginning to bring this flavor to all parts of the home, including using it as a backsplash in the kitchen or even a head board in the bedroom.

What really made me stand up and take notice, however, was the use of the river rock in the shower.

For some of us, this is where our best ideas occur! As you start to think about your next bathroom remodel job, take a look at this fantastic design. We love the dark wood flooring surrounding the shower here. It really provides a contrast between the lighter browns and river rock. Although the bathroom has spectacular natural light, make sure that what ever LED lighting option you choose will bring out the best in the river rock.

Another neat lighting option might be to light the river rock from underneath, in much the same way that a pool might be lit. The design could include some earthy greens and blues that would reflect off the shower glass. These stylish ideas are less utilitarian and more an attempt to create a unique atmosphere.

The river rock provides a great border around the slats, really helping to distinguish them and yet still tying them to the marble wall.

Source: http://www.architecturendesign.net/35-amazing-ideas-adding-river-rocks-to-your-home-design/

Craftsman Living Room

02/18/2017
Posted by John Ross

Did you move into a home where the previous owner made it completely devoid of character? Restore your home to its original glory by returning its intricate wainscoting and crown molding. Many flippers came in during the recession and bought distraught properties. The homes that they bought were dilapidated. They ripped up carpet, threw down some laminate, re-painted and called it good.


In the process, however, they killed originality and craftsmanship. Craftsman style homes, marked by gables and porches on the outside, a fireplace with built-in bookshelves and crown molding inside. The fireplace is often the best place to start when refurbishing your living room. Even though wood fires have lost their luster, fireplaces, themselves, still serve as the focal point for the living room and so it’s a great place to start.

It’s important to consider your lighting scheme throughout the project. On our renovation projects, we often opt for LED candles to place on the mantle above the fireplace. This helps to bring elegance and will tie the fireplace to any piece of artwork that you have hanging above.

Fireplaces are generally framed by built-in book cases. In the last few decades we have turned them into entertainment centers, using them as TV stand and storage space for our audio equipment. If you aren’t using it as an entertainment center, having recessed lighting with LED lights provides a warm environment for turning the space into a reading nook. Alternatively, you can put a wing-back chair in the corner where the book case and walls meet with a nice reading lamp for the extra, comfortable feeling.

One last important touch is the crown molding or wainscoting. These elegant touches had lost favor for a few years but they are now trending again. They work well with framing doors and windows to create a cohesive flow throughout the room and home.

Exposed Beam Ceiling Lights

02/18/2017
Posted by John Ross

Lighting a dining room can be extremely challenging. One of the biggest challenges can be making sure that the light fixture works with the rest of the décor. Lately, exposed beams started trending in the interior design industry. It can be hard to find ceiling lights that accentuate the rustic nature of the exposed beams while still making sure that the eating area is appropriately illuminated.

We’ve scoured the internet and found a beautiful ceiling light on Etsy for $375, but we think that we can make one of our own. Get out your DIY gloves, and watch as we go to town on this Etsy-inspired, rustic, LED-lit chandelier.


Materials:

  • 4”x6” – 4 Feet Long Green Con Redwood Post
  • 6-8 LED Lights
  • Drills, Screws & Bits
  • Bolts

Start off by making sure that redwood post is the right length for your table, cutting it to the size that you want if necessary. Next step is to weather it. This is another trend that is taking off. As more clients seek to blend modern designs with industrial tastes, the weathered look is increasingly popular. To “distress” the beam, take a hammer, nails or a pipe and pound away at the post a bit.

Next, Stain the post with a Minwax Dark Walnut and then sand it down. You may use any color you want to paint over the stain. Use a dry brush technique to paint the beam; once you apply the paint, use a steel wool pad to sand the beam down creating that weathered look. You can re-stain the wood if you choose, but it’s not necessary.

The next step is to put the lights on. You can see in the picture above that they simply drape the LED lights over the beam itself. I like this approach for a couple of reasons. First, it adds to an artsy, industrial feel. Secondly, it minimizes the need for an electrician to wire it in.

Once you’ve decided on where you want it, hang it from a beam. Make sure that you use a mount rated for the weight of the beam or it could come crashing down…which would be bad. Overall, creating your own ceiling lights is a pretty simple project to do.

Mood Lighting: Candles or LED Lights?

