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Finding the Right Fixture

42192cmzHi! My name is Karena. I’m new to the lighting industry, but have 15 years experience as a graphic and interior designer. As far as design jobs go, I feel pretty lucky to be working for a small family-owned business right in the heart of the St. Paul midway area. I am surrounded by beauty and new exciting products every day. I am learning so much, and each day brings a new challenge. Just the other day I was helping a guest select lighting for her mothers’ powder room. The guest had originally purchased blue pendants from a big box store that did not work in the space because they projected a pattern of shadows on the mirror, which made it difficult to apply make-up and were also not emitting enough light through the dark colored glass that had a small aperture (opening at bottom). So we did a bit of problem solving… I learned from Kay (who has worked in lighting for over 20 years) if you simply hold up a piece of white paper up near the fixture, and then turn the fixture on, you can see if it produces any shadows. This technique allowed the guest and me to eliminate 4-5 fixtures, seeing that the seeded glass and spiral shapes in some of the fixtures produce unwanted patterns. These lights would be great for ambiance in a bar or lounge area, but not a bathroom where you need more light. We were able to narrow our selection down to a very pretty contemporary frosted grey and white glass pendant. It gave off plenty of light, produced no shadows, had an easy to change standard bulb base, a wider aperture, and was the right style-soft transitional. The take-away here is, not only are aesthetics important, function is equally crucial. Task analysis must be done before anything else. Ask yourself:

  • What types of activities are going to be preformed within the space?
  • How often will you use the space?
  • Is it in a wet location?
  • What are your measurements?
  • What other finishes are in the space?

By determining these first, you can start to sort out which lighting is best for the space and get it right the first time. Until next time! Karena

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