The evolution of new lamp technology and fixture design gives homeowners many options for designing with light. The right lamp, fixture and position are all it takes to achieve a dramatic lighting effect in the home.

Whether focusing on a sculpture, a flower arrangement or a priceless painting, both the size and texture of an object or display can be greatly enhanced with the use of the right lamps.

According to Patricia DiMaggio, commercial engineer at Osram Sylvania, lamps come in many shapes, sizes and wattages—the most common are Halogen PAR and MR16 lamps. Halogen PAR lamps are efficient and will outperform older R30 and R40 lamps. MR16 lamps are smaller and more precise in beam control. Both lamp types are directional, creating beam patterns ranging from very narrow to very wide “beam spread” distributions.

The proportions of an object or display are important factors in lamp selection. The objective is to cover the object with light while adding the desired punch. To achieve the desired impact on a large piece, two sources, such as a flood lamp and a spot beam lamp, should be combined.

Key lighting creates dramatic shadowing effects on the object being highlighted. Grazing can be applied to a textured wall from above or below for different effects. And for displaying objects with interesting shapes or forms, silhouette lighting is created by lighting a wall and placing the object in front of the illuminated backdrop.

Osram Sylvania recently brought a number of innovative light sources to the market. Many are energy saving with brilliant color and beam control. For instance, the new Sylvania MR16/IR lamp incorporates an infrared coating, optimizing the light output by redirecting the excess infrared energy, helping to reduce energy usage.

The new Sylvania 37MR16/IR lamp emits the same amount of light as a 50W MR lamp, and the new Sylvania 50MR16/IR lamp will outperform a 65W MR lamp. These lamps are available in a variety of beam patterns. Sylvania has also incorporated this energy saving technology into many of their PAR lamps.

Accent lighting adds drama to a room, creating visual interest by highlighting the colors of furnishings, artwork, plants, wall hangings and wall textures. According to Jim Decker, vice president of marketing at Progress Lighting, “To be properly dramatic, accent lighting requires at least three times as much light in the focal point as the general lighting around it.”

Accent lighting can be achieved with the two most popular forms: track and recessed. Versatile track lights can swivel, rotate and be aimed. Low-voltage halogen lamps work best to accent objects and art. Consider pairing track lighting with a dimmer. To prevent glare, lampholders should be aimed at a 30-degree angle. Halogen, fluorescent and incandescent models offer a number of lighting options.

Recessed lighting is the workhouse of today’s homes. Select lighting fixtures that match the size and scope of the room. Areas over 100 square feet require several recessed down lights or decorative surface mounted fixtures. Progress Lighting offers everything from compact fluorescence Pro-Optic designs that produce 40 percent greater foot/candle levels than traditional flat-top reflectors to sloped-ceiling designs.

Leviton Lighting’s 7-button Scene Controller is ideal for operating accent lighting throughout a home. The product offers easy installation to contractors and represents an excellent upgrade from standard dimmers or traditional light switches.

Used for both new construction and retrofit applications, the Scene Controller offers multi-point scene lighting control. It can be used with either Leviton Monet Architectural-Grade Scene Dimmers and Fan Speed Controls or with Leviton Mural Scene Capable Dimmers, providing up to seven separate scenes within a room or group of rooms. In addition to seven scene buttons, each device provides an off button and arrow-shaped buttons for group dimming and brightness control.

Originally developed to showcase fine art in museums, SoLux markets a MR16 (12V) lightbulb that provides a soft white light while enhancing color. According to Dr. Philip Bradfield, vice president at Tailored Lighting Inc., SoLux bulbs make colors come alive in a room. SoLux is available in 35W and 50W, in four beam-spreads, as well as in three color temperatures. EC

WOODS writes for many consumer and trade publications. She can be reached at patwoods123@hotmail.com.