New Year, New Lighting Design Resolutions

Published by Scott Oldner on Jan. 10, 2024, 10:09 p.m.

Welcome to 2022! Like every year, we know this one will be filled with highs and lows, but hopefully, not as many surprises as the last two years have brought. Every new year brings so much to contemplate with habits to start, resolutions to conquer, and goals to accomplish. So, we’re bringing you a few simple tricks that will elevate your lighting and even keep some money in your pocket!

Here are a few resolutions we’ve made before and a few we need to make again:

1. Dim Everything.


Dimmers (and dimming your lights) are the icing on the cake to fully set the ambiance in a space. They are the last tangible movement to make your space as comfortable and beautiful as possible. Not to mention it saves energy and keeps money in your pocket.

2. Add Sparkle to your spaces.

Forest Hills  residence-12s comp3

Put Ambient, Focal, and Sparkle lighting to work here as a basic lighting layer. Ambient and Focal are the most commonly used, and sparkle is less so, mostly due to lack of confidence. Think of a chandelier, for example. While you don’t have to add a crystal chandelier to your home, the twinkle that the crystal provides the Sparkle we’re referring to. Find pieces that feature glass or crystal to create the effect. We also use 1” recessed downlights in a series or star pattern to create Sparkle.

3. Go LED.

Give up on those old, inefficient lightbulb sources like halogen, incandescent, and fluorescent. You know you have more of the bulbs in your space than you’d like to admit. Think about the lights in your garage, laundry room, or a storage area. We’re confident you’ll find some of those inefficient bulbs illuminating those spaces. By putting LEDs into those areas, not only can you save up to 80% on your electricity, they could last for the next 20 years.

4. Time your lights.

Keep your neighbors happy and lower your energy consumption when you aren’t outside by putting timers on all exterior lighting (if not already on your dimming system). Astronomic time clocks know when sunrise and sunset are for every day of the year, so create the settings once and you’ll never need to remember about changing your lights’ timing again.

5. Reduce the time your lights are on (if you have timers already).

Reduce the length of time your overnight lights are on. For example, activate your lights at sunset, then turn them off after bedtime. It’s easier than you think to shave down on hours your lights are on.

6. One outdoor lighting technique a year.


Attract attention and take pride in your outdoor aesthetics by adding one technique (like uplighting trees or uplighting a feature of your home). If you add one technique every year, you’ll have a gorgeous exterior lighting installation scheme in no time.

7. Use battery powered lighting.


Electromagnetic Frequency (or EMFs) can be harmful to our body, and in large quantities have been known to be linked to many ailments, including cancer. Unfortunately, EMFs have been increasing every year. Battery-powered table lamps are a great way to decrease exposure if you keep your bedside lamp on for long periods. Battery-powered lighting is great for for reducing EMFs, and for emergencies too.

8. Add RGB-colored lighting to your home.


Colored lighting is a creative way of adding dimension and creativity to your space. Many homeowners install RGB color lighting in home theaters, bedrooms, and the living room. Colored lighting is typically a big hit with kids, and your guests will love the unexpected touch. Start with Philips Hue as a base retrofit upgrade then consider a full upgrade when you can.

9. Eliminate glare.

This is a simple tip which can lead to a big impact. Find all the glare points in your home and eliminate them. How does someone eliminate glare? Or start small, find a few, and replace them over time. Look around you. Is the light fixture more bright than the art, counter, focal element? If so you have glare. If you are reading a book and without moving your eyes, you can sense where the light fixture is you may have glare. Nothing improves the visual quality of a space more than eliminating glare.

10. Keep your lights on your property


Light crossing over from your property onto someone else’s without the other property’s permission is called “light trespass.” Most commonly, light trespass happens with security lights under eaves or sconces that are too bright (see number 1 above). Most municipalities have ordinances prohibiting light trespass since it can keep your neighbor awake at night. Those ordinances are in place so the neighbor has some recourse if your lights are offensive. What are best practices for a home or property owner to do about this? Walk around the edge of your property. If you can see any dot of light from an exterior mounted fixture, it might be causing light trespass. If it’s softly glowing and the same brightness as your interior lighting then it is more than likely not creating light trespass.

Updating your lighting doesn’t have to be a drawn-out task. Take time to set a few new resolutions that will optimize your lighting at home. The results can astound you, and you’ll be able to enjoy what you already have even more!

Stay up-to-date on the latest design trends. Download the Top 10 Trends in Architectural Lighting Design guide.