02/18/2017
Posted by John Ross

When you are trying to set the mood, what type of lighting do you prefer? Candles or LED lights? The traditionalist in me says that it has to be the candle. Gazing into your partner’s eyes across the table; the wax slowly pooling at the wick, and then slowly snails its way down the candle. We’ve all seen the movies and read the books; there isn’t anything more romantic.

Of course, all of that dripping wax is a fire hazard. And don’t believe anyone who tells you that it’s easy to get off once it dries…it isn’t. Plus, don’t they make wax candles out of whale blubber? How, as a modern man, can I expect to woo someone while Shamu is slowly melting in front of me. The thought of killing a poor whale just to make a candle is a non-starter for me. For these, and many other reasons, I’m no longer using candles.

I’ve graduated to recessed lighting with LED light bulbs. Although they can be a little harsher, put those babies on a dimmer and they set the mood just fine. Set the table and then dim those puppies. It sets the mood just fine. Still, there is a hint of elegance that is lost.

And then my world changed…fake candles. They now make LED lights that look like a flame. They now make battery operated candles! And in different colors!! Now instead of having to choose either function or looks, I get to have both. There is literally a candle for every type of occasion; and they will last for hours and hours, instead of just a couple of meals. It’s really one of my happiest finds in a long time!

LED Lighting for Your Outdoor Space

02/18/2017
Posted by John Ross

If you’re like most people, you don’t know exactly what to do with your outdoor space. Everyone has flowers and plants, but the question becomes how to make it special – how to really make it sing. We’ve always imagined eating outside in at an Italian café and now, with a few improvements, you can feel you do!


Not everyone has a pergola in their backyard. The good news is that they are relatively easy to build and they don’t necessarily need to be all that big. The purpose of a pergola is to add a little bit of shade and class to an outside environment. They work best – and look absolutely beautiful – when there are climbing vines laced along the top, providing a welcome respite from the sun. I like to use the clematis, wisteria or in wine regions throughout the world, people often use grape vines.

Next I stage my outdoor setting with wrought iron table and chairs. To me these are all about old world feel; I can envision sipping cappuccino reading a book by the Arno. If you are feeling extra perky, you can get cushions for the chairs to match the blooming vines. I also will often have planter boxes on the side of the house – if appropriate – and grow various herbs. The planters are at different heights and are at different lengths to provide variation for the eye.

The last key element for setting your own Italian café are the lights. I use string lights with LED bulbs. I like the way they swing down and can appear like stars against the sky. At dusk, the LED lights create a sense of romance; paired with a homemade meal and a great glass of vino, it is easy to feel like a star-crossed lover right out of Venice.

The Latest Kitchen Trends

02/18/2017
Posted by John Ross

It’s August so those of us in the design industry are furiously trying to figure out what’s going to be hot in 2017. Still, it’s 2016 and so there is some merit in looking at what’s happening presently. In keeping with what often feels like darker times, the latest trends have kitchens getting a little bit darker. The colors are often called “moody” tones.


These are more atonal colors like gray-blues and deep forest greens. The walls are coupled with dark wood or laminate finishes to create a warm and comfortable environment. They are contrasted with light granite or marble countertops. There are two other trends that home designers are noticing as we begin to leave 2016: the death of shiplap and black stainless steel.

Shiplap, which jumped to prominence because of the Fixer Upper, is quickly losing it’s appeal. There have been quite a few blog articles over the past few months who have discussed over saturation in the market. Couple that with it being found outside it’s native environment (really, the south) and it’s a recipe ripe for a comeuppance.

On the other hand, it appears that the good old days of stainless steel are also numbered. A number of the leading home design blogs have noted the rise in black stainless steel. This makes perfect sense as kitchen colors become darker.

Lighting still plays an important part of any kitchen makeover. LED lights are a significant improvement over the old fluorescents. With the sudden proliferation of islands, there is renewed need for ceiling lights. Thankfully the old white canisters that served as track lighting are gone. Now there are some sleek designs that can be used with LED lights to softly illuminate your prep and/or eating area.

Organizing Your Closet 101

02/18/2017
Posted by John Ross

You and your spouse work a combined 100 hours a week – that doesn’t even include time driving the kids to-and-from school, soccer and swimming practices, karate – getting home before 7pm is a stretch let figuring out dinner and then dishes and then bed time.

