log home lighting tips

Striking the perfect balance between too much light (think hospital ER) and not enough light is a difficult challenge to navigate. Not to mention, if your home is built from logs, which naturally absorb light, you’ll need to up the ante with extra wattage, plus clever use of fixtures.

Kitchen

  • Install low-profile fluorescent fixtures above food prep areas and under cabinets to provide ample lighting for preparing meals and after-dinner clean up.
  • To provide light for open countertops or an island, use recessed ceiling fixtures or track lighting with flood lamps, which spread light broadly over an area.
  • Place decorative pendant fixtures over the table to add visual appeal and functional lighting for your meals. Add a dimmer switch to set the mood while saving wattage.

Living Room

  • Add visual interest and flexibility by placing light sources at various heights within the room.
  • Pair every chair with a high light-output reading lamp.
  • Use table lamps with translucent shades to add personal style while contributing to the overall ambient light level.
  • For activity-specific areas (think card table, billiards board, et al) install flood lamps into recessed fixtures.
  • Illuminate stereo cabinets, shelves and bookcases by installing small halogen or fluorescent bulbs inside.
  • For textured, log walls use downward-pointing halogen lights to enhance the style of the material.

Dining Area

  • Highlight artwork, select furnishings, or framed photography with adjustable accent lights.
  • Aim accent lights at the ceiling to give the room a bigger feel. This also will provide subtle ambient light without overwhelming the room.
  • Install a chandelier over your dining room table to light the room gently. Make sure that the chandelier’s diameter is at least one foot smaller than the smallest table dimension.
  • Deck the walls with sconces—all with separate dimmer switches—to provide lighting while reducing the glare possibly omitted from one “stand-alone” fixture.
  • Highlight the contents of your china cabinet by lighting them from the inside with miniature halogen or fluorescent bulbs.


Bathroom

  • Install strip lights on either side of your mirror to achieve the best lighting for preening.
  • Use compact fluorescent bulbs to save energy costs and to render color accurately in the vanity area.
  • Add dimmer switches to all light sources to help your eyes adjust in the morning from dark to light.
  • For safety’s sake, install lights above bath and shower areas (this also helps spot trouble areas in the cleaning process).

Bedroom

  • Install a low-wattage ceiling fixture so you have the option to illuminate the entire room if you need help waking up (or assistance finding your lost reading glasses).
  • Use swing-arm lamps or reading lights next to your bed so you can read yourself to sleep—and not have to get up to turn out the light.
  • Enhance the appearance of your headboard (or artwork above your bed) with ceiling-mounted fixtures.
  • If you want a wake-up-call from the sun’s natural light use translucent, light-colored drapery over your windows. If you prefer using an alarm clock or sleeping in, use dark colors.
  • Place an energy-efficient, long-lasting fluorescent bulb in your closet to avoid over-lighting the entire room while providing ample lighting for choosing your wardrobe for the day.

Every Room

  • Replace a few standard incandescent lamps with compact fluorescent lamps. They cost more upfront but can last up to ten times as long as their traditional counterparts, saving you money over time.
  • Employ the use of automatic lighting controls. Using dimmers, motion-sensor light switches, and automatic timers allows you more control of your light output and, ultimately, your utility bill.
  • Instead of using bright, overhead lights use task lighting (table lamps, under-cabinet lighting, recessed flood lamps) to focus your wattage where you need it.
  • Embrace the options provided by a three-setting lamp. Reading requires more light than watching a movie and this type of lamp offers control and flexibility.
  • Use light-colored curtains on your windows to preserve your privacy while taking advantage of natural, ambient light.