Buying lighting for your home is a lot more fun these days thanks to advances in LED technology.
“Designers are having a heyday. They get to do anything with shapes,” said David Gray, sales manager of the professionals division for Lamps Plus, a West Coast-based online retailer.
“It used to be if you had a bar with crystals, there would have to be sockets wired in with bulbs. Now, there are no sockets and bulbs. The bar itself lights up and the crystals dangle below,” he said.
Gray works with interior designers, professional electricians and others looking for something different in lighting. At www.lampsplus.com, LED is a growing category with some of the most unusual products. Mini-globes at the ends of metal rods create a star effect, or fixtures have bendable arms that can be shaped by the consumer.
LBL Lighting has produced a dining room fixture inspired by metal elevator gates that stretches with the table to accommodate two to nine people.
Not only can any shape light up, but the bulb is so small, powerful and energy-efficient that it can be placed in locations that would have been impossible to light before. Companies like Elan Meridan and Tech Lighting are breaking boundaries with free-form shapes and illuminated bands of light.
“We are in the middle of a complete revolution in how we light our homes,” Gray said. “Kitchens, cabinets, door moldings -- anywhere you want to illuminate or highlight something in the home, it can be done. You can put an LED strip in a 1/4-inch space in between the kitchen cabinets.”
The strips come in a tape kit and can be cut to size, some with remote and color controls, allowing consumers to change colors as the mood suits them. Furthermore, the flexibility of LED allows you to direct the light where you want it.
Possini’s Euro Design fixtures are perfect for contemporary spaces. With no wiring aside from light suspension wires, the fixtures appear to be floating in midair like something in a futuristic movie.
Starburst pendants are really popular and will probably remain so. Frederick Ramond produced a 24-inch-wide chrome chandelier that works well in a transitional or modern setting or even a whimsical children’s room.
Consumers are also realizing that strategically adding small doses of LED cuts down on their electric bills and can enhance safety. Running a LED light strip under a counter top, for instance, is much safer than a single light in a corner.
Outside, new Dark Sky LED fixtures light your landscaping without lighting up the neighborhood. Gray says that when lighting indoors or outdoors, the challenge is how to spread light.
“You want to spread the light around. Overhead, side and task lighting completes the look.”
Since LED uses less electricity, you can spread the light around and still use less power.
It might take a little to get used to the new bulbs, but it’s worth it. He suggests taking some time and changing out a few at time to get used to them.
“I changed out all but one of my bulbs to LED. That one lamp uses more energy than all of the others combined,” he said.