All the while you’re attached to the email on your phone because even though you’re “off the clock” that leash you have attached to your hip is keeping you in the loop. Your better/lesser half walks through the door with the mail in his/her hands and throws them on the credenza…not to be seen until the next time you try to clean up and get organized a few months down the road.


In short: you’re a wreck and so is your home. But not to worry (about your home, anyway), some semblance of organization can be achieved with a minimal amount of effort. I always like to start with my closet because it’s my least favorite thing to do.

Step 1: Make sure that there is adequate lighting. You don’t necessarily need fancy lighting for a closet, but you do need something. You can find cheap LED lights that stick onto the wall at most stores like Target or the Dollar Store.

Step 2: Get a garbage bag and purge your clothes. If you haven’t worn your summer dress in two summers, it’s time to get rid of it, don’t ya think? Tastes change and there’s no reason to keep clothing that you don’t like with the intention of liking them again some day. For those who live in mild climates, anything you haven’t worn in a year should probably go.

Step 3: This is the final step in creating order out of chaos: everything has a place. I realize that not everyone hangs up their pants and some people tuck their dresses away, so in this instance, whatever works best for how you do things. I’ve found that it’s really good to have baskets on the shelf above what we hang. They’re great for sweaters, swim suits, hats and much more. I like to label these baskets so I know that I’m putting them away in the right place so that down the line, when I’m tired and don’t want to think about putting something away, I know right where to put it.
Lastly I have a couple rows of cubbies just for our shoes.

Again, I can’t stress enough the importance of good lighting. I sprang for recessed lighting with LED bulbs so that I could see all of my clothes in the closet.

My Home Feels Dark, What Can I Do?

02/18/2017
Posted by John Ross

You can always start off by adding more lighting…absent putting in sky lights or floor-to-ceiling windows here are a couple of tips that you can use to help.

One of our favorite tools to use are mirrors. Mirrors can give almost any room volume – an open and airy feeling if properly placed. It’s important to pay attention to line of sight, however, when placing a mirror in the room. It may have the opposite affect than the one intended if the mirror is put in the wrong spot.


Painting is another way to considerably lighten up your living space. There are a few different ways to make this happen. You can paint whole walls light and bright – preferably in pastels. Blending patterned fabric with the wall color will help considerably. You can also try what I call: the IKEA – white walls, sleekly designed furniture with darker accent colors on the trim or doors. This last one can be hard to pull off, but if you hit it right, it’s a fantastic modern design.

If you have the time, and the money, you can always decide to knock out a wall or two. Increasing the size of the living area is an easy answer to letting in more light. While each of these are good options on their own, they may prove to be even better working in conjunction with each other.

We love the idea of having flat white walls with some lighter accent pastels that match neatly with sleek furniture. Coordinate the upholstery patterns with the wall. Add a mirror to give the room volume; place lights in areas where the mirror reflects them for even greater illumination. And finally, if you have the time and money, consider taking out that wall that’s separating the kitchen from the deck off the living room.

Lighting Paints & Prints

02/18/2017
Posted by John Ross

Paintings or prints can help to accentuate any living area, especially the living room. If you are going to use paintings, prints or pictures, traditional lighting might not always be the best way to go; especially for original paints. Depending on the type of paint used, it will react with the light differently. Similarly, if there are a number of different paintings in the living room, you will want to make sure that you light each painting individually.


There are two different lighting methods: recessed or ceiling lights or a mount directly over the painting (picture lights). It’s really your personal preference because there isn’t a distinct advantage to having one type of lighting over another. Either way, make sure to use LED lights.

If you are using the recessed lighting, you will want to make sure that there is an appropriate spread of the light so that the painting or print is adequately covered. It’s incredibly important to note that the lights should sit back from the painting a bit, rather than being too close. If you’re too close it will cast shadows over the painting; of course, if you’re too far back you run the risk of the light reflecting off the painting and causing a glare.

Picture lights are usually used with a low wattage LED light which lends itself to intimacy because it is so close to the painting. Also, because they are attached to the painting, the picture lights become part of the décor of the room so be sure to choose carefully. The one major draw back to picture lights is that they are generally plug in, so you are limited to where you can place your art.