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    Want to know a quick and inexpensive way to improve the overall look of your home? Upgrade your lighting. It's true! The right lights can actually bring out the colors in a room. They can make everything look more vibrant and natural. In fact, they can even make your skin tone and clothes look better.

    So take a moment to learn about lighting principles. You'll discover that the wrong lights can actually change the color of an object. Learn about lighting design and the difference between ambient, accent and task lighting. And finally, learn about energy-saving lighting controls and how they can automatically save you money - even when you're not at home.


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Learn About Lighting Principles

In order to truly understand lighting, to appreciate all its benefits and potential and to make the best decisions in regards to design, purchasing and placement, it's important to know some basic principles and terms. Light quantity is measured in illumination, lumens and footcandles. Light quality is judged by temperature, rendition and glare. And light efficacy - the most important feature of all - is the ratio of light produced to energy consumed.

Discover Different Types of Lighting

When it comes to lighting, there are several options to choose from. However, fluorescent lights - particularly compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) - have been getting most of the attention lately because their color temperature and rendition are now comparable to incandescent lights, yet they use only 25% to 35% of the energy. That means you can save money and help the environment without sacrificing the look and feel of traditional lighting. Want help choosing your CFL? Use the two handy tools on this page.

Find Out About Lighting Design

If you think about it, indoor lighting is very different from outdoor lighting. Indoors, we're usually interested in a balance of ambient and task lighting. Outdoors, we're generally more concerned about security, utility and spotlighting. But in both places, it's important to match the quantity and quality of a light with the function that it's required to perform. In other words, identify the need before you choose the solution.

Choose the Right Lighting Controls

The best way to make sure that you're using energy-saving lighting is by installing automatic controls on your lights, lamps and fixtures. Dimmers enable you to adjust the light from dimmable CFLs to just the right amount you need. Timers make sure that the lights go off after you've left. And motion sensors are the smartest of all because they can turn lights on when you enter a room and off when you exit.