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How to Choose the right Outdoor Lighting for your HomeBy Smitha Jose
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Outdoor lighting is what defines and differentiates your house in the street. Along with security and safety, the lighting outdoor can provide for excellent curb appeal when done meticulously. After all, it’s the first thing your guests get to see, right when they have reached the corner of your street. Choosing the appropriate set of lights for outdoors is therefore, as important a part of your home designing as for your interiors.
Here are some ‘good to know’ things about outdoor lighting:
Place and Purpose:
The entire outdoor space cannot be put under one category as ‘outdoors’. Each couple of square feet serves different purpose and so should be the light used. Here are some common outdoor places and the suitable light.
For Entrance Door:
Wall sconces are the commonly used and recommended lighting fixture. With a plethora of designs and styles, there is one for every home design. The size of the light recommended is 1/3rd if there is single/one side lighting for the doors and 1/4th if you intend to light up both the sides.
If you are among those who love to dine outdoors, patios will be your first option. Chandelier or large pendant lights will serve you in such cases. Celebrations or get together dining will look grander with warm string lights.
For Gardens/ Gates:
Well covered/shrouded post lights are the obvious choice for gardens and gates.
For Driveways and Parking Areas - Flood lights can dot the driveways leading to parking area lit with recessed lights.
Right Light For Right Space:
Each light is made to be used in specific location. Knowing the compatibility of light to the space where it is used is important to maximize its performance and life. UL (Underwriters Laboratory) is an international organization that assigns and accredits the lights depending upon their usability in dry, wet and damp areas.
UL listed for dry area - If a light is listed for use in dry area, it simply means that it won’t last for long if used in a moist or humid filled space like a shower or bathroom.
UL listed for moist area - These are the ones that can be used in damp or moist place such as bathrooms, showers and sinks. However, the fixtures should not come in direct contact of water. Talking about outdoors, these are good enough for entrance, garage and covered patios which may get damp but not wet.
UL listed for wet area - Now, these are the ones that can brave the rain and the snow. Lights for garden, gates and any uncovered area should be of this category. These, obviously, can be used for damp and dry areas too.
Be Dark Sky Friendly with the Lights:
Against our common belief that bright lights assure more safety and security, burglars and robbers find bright light and their enormous shadows of great help in their mission. The lights that are not covered appropriately or are not downward projected not only attracts these unwanted guests but are also socially inappropriate just as a vehicle not switching on its dimmers at night.
Dark sky friendly lights are shielded with suitable lamp shades and are usually downward projected that prevents light from scattering all around, giving focused light. Many countries have made it a law to go for dark sky friendly lights. This not only increases the performance (pouring light in the correct direction) but also prevents the light from trespassing into the neighborhood. Your neighbors will definitely appreciate this sensitive thought.
Just as dark sky lights help us in lighting our space in a harmonious way, the color of the lights too matters. While bright blue/cool lights are perfect for day time activities, these can have negative impact on our health when used at nights. Blue lights are proved to disturb the circadian rhythm (sleep cycle) of the body and are hence harmful to not just humans but for other animals too.
Therefore, lights for outdoors that we use against the darkness (which is nature’s way of completing the day), should not disturb the processes of life cycles. Warm lights/yellow lights of temperature not more than 3000 Kelvin are recommended as outdoor lights. The greater the temperature of the light, the greater is the emission of blue light.
Since incandescent lights (which emit yellow lights) are considered energy guzzlers, soft LED or LPS (Low pressure Sodium) lights are the ultimate choice that can provide warm soothing lights in an eco- friendly way.
Using dimmers to control the brightness is yet another smart and sustainable way to light up the space.
Now, you are good to go. Hope these tiny facts help you get the right lighting fixture for your outdoors.
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