The angle of a sloped ceiling affects the type of lighting fixture you choose. With flat ceilings all illumination is directed downward. Sloped ceilings allow you to design illumination as a separate decorative attraction. Use combinations of dimmer switches to highlight certain areas of the room and mute tones and colors in other areas.
To maximize the lighting effects with a sloped ceiling. use more switches. Whether you use single pole or three-way switches for multiple switching locations, include dimming switches in your design. You may need a specific type of dimmer switch, depending on the type of bulbs you use.
Canister lights are mounted flush against the ceiling with a trim or finish ring affixed to the surface. Regular incandescent or PAR (parabolic aluminum reflector) bulbs can be used in canister fixtures. You can choose to install the newer compact fluorescent lights (CFL’s), but be aware that a specific type of CFL is used in overhead lighting. One option with canister lights is to use an “eyeball” trim ring. The trims can be rotated to illuminate a particular area. Experiment with colored light. For example, use a red bulb over a fireplace area or a green bulb over a planter.
Swag or Pendant Lighting
Use the electrical junction box as the mounting base for swag or pendant lights. A chain or rod extends directly from the box, with the light mounted on the end of the dangling attachment. A trim plate on the ceiling hides the wires. Leave enough room under the light for walking and to ensure any seating area directly under the light does not get uncomfortably hot.
Track and Bounce Lighting
Track lights are plastic or metal strips with embedded electrical contacts inside them. You can mount specially-designed light bulbs anywhere along the “track.” Track lights provide directionality. Consider alternating the lights, with some pointing at the ceiling and others down the walls. Controlled switching lets you create a very different atmosphere or ambiance in a room.
Use colored bulbs to dramatically change the mood in a room. Lighting can contribute to a sense of well-being. Experiment with different effects, including directing some colored light onto mirrors and other light onto absorbing surfaces, like cloth.
- American Lighting Association
- Residential Lighting: A Practical Guide to Beautiful and Sustainable Design; Randall Whitehead; 2008
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