Lighting – Nordstrom’s vs. Wal-Mart

Ever wonder why Nordstrom’s and Wal-Mart feel so different?  Besides the obvious radical differences in the merchandise, they are “lit” very differently.  Nordstrom’s lights their merchandise using focused spot lights, so the store is dimly lit giving a calm feeling while the clothing, shoes etc. are well lit drawing your attention to them.  On the other hand, Wal-Mart uses banks of fluorescent lights to light everything in one inexpensive, uniform, harsh and boring way.  How does this apply to your home?

Contemporary KitchenSt. Davids, PA

There are three basic categories of lighting:

  • Ambient
  • Task
  • Accent

This is easily explained by describing the kitchen lighting above.  Ambient light is provided by the hanging fixtures over the island.  This is the general light that allows you to see in a room.  The problem is when you stand at the counter to work that light is dim and often behind you.  So we add recessed lighting that shines directly on the counter and sink to light the areas where you work, providing light for the task.  The final layer of light, the accent, adds the surprise and beauty, here the rope light in the ceiling tray and the light on the stone tile back-splash provide that drama.

Family Room AmblerAmbler, PA

In this family room you can see all three categories in action.

Bedroom Light, Wayne PAWayne, PA

Sometimes the ambient light is the accent.  This unique fixture hangs over the foot of a bed.

Bath St. Davids, PASt. Davids

In this contemporary bath the ambient light is supplied by recessed fixtures creating a moody effect at night.  The pool of light from the bright spot focused on the granite slab draws your attention to this beautiful stone accent. (Yes, that is water dropping from the ceiling to fill the tub, is that too cool?)

Kitchen Mountville, PAMountville, PA

These raised panels are above a kitchen sink on an interior wall.

Kitchen Lighting Wayne, PAWayne, PA

Here you can see the difference that accent lighting makes, even in an already dramatic cabinet the lighting adds a lot.

Bathroom Wayne, PAWayne, PA

I love the pattern of the window grills from the sun light.  Sometimes the most interesting light is the light that you can’t control.

Layers of lighting, controlled by dimmers can be used to create many moods in a room, adding to the beauty of your home.

All the fixtures shown here were purchased at Yale Lighting, Lancaster, where I have worked with a wonderful lighting sales person, Heather Stauffer, for many years.

Please Add Your Comments Below

Bruce Gingrich is a residential designer and custom builder based in New Holland, PA.  His company, Glenn Gingrich, Inc. is a design, build, remodel firm that executes projects from conception to completion.  His functional insight, meticulous planning, building expertise, and customer collaboration can give you the living space of your dreams.

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