Lighting Tips

At Metro Appliances & More we have a well-trained and experienced staff of lighting professionals ready to assist you in your selection process. We’ll make sure that your lighting experience is truly “enlightening.” Learn more about lighting with the following helpful tips!

» Exterior Lighting » Flush Mounts
» Hanging Foyer & Hall Fixtures » Formal Chandeliers
» Casual Dining Tips » Pendant Lighting Tips
» Tiffany Lighting Tips » Wall Sconces
» Bathroom Lighting Tips » Ceiling Fans
» Controls & Dimmers » Track Lighting Tips
» Recessed Lighting Tips » Floor & Table Lighting Tips
» Under Cabinet Lighting » Landscape Lighting


Exterior Lighting

Exterior lighting should not only enhance the beauty of your home but also add safety and security for you and your guests. It can make a dramatic first impression as well as illuminate house numbers, locks, and changes in walk surface levels. Plus, for security, allows you to identify visitors before opening your doors.

Choose the correct size fixture for the scale of your home by stepping out to the street and visualizing how the fixture will appear from the street. Remember that a wall fixture that is 24 inches tall will not look large home will diminish the overall scale of your home.

To create a warm, welcoming look, select two wall mounted fixtures on either side of your entry at a height of approximately 66 inches and, when possible, space about four feet apart.

Under a soffit, overhang or porch, you can choose from a recessed fixture, chain hung or flush mount. Additional entries can be lighted with a single wall mounted fixture placed on the doorknob side of the entrance.

For additional safety and convenience, we recommend mounting a floodlight fixture with a motion sensor above the garage door. This fixture will turn on automatically when you drive up and when uninvited visitors approach.

When positioning outdoor lights, be careful not to shine unwanted light towards your neighbors. Aim a floodlight down at a 45-degree angle and remember a little light goes a long way in pure darkness.

Most of our fixtures are cast aluminum or solid brass and will not rust. An antique brass, rust, verde, black or white finish will remain close to its original appearance, but we can not guarantee that polished brass will keep its luster for more than six months.

Flush Mounts

Flush mount fixtures are a good source of general lighting in almost every area of the home. In an entry area, avoid sudden changes in light intensity from the foyer to hall and living areas.

Hallway lighting should be bright enough to light stairs, corners, and any other potential hazardous areas. The light should be bright enough to distinguish a blue coat from black, but not bright enough for reading.

Center lights in bedrooms or studies can provide a general source of soft lighting. Functional ceiling lights in closets and pantries will assist you in identifying the items you need and help sort colors of clothes in closets.

Florescent lighting in a work area such as a kitchen or laundry room offers an even light, delivering three times the light per watt of an incandescent bulb and lasts 10 to 20 times longer. For this reason, consider fluorescent fixtures in areas where changing bulbs is inconvenient.

Hanging Foyer & Hall Fixtures

Hanging fixtures can provide an excellent source of general lighting, as well as create a center of attention and stylish focal point for an entire area. The hanging foyer fixture you select is the first thing guests see as they enter your home, creating the personality of your home.

Consider the scale of your entire home when selecting a hanging fixture for a large, 2-story entry or open stairway. The size of this fixture will enhance the open, grand feel of your home. By choosing a fixture that is too small for your space, you could deter from on of your home's most prominent architectural design features.

Placement in a foyer could depend on the stairway location or the presence of an upper window. Consider the appearance from the street or walkway as well as from inside your home. In some cases you may want to sacrifice some aesthetic appearance the fixture gives to the interior of your home to accomplish a dramatic scene on the outside of your home.

Consider a "light lift" for fixtures hung from high ceilings. It installs in the ceiling above the canopy and will allow you to lower chandeliers electronically for cleaning and changing bulbs.

Formal Chandeliers

Chandeliers provide a key element in the decor of your dining area, and are functional as well. Supplementary lighting with wall sconces, recessed lighting or lamps can also enhance the aura of this room.

A chandelier should be in good proportion to your table, but not necessarily the room. The minimum diameter of the chandelier should be about 6" narrower than the width of your table on each side.

In rooms with 8' ceilings, hang the chandelier so the bottom of the fixture is 29-34 inches above the top of the table. In rooms with higher ceilings, raise the chandelier another 3 inches for every additional foot of ceiling height. Be careful not to block the view of your guests across the table. Also, keep in mind any special centerpieces you may use.

The style of the fixture is important to take into consideration as well. For instance, a single "bowl" or contemporary disk fixture would be more appealing hung at a lower height, while an intricate crystal chandelier may be hung at a higher level so one may appreciate all the various cuts of crystal.

Keep in mind the specific activities that may take place at your table other than dining. If, for instance, you play cards at your table, a fixture with bulbs pointing down or a down light would give you more light. Chandeliers with arms pointing up towards the ceiling may not provide enough light so consider supplementing with two recessed down lights placed 18 inches beyond either side of the outside diameter of the chandelier. Another option is to place 4 recessed fixtures above the four corners of the table.

