Less than 10 years ago, it was common to see the same light fixtures throughout a home. “Everything matched, every light,” says Kim Miller, showroom manager at Light Expressions By Shaw in Coralville.
Well, those days are gone. Today, Eastern Iowa homeowners are adding personality to their homes with individual and artistic light fixtures. “People have gone to more of an eclectic design,” Miller says. “The lighting is the jewelry of the house.”
In recent years, the traditional ceiling fan has dimmed in popularity. “In the past, you put a fan in every room,” Miller says. “Now we’re seeing a lot more chandeliers in master bedrooms, living rooms and kids’ rooms.” For homeowners who still favor the function of a ceiling fan, “they’re actually coming out with fans that look like a chandelier,” she says, “so you can have the best of both worlds.”
Speaking of chandeliers, Miller says the biggest trend in lighting for 2014 is the resurgence of crystal chandeliers. “Crystal is in,” she says, “but these are not like the chandeliers of yore. Back in the day, crystals were sort of droopy. Now, they’re integrated into a contemporary fixture.”
In the kitchen, “the LED tape light is a huge trend. It’s almost as thin as a piece of tape, hence the name tape light,” Miller says. “It just goes on the bottom of your cupboard and it’s now available in enough lumens, or brightness, to be a task light. When it first came out, it was more of an accent light.” LED tape lights can be plugged into a standard outlet, making them super easy to install.
If you’re thinking about renovating your bathroom, Miller recommends that in addition to an overhead light, you consider placing lights above and on each side of the mirror to avoid unflattering shadows.
“That really is the ideal way to light your bathroom. In fact, layering your light is the ideal way to light any room.”
In a final piece of advice, Miller recommends that homeowners add dimmers to the lights in different rooms, not just over the dining room table. "You always want to put any light on a dimmer that you can," she says.. You’ll always want to check, but "95 percent of lights are dimmable," and most light bulbs are, too. Think outside the box and imagine dimmable lights in your bathrooms, bedrooms, hallways and other living spaces. They allow you to create the perfect mood any time of night or day.
This article originally appeared in The Gazette's Cedar Rapids Home Show special section on Feb. 16, 2014.