Today, outdoor spaces aren’t just used for a few months in the summer and then tucked away for the other nine months of the year. These areas have become a necessary extension of the indoors and key spaces for entertaining, eating, lounging and playing. Industry experts agree that the outdoor room is no longer a trend, but a must-have for today’s home buyers. Equipped with comfy furniture, flat screen TVs and outdoor fireplaces – outdoor living is cozier and more luxurious then ever. Extend your outdoor living areas with these six ideas that will allow you to get the most out of your outdoor living spaces.
Provide comfy seating.
Whether it’s arm chairs, couches or benches – adequate seating is important for ensuring quality rest and relaxation. Curl up with a good book or invite friends to share a cocktail on your lounge-worthy outdoor furniture.
Install a ceiling fan
You’ll be thankful you followed this tip come July and August when you’re begging for a casual breeze to beat the heat. A ceiling fan is an easy installation that can make a world of difference for outdoor entertaining.
Bring your kitchen outdoors.
We’re talking refrigerators, grills, smokers, stoves, sinks. That’s right – bring it all outside! Outdoor kitchens are growing fast in popularity. Serve your favorite dishes and cut down on the indoor to outdoor traffic.
Hang unique lighting.
Extend your favorite living areas well into the evening with a focal lighting display. Hang pendants at varying heights or add wall sconces that further your architectural style.
Gather round a focal fireplace.
There’s nothing more inviting then a warm outdoor fire paired with great food and great company. Be sure to provide adequate seating – such as comfy couches, chairs and benches – around your outdoor fireplace.
Add bold pattern and color with quick accents.
Image courtesy of Better Homes and Gardens.
Add fun and bright colors to your outdoor seating with patterned pillows or rugs. Think about the accent pieces you love inside your home – and don’t be afraid to emulate that beautiful decor outside, too.
Pathway lighting is an essential way to welcome friends and family members to your home. Not only do path lights greatly enhance safety by illuminating dark walkways that could lead to hazardous falls, they are an easy way to improve curb appeal. When selecting the perfect outdoor path lights, be sure to follow these quick and easy tips for an outdoor lighting solution that will be both beautiful and functional.
Get your height right. To achieve a nice warm glow, path fixtures should be installed about 14 inches high.
Define your edges. For the best safety lighting, place lights about one foot from one or both sides of the path.
Ditch the bargain bin. Consider the make-up of your fixtures (not just the price tag). Fixtures with a glass lens, sturdy construction and weather-resistant finish are essential for long-term use. A powder coated finish has been proven to withstand harsher elements.
Choose LED. The future of pathway lighting belongs to LED sources. LED bulbs burn cool and reduce power consumption by as much as 75 percent. These sources live significantly longer than traditional lights.
Stay warm. Keep in mind that the warmth, measured in kelvins (K), will vary from one product to the next and greatly affects the visual appeal of the exterior of your home. Fixtures with a color temperature of 3000K will provide a nice warm, inviting glow for your outdoor lights.
Layered lighting designs can be seen in a variety of both remodel and new construction home projects these days.
Even designers who are certified in creating Aging-in-Place environments for the older population credit layered lighting designs to accomplishing both functional and aesthetic goals for a particular room.
If you’re wondering how you can achieve a layered lighting look like the pros do, then read this recent Porch.com article written by our own Todd Roy, national sales director of builder marketing. It walks you through the key benefits of ambient, task and accent lighting, while providing several design tips along the way.
Chandeliers add beauty, ambience and functional illumination to your home. Perfect for entryways, above dining room tables and as living room accents, the styles are far reaching – offering a widespread realm of design possibilities. When browsing through Houzz idea books, Pinterest pins or your favorite design magazine, the placement of chandeliers can often seem effortless. But in reality, when confronted with all the different options, choosing the right chandelier can feel overwhelming.
Streamline the decision making process with these quick tips on selecting the right size chandelier for your dining room.
If you are installing a chandelier and haven’t selected your furniture, add the length and width of the room (in feet) – which will give you the proper diameter for the fixture (in inches). So, if you have a 10 x 14 room, the diameter for your fixture should be 24 inches.
If you already have a table, it’s more important that the chandelier is proportionate to the table than the room. As a general rule of thumb, your chandelier should be approximately 1/2 to 3/4 the size of your table.
When hanging your chandelier, allow 30 to 32 inches from the table surface to the bottom of the chandelier.
Affecting both the aesthetics and functionality of a space, most people can agree that lighting is a very important part of the homebuilding and home design process. Today, there are many factors that go into creating the perfect lighting plan that fits your lifestyle.