Casual Dining Tips

Many fixtures providing light in these areas need to be functional as well as stylish. Consider what activities may take place at the area which you are lighting. Children may be doing homework, or perhaps your family enjoys playing games at a dinette or kitchen table, select a fixture with lights pointing down onto the surface instead of a chandelier with all the lights pointing up towards the ceiling.

However, if you use this area strictly for dining, use indirect lighting with the bulbs pointing upward would create a softer and more relaxing mood.

Pendant Lighting Tips

Pendant lights are particularly useful directly over work surfaces such as kitchen islands, kitchen sinks, kitchen tables, and game tables. Most of the light projects down, and directly illuminates the work surface.

Metal pendant lights direct the light down onto the table while a pendant light with a glass or translucent shade will direct light down as well as out and into the surrounding area.

Since most pendants utilize a bare bulb or have an open bottom, they can produce glare when using a high wattage bulb. Use a frosted, globe shaped bulb and a dimmer to help control this glare.

Hang a pendant style fixture so the bottom is about 30 inches above the top of the table and its size approximately 12 inches narrower than the diameter or width of the table. Since it has an open bottom, you will want to hang it lower, as mentioned above, and directly over the work surface to avoid glare from the bulb.

Tiffany Lighting Tips

Since Tiffany fixtures usually have an open bottom or down light they provide a desirable amount of light over dining tables and game tables.

When selecting Tiffany-style lighting, keep in mind that the colors appear much darker when the fixture is not on.

Wall Sconces

Wall sconces can be used in numerous locations in your home and provide a variety of effects such as general lighting, task lighting, and/or accent lighting.

In a hallway, place sconces every 8-10 feet at a height of 66-72 inches above the floor. This should provide adequate lighting. If you select a sconce that uses a lower wattage bulb, you may want to supplement it with some recessed down lights and/or lights in the hall closet if the hall lighting is not bright enough to impact the closet area.

Using sconces on either side of an entry way can serve as an invitation into the area. Placed on either side of a fireplace, sconces provide a soft glow to accent the area. Sconces also work as night-lights for almost any area.

In great rooms with high, vaulted ceilings, wall sconces can provide the main source of lighting as well as enhance the beauty of the vault. Choose a sconce with the bulb pointing up and a style that accepts a higher wattage bulb. The placement of wall sconces depends on the height of the wall and where you need the light. Generally, 66-72 inches above the floor is a recommended height. In a room with a vaulted ceiling, you may want to raise them slightly.

In bedrooms, placing sconces on either side of the bed, instead of lamps, provide task lighting for reading in addition to creating a cozy atmosphere.

Bathroom Lighting Tips

Lighting above your mirror should be centered over the sink to minimize shadowing on your face. If you have two sinks, center a fixture over each sink.

Metro Lighting recommends mounting fixtures on either side of the mirror or sink. Mount them no further than 30 inches apart to avoid shadows and approximately 60 to 66 inches off the floor depending on the height of those who will be utilizing the bathroom.

Light fixtures with translucent white diffusers are the best source to avoid glare, while fixtures with exposed bare bulbs sometimes produce a glare.

Consider the size of your bathroom when selecting your lighting. If your bath is larger than 10'x10', it may require a separate ceiling fixture for general lighting as well as over the vanity area. If you have a separate shower stall, toilet, or tub, choose a specific light for that area. For example, a recessed shower/tub light.

A dimmer control will allow your bathroom lighting to double as a night-light for any unscheduled trips made during the night.

Ceiling Fans

To move air efficiently in a room up to 12'X12', you will need a fan with at least a 42" blade span. In a room greater than 12'x12', you will need a fan with at least a 50" blade span. If the room is exceptionally large or long, consider more than one fan.

For ultimate performance and looks, the bottom of the fan or any fan component should hang no lower than 6'6" or any higher than 10' from the floor, no matter what your ceiling height. For high ceilings consider using a downrod extension.

If you're removing a light fixture to install a fan, consider adding a light kit to your fan. Also, be sure the fan is secured properly. Fans weigh more than a light fixture and will need a specific mounting box and/or support brace.

Always try to choose a control switch to use with your fan for convenience and to avoid the noise that dangling chains may cause.

All of our fans are reversible, allowing you to cool in the summer and to gently push heated air down into the room in the winter. Ceiling fans can offer dramatic energy savings. By using a fan with your air conditioning during the summer, you can save approximately 4-8% on your energy bill for each degree you raise your thermostat. Remember, fans cool you by creating a wind-chill effect. Your room can feel up to 6% cooler than it really is by utilizing a ceiling fan in the summer.

By reversing the direction of your fan in the winter, you can save approximately 1-2% on your heating bill for each degree you lower your thermostat. It does this by pushing the trapped warm air off your ceiling. Depending up on your ceiling height this differential could be from 4 to 8 degrees or more. By utilizing a ceiling fan in the winter, your room's floor temperature will be approximately the same as the temperature at your room's ceiling height.

