Building & Renovation

Light Fixture Options

Text by Nancy Johnston

A good light does more than simply illuminate space. It allows you to accentuate architectural features and the character of your space. So the right kind of lighting in the right places can establish any mood or atmosphere you desire. Naturally your lighting fixtures play a vital part in helping accomplish this. If you want to change the way your room looks and feels, consider the latest light fixture options and how their effects can work throughout your home. Some of the most obvious places in the home where light is needed for either functional or aesthetic reasons are kitchen lighting, cabinet lighting, both over and under, kitchen and bathroom, cable lighting, cove lighting, exterior lighting, and special illuminating lighting such as picture lights, recessed lighting, shelf lights, step lights, and wall sconces.

The latest trend is the low voltage track system that comes in a variety of configurations such as basis or monorail, twin rail, and cable, and styles such as traditional, modern, classic and contemporary. Once you pick your system, track or monopoint, you need to select compatible fixtures or pendants and finish preferences.

Most fixtures come with numerous incandescent and fluorescent lamping options and a wide variety of diffuser colors and finishes. Metal finishes are used most often because they are precision machined, which allows for flawless designs and an ultra modern look. Polished nickel, black, satin nickel, satin brass, polished brass, antique brass, pewter, antique pewter, copper and antique copper, rubbed bronze and white are all options for metal finish.

Hand blown glass and carved alabaster are the latest trend for pendant choice and hanging bowl lights because of the warm glow they create.

Many of the wall sconce canopies are fashioned from hand blown glass. Silk, satins and other sheer fabrics are the popular alternative for shades.

Exhibit and display lighting offers numerous mounting configurations, from a surface mount to the standard plug and play installation or a portable clamping system so you can get the light positioned precisely. Wall mounted chart lights add a unique effect. Wall sconces are an important fixture when it comes to lighting. Flush mount glass sconces with either tiffany or hand blown glass designs make your sconces pieces of art in their own right. Of course traditional, modern and scroll sconces with metal fixtures are still as popular as ever.

In exterior lighting fixtures you will see warehouse lighting fixtures, mission and craftsmen style.

Light accessories for your fixtures are an ingenious way to distribute or diffuse light as needed, depending on whether you want to make a dazzling aesthetic statement or discreetly illuminate architecture and artwork. Back shields, as the name implies, fit over the back of the fixture and reduce the back light thrown off. Snoots provide front light shielding in much the same way allowing for wall washing and highlighting. Special lenses are available that can make your light do what you want. Directional spread beam elongates and light softeners, diffusers and louvers are some of the extra options available on today’s high end lighting fixtures.

Today, fashion and function have come together to create high-end lighting items that do more than simply illuminate — they create ambience!

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