If you’re not in the lighting industry, the terms used to identify types of fixtures, light sources and light measurements can often feel overwhelming. Here’s a quick guide to all the terms you need to know when creating your home’s lighting plan:
Types of Fixtures:
Luminaire: Light fixture, including the lamp (bulb).
Light Emitting Diodes (LED): LEDs are semiconductor devices that produce visible light when an electrical current passes through them. Generally speaking, LEDs are more efficient, durable, versatile and longer lasting than traditional light sources.
Compact Fluorescent Lamp (CFL): CFLs are fluorescent light bulbs that have been compressed into the size of a standard-issue incandescent bulb. Modern CFLs typically last at least six times as long and use around a quarter of the power of an equivalent incandescent lamp.
Lumen: The most common measure of light output. Lumens measure the amount of light produced by a bulb. The more lumens in a light bulb, the brighter the light.
Watt: A measure of electric power (not how bright a light is). The rate at which electric energy is transferred by an electric circuit.
Efficacy: A measure of how much light a source produces for every watt of power it consumes. Expressed in lumens per watt.
Color Rendering Index (CRI): A unit of measure that defines how well colors are rendered. The CRI means better color rendering, or less color shift. CRIs in the range of 75-100 are considered excellent. An incandescent lamp operates at 100 CRI.
Correlated Color Temperature (CCT): Color appearance is communicated using correlated color temperature (CCT) on the Kelvin (K) scale. For most interior lighting applications, warm-white (2700K to 3000K) is preferred.
Energy efficiency is important to the older buyer because of the impact on the environment and especially the impact on their wallets. In fact, 90 percent said they would purchase energy-efficient products if it would lower their energy bill.
Long-term financial security is a primary driver for this demographic, so they are willing to invest in green solutions now in order to save later.
Brookside pendants by Progress Lighting. Project by Miller and Smith Homes, Jim Kirby Photography.
The Benefits of LED
LED sources are a great solution for aging inhabitants for a number of reasons, including:
● Safety Benefits: Traditional incandescent sources waste energy – especially through heat energy. LED lamps produce almost no heat, which eliminates the risk of burns.
● Energy Savings: LED lamps can pay for themselves through energy and maintenance savings, while providing aesthetically pleasing lighting. So although the initial investment will be higher than a standard incandescent source, the long term energy savings offer a healthy return.
● Low Maintenance: An LED lamp can last for decades, making LED options a low-maintenance solution. Homeowners can say goodbye to climbing a ladder every year or so to change those burnt out lamps. The long life expectancy of LED lamps is of high value.
● Light Output: As we grow older, our eyes get more sensitive to light sources. Luckily, increases in efficacy (lumens per watt) and warm white color consistency make LED options gentle on aging eyes.
● Color Output: The key to selecting the right LED fixtures for aging individuals is to have a warm color temperature (2700-3000K) and high color-rendering index (90 CRI or above).
Orbs and circular fixtures are at the top of the list of today’s trending lighting designs – which explains why Equinox is one of our most-loved families. But we’re learning that it’s not just it’s distinctive rings and memorable shape that makes this fixture so attractive to designers and homeowners. We are constantly amazed by the applications of our designer partners, which has left us wondering, could Equinox by one of our most versatile collections?
Lighting designer James Thomas chose Equinox as one of his favorite creations for that very reason. “I have seen these fixtures placed in all types of interiors from modern to rustic traditional, so I am happy to see that the design has widespread appeal and is not defined by a single category,” said James.
And James is certainly right! Here are just a handful of the beautiful ways Equinox can be used throughout the home.
Gather round! Our large Equinox pendant invites guests in and unifies your favorite living spaces. Loving this application from Toll Brothers!
Turn your master bath into an area of luxurious relaxation with a striking pendant above the tub. Ryland Homes designed this bathroom beautifully.
Why have one pendant when you can create a stunning spectacle with three? Mary DeWalt Design Group masters contemporary beauty in this dining room setting with Equinox.
Equinox can even be used in country chic interiors, and is perfect above a quaint kitchen nook.
Where would you put your Equinox fixture?
Plus – we couldn’t help but share this sneak peek from nationally acclaimed designer Possibilities for Design. This Toll Brothers model home in Fort Collins has a striking two-story entry, now installed with three Equinox chandeliers. What a sight these designs create when hung high!
