How to get the most from lighting effects in your log home.

We certainly need lighting! Without it, there is no energy and enthusiasm in your home. It is essential in our lives and human health.

Illumination can be natural or manufactured - both can affect your mood or even how you feel inside of a home and give drama to the room. If natural sunlight is not abundant, you will have to rely more on artificial illumination.

There are three types of natural illumination:

• Sunlight,
• Candlelight
• Fire.

Log homes need varied types of lighting and exotic chandeliers to add a personal touch and provide strong overall lighting to every room in the home.

People are attracted to wood because of the warmth and coziness of logs but a log home without good lighting, its decor and personality can not be fully developed.

Well placed and large windows and possibly skylights bring life and natural light to your log home during the daylight hours.

Types of home lighting

General - these lights tend to be ceiling or wall fixtures, recessed or track lighting. General lighting is defined as enough illumination for someone to watch television or walk safely through the house.

This overall light tends to distribute itself throughout the entire space, creating very little shadow, but this general lighting is not good enough for detailed functions.

Ambient light - it is a soft level of light that could also be called mood lighting.

Ambient lighting comes from indirect fixtures that help you create a good mood in the house and they will create a soft glow in the room.

Some designers view ambient or general lighting the same.

Task light - is a direct beam of light that illuminates a particular area with very work-specific tasks. For example, task lighting can be a beam directed towards the reading area, sewing area, desktop, range or play table for children, towards the kitchen sink or a computer area.

These types of fixtures tend to be hidden, because you only use them at certain times and being able to adjust the light level is important. Good illumination enhances clarity and allows you to really see what you are doing in the kitchen.

Accent or directional lighting - this type accents certain art pieces, major furniture, logs or other objects important to highlight or to provide a sense of drama.

Beam spread, intensity, and color are often crucial considerations for accent light. Anything that is a focal point or that you want to be noticed should have accent light. All these types should be used in a log home.

Sky lights - they can operate or not depending on the type of climate you have.

In house lighting systems with centrally located control panels, switches, knobs and dimmers are very popular in today's log homes.

They tend to be all located in a small hidden area, and you can control the lighting for the entire area from there.

Decorative light - These are fixtures that draw attention to themselves as objects and they are used to create an effect.

Chandeliers, candles (traditional and electric) and low voltage pendant fixtures are good examples of decorative lighting.

If your ceilings are too low, bounced light from uplights can visually "raise" them. Cathedral ceilings can become very beautiful with uplighting.

Types of bulbs or lamps you may use for lighting:

Fluorescent bulbs - are less expensive, energy efficient, the type of light that these bulbs produce is cool and bluish, difficult to dim and great for general lighting.

Halogen bulbs - they cost more initially and they generate quite a bit of heat but they produce a very bright white light and they use less energy and wattage.

Incandescent bulbs - this type of light is more like sunlight and a much warmer color (flattering to people and food), they are easy to dim, but produce a lot of heat and use a lot more electricity.

Fiber optics - this type of lighting has the advantage of not generating much heat.

Experiment and use a mixture of these four types of bulbs in your home to create the effect and drama you may want in the room.

Dimmers and control panels in your log home are a very good idea. They can change the ambiance of each room at a moment's notice.

Having them allows you to control the light level for a fixture or a group of fixtures from soft glow to any other brightness level. Dimmers are also good energy savers for any residence.

Mix and match basic light styles in your log home for the best lighting effect, to give you a sense of space and to emphasize the details that create the room's character.

Lighting can change visually your room dimensions. Very often, if a room is very small, washing the walls with an even layer of light will make the space appear larger. Small rooms should also be painted with light colors.

If you have a very large room, use soft light concentrated on important objects or areas in the room. This will make the room appear smaller. The illumination helps define spaces, emphasize certain textures and will add glamor to your parties.

Fireplaces, log corners, artwork, unique details and sculpture can also be lit in a variety of ways to create ambiance and to highlight these special decorative objects. In some rooms you may want a cozy and comfortable effect when you are with your family.

However, when you are entertaining, you may want to have a lot of light or very dramatic spotlights that will draw attention.

At the beginning of the construction it is relatively inexpensive to mount switches, control panels, cove or cornice, dimmers, fixtures in walls, track lighting and ceiling fixtures.

You may want to consult a designer if you are having difficulty deciding what to do. Good lighting design and planning can have both practical and dramatic effects in your log home.

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