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Lighting Up A Room

Lighting is an essential element that influences the mood and atmosphere in a home, and there are many ways to approach doing it.

Danny Lipford, host of "Today's Homeowner," visits The Early Show to demonstrate to co-anchor Harry Smith several lighting options for the home.

Not only is lighting functional, but it also creates a mood and atmosphere in any room. By using different lighting combinations, the same room can take on a whole new look.

Lipford says purchasing lighting for a home is a still a mystery to most people, and lighting decisions are usually made before people analyze all of their lighting needs. The "Today's Homeowner" host recommends every room have as much versatile lighting as possible to meet your different needs.

There are three basic lighting categories: ambient, task and accent lighting.

  • Ambient or general lighting illuminates the entire room. You can adjust the light with dimmer switches.
  • Task lighting is just what its name implies -- it is lighting that will be used to perform tasks such as reading, cooking and applying makeup. Task lighting should enhance visual clarity and keep your eyes from straining. Undercounter lights in your kitchen are one example of task lights.
  • Accent lighting is basically decorative and you can use it to direct lighting in a particular of a room. For example, a track lighting system can be used to highlight a piece of art. Other types of accent lights are sconces on a wall, a torchiere, halogen spotlights and table lamps.

The following are assortment of lighting options:

  • Recessed lights are fixtures that are placed in the ceiling. These lights are very popular for almost every room in the house. Different trims can be used to direct the light.
  • Recessed fanlights are single units with an exhaust fan inside. The fan is inconspicuous and helps reduce clutter on the ceiling.
  • Track lighting is a light or series of lights that are mounted on an electrified metal track. The lights can be placed anywhere.
  • Pendant lights are fixtures that is hanging down or suspended from the ceiling -- a thin rod that hangs from the ceiling with a small fixture attached. It may be used over a breakfast bar.
  • Mini-chandeliers, according to Lipford, provide excellent down light and ambient lighting. It can be used to highlight a particular area such as a breakfast nook or to make a bathroom look more elegant.
  • Fluorescent fixtures offer an even light and are great in areas where lots of light is needed such as kitchens or laundry rooms.
  • Walls sconces provide soothing indirect light as well as providing dramatic effects on walls, according to Lipford.
  • Undercabinet fixtures allow you to direct light where a task is being performed such as in a kitchen or home office.

    Note: All of the light fixtures displayed by Lipford on The Early Show, except the recessed light fan, are made by Progress Lighting.

Without the light bulb, the nicest light fixture would be useless. So, Lipford showed a variety of GE bulbs that can be used for many different lighting options.

  • Tungsten bulbs are the ordinary light bulbs that you use in your home. These bulbs give off a slight yellow tinge.
  • Spotlight bulbs give a focused explosion of white light.

    Halogen bulbs provide light that is closest to daylight.

  • Fluorescent bulbs are also daylight-equivalent, however, they provide a flat, cold light.
  • Incandescent bulbs can be various types of bulbs, including halogen bulbs and some fluorescent bulbs. Lipford says the inviting light has a warm quality that is appealing.

Lighting can be both fashionable and functional - so you can be really creative. If you need more help, take photos of your room(s) to a lighting store or home center. A salesperson will be able to help you make the best choices for all of your lighting needs.