A great key area to focus on during summer home improvement is indoor and outdoor lighting. A well-lit home looks great, increases family safety and convenience and does wonders for preventive home security.
When designing your interior lighting plan, consider the use and traffic levels of all rooms and passageways. Use a layered approach of the three main types of lighting, ambient lighting, task lighting and accent lighting for main living areas. All main areas should have some form of ambient lighting with many rooms utilizing only ambient light. This is usually in the form of a centralized ceiling fixture that will provide a comfortable amount of light without being overwhelming. Task lighting is used primarily in rooms such as the kitchen where under-cabinet lights will give you better illumination while working, bathrooms where lighting is usually installed around mirrors, and in other places where you work or read. Accent lighting allows you to direct the gaze towards architectural accents, artwork, collections or interior design elements. We tackled ambient, task and accent lighting further in Home Interior Lighting Guide.
Stairs and hallways are often neglected when a lighting plan is laid out. Most people assume a single overhead light on a switch to be sufficient. However, when it comes to the safety and security of your family, these areas should be top on the list. Light should always be available in these areas making them good candidates for motion detectors. Your family shouldn’t have to grope in the dark for a switch and intruders should not be allowed the cover of darkness. Fixtures should be placed every six feet and provide an even coverage. To diffuse the light, fixtures can be directed on an angle with the walls creating an attractive wash of light without stressing the eyes.
Security professionals always stress stairways and hallways as places that demand proper lighting and are ideal locations for interior home security cameras. Any intruder will need to pass through these areas to proceed from room to room, assuring that they are captured on your footage. Read more Staircase Safety Tips.
Properly designed outdoor security light fixtures are cost effective and provide a source of light that should be directed to where it is needed most, reducing any glare, removing dark spots and providing even coverage.
Chris McGoey a security expert states in Crime School that “Burglars like to prowl outside your home in the dark and peek in your windows” he then adds that motion sensor lights that suddenly snap on are good deterrents
Use low intensity ground level lighting along sidewalks and pathways to allow residents to see their way even when beyond your motion detecting spot lights. This technique also gives a sense of space to your property and enhances the aesthetics without being overwhelming. These same low intensity lights can be installed around your main building’s exterior. Areas with bushes or thick tree cover are a good place to use this low intensity ground lighting. Any potential intruder will think twice if he is going to be under lights while attempting entry. Lurkers are also deterred by well-lit spaces. Read more in our Home Exterior Lighting Guide.
Kuna are smart motion sensing lights with night vision cameras. Kuna is a must in home entrances. They will ensure that the area you need to pass at night is well lit, even when you don’t have access to the switch. You can program your Kuna security camera system to automatically illuminate areas at a set time or use location based services that turn on the light based on your geo location sunset and sunrise schedules. As stated above, security experts note that dark homes are more prone to break ins.
Place one security outdoor light in a position that overlooks your parking area or garage door. The sensor should be triggered any time a car pulls in. Place a switch for this light within the garage. The light should be turned on at this switch before you need to raise the garage doors when leaving.
Place other Kuna motion detecting security light fixtures to illuminate main doors and their surrounding areas. This will increase security camera coverage and lighting of these locations.
Porch lights should cover a wide area so a resident has an adequate view outside when a visitor approaches the door. Do not leave an uncovered area where someone could lurk and rush in when the door is opened. Use a proper balance of light to eliminate high contrast areas and glare. These issues are important when the lighting is used in combination with security cameras. Glare results from too harsh a light being directed on a surface and can result even when the surface is one you wouldn’t consider being reflective. Overly intensive light or too narrow a focus can also create areas of high contrast. The light needs to be diffuse enough that you cannot see layers of intensity within one area. High contrast between these areas can cause havoc with low light cameras and cameras that are able to shift between unlit and lit modes of operation.
A proper lighting design will increase the aesthetics of your home, overdoing it can be tempting but make sure your outdoor fixtures do not encroach on your neighbor’s property, especially shining directly on their residence. Light trespass has been addressed in many area’s building codes. Talk to your neighbors and allow them input on directional lighting that may encroach their property. Talking to them first may get you permission and cooperation. If they are fine with lighting that shines on their property as may be the case with shared driveways, et cetera, get a written statement from them agreeing to have your light shine on their property.
Read our post: Go green with home lighting to find the cost benefits of using new lighting systems and how to make the switch.
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