Vintage, industrial looks are making their way into today’s most on-trend interior settings. When done right, interior designs with an industrial influence can create a sophisticated atmosphere with distinctive character. Attention-to-detail is key with this design style – and a good place to start is your lighting fixtures. Lighting has the ability to transform your home environment. If you are thinking about trying out an industrial design scheme, consider the following lighting design tips.
Prismatic glass shades to evoke vintage appeal – Fixtures with prismatic glass give nod to a previous age. When paired with classic forms and current finishes, this vintage style becomes surprisingly relevant to today’s industrial interiors.
Select fixtures with knob and strap details – Careful details such as knobs and straps bring to life a spirit of craftsmanship.
Consider mixing metals – Mixing metals within the same fixture (as seen above with Progress Lighting’s Swing and Archives collections) gives off a warehouse vibe.
Use exposed Edison bulbs – Exposed bulbs are extremely popular today. To give this trend an industrial flair, Edison filament bulbs offer a unique look.
Spring is in full swing – and summer is just around the corner. Get your home ready for the hot months ahead by installing a ceiling fan. Nearly every room can benefit from a ceiling fan – but consider adding a fan in your most commonly used living areas such as a guest bedroom, living room or outdoor room.
Incorporating fans into your design scheme greatly reduces energy costs, while providing comfort, style and ambient lighting for almost any room of the home.
What You’ll Need: Your ceiling fan mounting hardware, down-rods or ceiling fan accessories, screwdriver, step ladder, wire strippers, wire connectors, electrical tape, pliers and safety glasses.
Be sure to carefully read all instructions in the manufacturer’s manual before beginning installation.
First, turn off the power to the existing light at the main breaker box. Once you confirm there is no electricity flowing through the wires, remove the former ceiling fan or fixture you wish to replace.
Next, attach the ceiling fan mounting bracket to the junction box in the ceiling using the supplied mounting screws and lock washers. Pull electric wiring from the junction box through the center hole of the mounting bracket
Now it’s time to assemble your fan. Pull wires attached to the fan motor through the down-rod, canopy and other trim. Insert the rod into the motor housing unit and use the connector pin and cotter pin to secure the rod in place. Tighten the setscrews in the side of the down-rod.
The next thing you’ll do is connect the wires from the fan to its counterpart in the ceiling. Simply match the wires color-to-color. Secure the matching wires with wire connectors. If your fan has a light, attach both remaining wires to the remaining hot wire in the box using the wire connectors. Secure all wire connectors with a layer of electrical tape.
Once wires are set, push the wires back into the junction box. Seat the canopy, covering the box and mounting bracket, and tighten all screws to secure.
Now, you’re ready to assemble the fan blades and arms. Fasten the blade brackets to the blades with the screws provided. Attach each blade arm to the main unit with lock washers and blade arm screws.
Following the instruction manual for your light kit, install the lights and shades into your ceiling fan.
Now, just turn on the power, flip the switch and enjoy the breeze!
We’re ooo-ing and ahh-ing over Stephen Alexander Homes‘ Coastal Virginia Idea House – the epitome of coastal luxury. From the color scheme (defined by a calming neutral and nostalgic sea foam palette), to the decor (complete with rustic elements and dark wood undertones), to the over-the-top amenities (which are luxurious to the core) – the Idea House is residential coastal design at its finest.
Planning a coastal remodel? Stay inspired with a virtual tour – brought to you by Stephen Alexander Homes and Neighborhoods.
A craftsman style lantern from the Progress Lighting Derby collection greets guests upon arrival to the Coastal Virginia Idea House by Stephen Alexander Homes.
Elegant and whimsical elements collide in the entryway as visitors are welcomed by Progress Lighting's luxurious Nissé chandelier and a glimpse at the subtle yet chic sea foam palette carried throughout the home.
The kitchen is made bright with on-trend clear glass pendants from the Progress Lighting Academy collection. The simple school house shape adds to the kitchen's simple chic appeal.
To the right of the foyer, the luxury theme is continued with the stunning Fortune chandelier by Progress Lighting.
Just off the kitchen is a table setting united by an elegant shade surrounding Progress Lighting's Nissé chandelier.
Climb up the stairs and you'll find a master suite fit for a queen. We're loving the dark wood bed frame.
Soaking tub, glass shower, mini-chandelier (from the Progress Lighting Fortune collection), marble floors - this master bath embodies spa-like luxury!
How would you like to wake up to this vanity set-up every morning? Featuring Progress Lighting Fortune sconces.
This spacious laundry room almost makes doing chores appealing!
For a full sense of the flow of the home – watch this video.