The Shapes & Forms of Lighting

Once you have selected what you want to light, you will have to decide how you are going to light it. Your local Kay showroom is the best place to view the many different styles, sizes and shapes of lighting fixtures that are available to deliver the ambient, task and accent lighting you need.

Chandeliers add style and a decorative focal point to almost any room in the house. Recent lighting design trends have focused on the value of chandeliers in many spaces throughout the house. They have traditionally been used primarily in the dining room, but are now commonly used in bedrooms, kitchens, family rooms, living rooms, foyers and bathrooms.

Some chandeliers are designed with downlights to provide task lighting for homework, table games or to accent table settings. Many chandeliers today also are available with either fabric or glass shades, which provide excellent lighting while reducing glare and providing an artistic element to the space. They also are available in a variety of light sources, including incandescent, tungsten-halogen and even energy efficient fluorescent.

The addition of a dimmer lets you alter the intensity of the light to suit the mood or activity. Dimming incandescent bulbs will save electricity and will also extend the life of the bulb. All incandescent sources can be dimmed with standard dimmers, but low-voltage halogen, fluorescent and LED require special controls. Ask your Kay lighting showroom for more information on these special dimmers.


Hall/foyer fixtures can create a beautiful focal point at the entrance to your home. They can provide the ambient lighting that you need to greet guests and to assure safe passage into other areas of your home. The ceiling height of the space will determine the type of fixture that you should use. In taller ceilings and over stairways, large chandeliers and chain-hung foyer fixtures are most appropriate. Use surface-mounted and close-to-ceiling fixtures in foyers with lower ceilings and in hallways.


Pendants can provide both task and ambient lighting. They are extremely popular and available in an unlimited range of styles, shapes and colors. Equipped with shades or globes to avoid glare, they are suspended from the ceiling over kitchen counters, breakfast areas, game tables or other work areas. When used over bedside tables, they provide good task lighting and also free up the space occupied by table lamps. The use of a dimmer provides you with the flexibility to vary the light to suit the occasion.


Ceiling fixtures are excellent as a source of ambient lighting. They are very practical in areas with much activity such as foyers, hallways, bedrooms, kitchens, baths, laundry rooms, playrooms and dens. They are available with incandescent, fluorescent and compact fluorescent light sources.


Wall-mounted fixtures can provide a unique sense of elegance and sophistication to any home. They can also furnish ambient, task and accent lighting. Many are designed to match and supplement chandeliers and other fixtures in sets or families. They are excellent sources of light in foyers, hallways, bedrooms, living rooms, home offices and home theaters. Wall brackets also are often used for task lighting at the sides of bathroom mirrors.


Bath/vanity lighting fixtures supply task lighting, while supplementing the general lighting provided by ceiling fixtures. They are available in a wide range of styles, colors and shapes, and are being used much more frequently today than the older bath/vanity lighting strips. Newer versions of bath/vanity fixtures are available with either glass or fabric shades, which provide excellent glare control while providing excellent task lighting for grooming, applying makeup and shaving. They can be mounted either above or at the sides of the mirror.


Portable lamps can deliver ambient, task and accent lighting while giving you the flexibility to move the light wherever you want. Table lamps, floor lamps and torchieres (floor lamps with an uplight component) are available in a variety of styles to complement your interior design. Small specialty lamps, such as clip-onlights, adjustable task lights and desk and accent lamps, fill a variety of task, ambient and accent lighting needs. Lamps today are available with incandescent, tungstenhalogen and energy-efficient compact fluorescent bulbs.


Track lighting has undergone many changes in recent years. The trend in track lighting has been toward smaller fixtures, which are much less noticeable in the space. Track lighting is excellent for its flexibility, and can provide ambient, task or accent lighting in a flexible lighting system. You can move, swivel, rotate and aim the individual fixtures in any direction along the track, giving you the versatility to change the lighting scheme when the need arises. With special attachments, you also can hang chandeliers and pendants from the track. The fixtures are available in either standard voltage (120 volts) or low-voltage (12 volts) current. Newer lowvoltage track systems are very small, and are available in many interesting shapes, colors and styles. They are visually appealing and can provide the focal point in any room where they are used. Track fixtures also are available with a choice of incandescent, tungsten-halogen and energy-efficient compact fluorescent light sources.


Rail lighting is increasing in popularity. As the demand increases for bendable, flexible rail lighting systems, track lighting has been rejuvenated not only for function, but to add an additional decorative element to the space.


Recessed lighting can provide general, task and ambient lighting in a very subtle manner. Installed in the ceiling with only the trim showing, recessed fixtures can be used anywhere in the home, including outdoors, under eaves and on porches. They are ideal for any type of ceiling, including tall ceilings, shorter ceilings and sloped ceilings. They are available as downlights for ambient and track lighting, and as adjustable accent lights or wall washers for accent lighting. They are available in both standard and low-voltage current with a choice of incandescent, tungsten-halogen and energy-efficient compact fluorescent and LED sources.


Undercabinet/undershelf fixtures offer both task and accent lighting. Mounted under kitchen wall cabinets, they provide excellent task lighting at the countertop. Used in display cabinets, they provide accent lighting for three-dimensional art and sculpture. In workshops or laundry rooms, they are an ideal source of task and ambient lighting. They include slim, energy-efficient fluorescents, miniature linear lighting and strips of line or low-voltage, LED, xenon or halogen mini-lights.

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