Most of Metro Lighting's fans carry a lifetime warranty on the motor. We can arrange for installation through a licensed electrical contractor.

Controls & Dimmers

Dimmers allow you the most flexibility with almost any lighting application, whether reading the newspaper of having a romantic dinner at your table. They can allow fixtures to be used as night-lights or security lighting when away from your home.

Dimmers can dramatically increase the life expectancy of light bulbs and save electricity.

The following chart explains:
% Lights are Dimmed
Electricity Saved
Extends Bulb Life
2 Times
4 Times
20 Times
20 Times

Track Lighting Tips

Track lighting is primarily used for accent or task lighting. It is meant to illuminate a specific area or object with a pool of light.

To illuminate a specific object, place the track head at a 30-60 degree angle from the
horizontal plane of the object. If it is a picture with glass, do not place the light more than

2-3 feet from the wall in order to reduce glare.

Placement of track lighting down the center of a room will only cause glare in your face and shadows on your task area.

When laying out your track plan, take the following steps:

  1. Measure the length of the track you will need.
  2. Determine where along the track you will need power, whether at the end or somewhere in the middle.
  3. Select the proper connecting units needed for your plan.
  4. Select the proper bulb type and wattage needed for your plan.
  5. Then select the style and quantity of track fixtures you will need.

Keep in mind that a track system is very flexible and, if necessary, you can add to it later.

Recessed Lighting Tips

Recessed fixtures are an excellent source of general lighting as well as task and accent lighting. The fixture is hidden in the ceiling so that it will provide light without attracting attention.

For general lighting, use down lights spaced evenly in groups of four or more, 6-8 feet apart.

In bathrooms, use a recessed shower light over tubs and showers to provide safety when bathing or showering. In the kitchen, or other work areas, place down lights above the front edge of your counter spaced 2 feet apart. This will evenly illuminate the workspace in front of you.

Using recessed lighting to accent artwork and architectural features can create dramatic effects. Placing fixtures 6-8 inches from a wall and 12-24 inches apart can emphasize a brick or stone wall. This technique is known as "grazing."

By placing down lights in the exterior eaves of your home every 8-10 feet you can create a dramatic effect by "washing" your home with a soft light.

Take the following steps to select your recessed lighting:

  1. Determine the type of housing you will need.
  2. Select the proper bulb type and wattage – this is determined by what you want the light to accomplish.
  3. Select the trim type to best suit your plan.

Recessed lighting, unlike track, is not flexible and cannot be easily changed. If you want to achieve a clean look, the nearly invisible recessed can and tram places more emphasis on what is being lit than the fixture itself.

Floor & Table Lighting Tips

To reduce glare from table lamps, make sure the bottom of the socket and/or the bottom of the shade are at eye level when you are seated.

In a room with a high or vaulted ceiling, consider using a floor torchier lamp to emphasize the vault and soften large walls.

When selecting lamps for bedside reading, consider a halogen lamp because halogen bulbs give out tightly focused light that should not disturb others in the room.

Under Cabinet Lighting

Under cabinet lighting can give counters in the kitchen and other work areas the desired light levels to perform tasks more efficiently. These fixtures should be mounted as far to the front of the space under the cabinet as possible, unless you're trying to achieve an accent effect against the rear wall. Under cabinet fixtures are relatively inexpensive for the benefits achieved and can be installed in new or existing applications.

Under cabinet fixtures generally use an energy-efficient fluorescent lamp ranging from 12 to 48 inches in length. Fixtures using other bulb types, such as halogen, are also available.

Landscape Lighting

Landscape lighting will not only add beauty and excitement to your home and landscape design, but will also increase your home's value & provide safety by adding light to walkways, sidewalks, and stairs. It will also protect your family and home by furnishing security to help deter burglaries and vandalism.

You can create dramatic effects by shadowing your home, accenting trees and other garden highlights, and extend the hours of outside activity for you and your family.

When planning and designing your landscape lighting consider the following general

  1. Control the time your lighting goes on and off with a timer. They're inexpensive, very convenient and do their job whether you're home or away.
  2. When you're not using a fixture in a decorative scene try to hide your light source whenever possible behind bushes, shrubs, landscape boulders, etc. This will give a more dramatic effect.
  3. Metro Lighting believes a little light goes a long way. Over lighting, in most cases, impedes the desired mood you're trying to create.
  4. Take time to plan and use your imagination by using a number of lighting techniques for exciting and dramatic results.
  5. If you live in close proximity of other homes, direct your lighting considerately.

Of course, Metro Appliances & More has a full staff of highly trained and experienced lighting consultants to answer your each and every question, plus we'll help you layout and design the lighting for your home. You can feel confident that Metro Appliances & More will give you quality, style, and service when your lighting needs arise.