Deck and Patio Lighting Thoughts

One of the primary motivators for the homeowner in considering a patio or deck area as an add-on to their home is its entertainment value. Cruise the neighborhood during the day and you will more than likely see only a few people using the patio or deck. However, as evening approaches the story changes. When parent(s) come home from work or when it’s the right time to plan a party for friends and relatives, the patio or deck is frequently used as the center of festivities that often last well into the night.

During the planning stages, it’s important to include a lighting plan to make sure that the patio and deck area are not only well-lighted but that the lighting design creates a magical effect for its visitors.

Starting with the most elegant (and usually the most expensive) deck and patio lighting we can take a look at lights that are built-in to the foundation elements of the patio or deck. These lights provide a soft uplight glow that can mark a pathway or just provide a non-functional source of beauty. The lights are generally installed by contractors during the patio and deck construction and are generally not a project that the average DIY should consider tackling. I’ve seen this type of lighting done in a variety of colors and have even seen systems that automatically change the colors during the course of the evening, providing a mood-altering effect.

Dimmers are also a worthwhile investment for ground level lighting, allowing the host to increase or decrease the intensity of the lighting depending on the mood desired. Ground lighting is very safe since the lights themselves are never in contact with the visitors. Contractors will make sure that the process for changing the bulbs is simple and straightforward.

Speaking of dimmers, it’s generally a good idea to keep your entire deck and patio lighting system under dimmer control. Bright moonlight can allow you to turn the lighting down a bit while dark moonless nights can prompt you to boost the light up a bit.

Ground level lighting can also be used to frame the patio or deck area particularly if you’ve planted shrubbery or other low plantings around the area.

Down lighting is another type of deck and patio lighting. As the name implies, this is lighting from above and can be used to simulate moonlight. Besides being a natural lighting source, down lighting also enhances the security of the area because a lighted deck or patio usually leaves the impression the there’s someone at home.

A creative way to use this as a security feature is to have your doorbell circuit tied into a switch that at least temporarily turns the down lights on.

Most down lighting is accomplished by the use of either or both floodlights and spotlights. The floodlight will provide more ambient lighting by illuminating the entire deck or patio area while spotlights can be used as task lighting to highlight such areas as stairways and entryways. Spotlights can also be used to accent special features such as fountains, plantings or cooking and eating areas.

Many deck and patio lighting is installed at the waist level to keep any glare away from the face and to provide an elegant touch. Some lighting can also be installed at the top of posts that are at the top of stairways or other areas that separate one part of the deck or patio from another.

Some homeowners use strip or rope lights to highlight the porch or deck railing or other areas that need special attention such as stair risers or seating areas. If you live in an area where you can use a deck or patio during the winter holiday season, give some thought to decorating the area with lighting that can be used year-round.

Have fun with your lighting plan for your deck or patio. Most of the lighting is relatively inexpensive and can be removed or modified relatively easily. You may want to divide your plan into lights, which need to be permanently installed, and lights that are movable and optional.

Please don’t get carried away with deck and patio lighting plans. This type of lighting is best understated although some decorative lighting such as hurricane lamps or tiki torches (used in moderation) are OK.

Bugs are often a problem at night and several manufactures offer lights that discourage or repel flying pests. Sometimes a bright light, strategically placed in a tree a bit away from the patio or deck will help keep these insects occupied elsewhere rather than with your guests.

Above all, keep in mind that you want to create a magic environment that will encourage visitors to congregate and socialize late into the evening.

Where to Find Ideas For Your Bedroom Design

For many people, the bedroom is their sanctuary. It’s their favorite part of the house – the place where they can retreat to, recharge, and reconnect with themselves. This is why bedroom designs are very personal in that it closely reflects the homeowners personality and preferences more than any other room in the house.

If you are designing your bedroom or redecorating it to freshen it up, know that there are many style options you can incorporate into your own design. Sometimes, you can find them in unexpected places. Here are some ideas on where you can find inspiration to jumpstart that creative process:

  1. Magazines featuring bedroom designs. This is a great place to start finding ideas for your own bedroom. Magazines will include not just pictures, but will also have articles on how to recreate certain looks or where to find the furniture and accessories in their spread. Very helpful, indeed, especially if you plan to design your bedroom yourself.
  2. Internet. Browse the internet for inspiration. Aside from interior design sites, another good place to visit are the stock photo and video sites. They feature lots of photos that can serve as design inspiration for your room.
  3. Your wardrobe. One unconventional place to search for bedroom design ideas is your own wardrobe. Take out your favorite outfit and your favorite accessories and see how you can transform them into design ideas for your bedroom.
  4. Go tripping. If you want to see how newly constructed apartments are being designed, go to the showroom of various home development projects. They would be more than happy to show you around.
  5. Furniture showrooms. Sometimes, you can design a room around a piece of nice furniture. Going to furniture showrooms to see what’s on offer is a good place to start. If you are into shabby chic and antique designs, going to flea markets and antique stores will also do.
  6. Explore colors and textures through fabrics. A popular way to design a room is around a color palette that you love. Take it up a notch by choosing textures that you would love in your bedroom as well. Using fabrics as visual representations of the mood that you want in your bedroom is a fun way to begin.
  7. Travel! Go out of town, visit a spa, stay in a boutique hotel, and spend an afternoon out on the beach or in a lovely garden. Sometimes a breath of fresh air is all you need to inspire your bedroom design ideas.

Creating Functionality In Modern Bedroom Designs

In modern bedroom designs, the second most important thing, next to a relaxing atmosphere, is the functionality of the room itself. To make a room functional, the needs of the owner need to be carefully considered. How many clothes do they have? How much closet space? Is there a television in the room? How many windows are there? Is there a connected bathroom or does the owner want a vanity table? So many factors need to be considered that owners are often confused and hire an interior decorator to help.

As you could probably guess, the most important part about making a bedroom functional is the bed. A bedroom is designed to relax and sleep in, so choosing the right bed for the room is extremely important. There are many factors involved when choosing a bed, including owner preference, room size, and the design of the rest of the room. Putting a huge bed in a small room makes it feel cramped, but putting a small bed in a large room makes it feel huge. While you may think a bedroom that feels huge would be a good thing, it is not always easy to relax when there is too much space. After the bed is decided upon, clothing storage is the next most important aspect of the room. The dressers must be big enough to store the owner’s clothing, but not so big as to make the room feel cramped. Again, room size and design need to be considered. To make the room modern, the furniture must also be modern, while at the same time being functional. For example, a dresser with faux drawers along with the real ones, while modern, is not the optimal storage space for someone with a lot of clothing.

Modern bedroom designs often try to “hide” closets and television sets, incorporating them into the modern design, while still making them functional. For example, in a modern bedroom with a tropical theme, the closets or the entertainment center which houses the television set may be painted to look like trees, or perhaps the ocean, depending greatly on their design. Why try to hide these things? Maintaining a modern look with a relaxing atmosphere means making sure the design has good use of space. Sometimes in smaller bedrooms, hiding furniture in this way is done to help make the space feel bigger.