All is Illuminated A Look at Interior Lighting

 Call it the Ikea-fication of America. It seems that more and more people are  getting interested in design, especially when it comes to their own home. In  decades past, household furniture and decorations didn't vary a whole lot.  Growing up in the twentieth century, odds are your friends' homes probably had  a pretty similar couch and coffee table as your own. Thanks to new technology  and an explosion of interest in retro styles, that has changed. New  construction methods for residential developments over the years have ushered a  new level of diversity in housing stock. There's the prewar single family home,  the mid-century condo, and the newer steel-and-concrete buildings. Tastes vary  more than ever, and interior designers are enjoying the array of projects.  

 But design is not just furniture and hanging art. A huge component to the feel  of a home is the lighting, and new technology on the market is changing the way  our homes look and feel. Lighting alone can change the way a home feels, or how  a room can be used. New types of lighting and arrangements are giving designers  and homeowners more options than ever. There have never been so many accepted  options to light a living room, or even a bathroom. The changes are also  economic. Emerging technology will influence maintenance costs, energy bills  and even how we interact with light on a daily basis.  


 Ever since electricity entered residential homes in the 1910s, the American  market has depended overwhelmingly on incandescent bulbs. Incandescents use a  thin filament that heats up with an electrical current, and emits a very  pleasant, warm yellow light. Despite their warm glow however, the incandescents  are energy-suckers, working at about five percent energy efficiency and burning  out quickly.  

 Before the advent of newer technologies, most consumers considered wattage to be  synonymous with brightness. A 60-watt bulb worked well for a reading lamp, and  a 100-watt bulb was typically used for overhead area lighting. But in fact,  wattage only signifies the amount of power that’s used to generate light. When growing energy prices prompted more demand for  efficiency, the easiest switch from incandescent was halogen. For the most  part, halogen lights maintain a similar quality of warm light, and are  considerably more efficient than incandescents.  

 For years, the most reasonable alternative to the incandescent and halogen bulbs  was fluorescent light. Everyone knows fluorescent light from offices, malls,  and many other commercial spaces. Today, compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs),  which work in a typical incandescent socket, are replacing incandescents on the  residential market, due to the demand for greater efficiency and new federal  laws.  


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