any lighting experts in the house? Need help

ok, here’s the deal:

A couple of weeks ago, I decided to finally break down and repaint my room…3 walls aqua blue, one wall darkish teal.

Trouble is, once the sun starts to set, my room is now about twice as dark as it used to be (it used to be a nice peachy color). The only light in my room is from a cheapie IKEA floor lamp in one corner; my house is about 20 years old and only one of the bedrooms (not this one) has any semblance of overhead lighting. So it’s very dim in here in the evenings.

The floor lamp is in a corner where light paint meets dark paint, and the dark paint apparently just sucks the light right up. So my problem is this: since I don’t have overhead lighting, and I don’t know any/can’t afford an electrician to rewire my room for overhead lighting, what can I do to brighten things up in here a little? What kind of lamps/lighting would you suggest?

I was thinking of running to IKEA and/or Home Depot and looking at spotlights and “tree” lamps and that sort of thing…but I’m still not sure. A little help here?

Do you need the light for anything in particular like reading or a computer or desk or is it just ‘regular’ ambient lighting?

Assuming you just want a general lighting scheme, I enjoy colored lights. You can go with a tree lamp like you suggested and put a different color in each branch. Turn on various colors as your mood suits you.

If you’re even a little handy, I’ve had great luck with LEDs. I’ve put some cyan and white ones next to each other and put them behind something so that they cast their combined beam on a wall or perhaps something made of glass to scatter the light. One of my favorite techniques is to put some LEDs in a potted plant and allow the leaves to scatter the colors. Plants are cool…lighted plants are stellar. The LEDs are vivid enough to stand on their own, subtle enough to leave on all the time and come in a thousand different colors. What’s more, they generate virtually zero heat and are extremely easy on the power bill. The key to LED lighting, I’ve found, is to hide or obscure the actual LED and only allow the beam to shine out.

There are three types of lighting.

General lighting

Task Lighting

Accent lighting
If you like to read or do something that needs some light that is task lighting.

Accent lights can be softer and are used to say throw light on a painting or photo’s on the wall. You might try to mix it up with some ‘Up lights’ that shoot light towards the celing. I don’t know how the rest of the room is decorated but maybe some twinkel or ‘white Christmas’ lights could be strung along a shelf for an inexpensive lighting.
Also check out this show call Design Rules that aired on BBC America. Tons of helpful hints.

you know, I don’t know what would scare me more…dealing with electrical-type devices or dealing with plantlike things. I am a notorious plant murderess, except that I have never actually INTENDED to kill any plant I’ve ever owned…it just sort of ends up happening. :smack: I have a black thumb. So yeah, maybe dealing with electrical devices would be easier.

That said, where does one find LEDs (yes, I know what they are, I just don’t know where to buy them)?

I’m aiming for sort of a cross between “ambient” and “functional” with the lighting. I’d like to be able to read comfortably and use my computer without going completely blind, but I also just want it to look cool. Is that asking for too much?

While I’m not an expert, here’s a suggestion. If the ceiling of this room is white or nearly so, look for a lamp that shines upwards. The taller the lamp the better, and preferably one with an opaque shade that refelcts the light up, so you don’t have a direct view of the bulb. If you can illuminate a goodly portion of the ceiling, it will cast a reasonably shadowless glow throughout the room. I would also recommend using the compact fluorescent bulbs for the lamp. The newer ones give a very warm white colour and despite the higher initial cost, last for years and use about 25% of the power of a standard incandescent.

Another type of light you might consider is the ‘torchiere.’ They project light upwards, and are usually in the 250W and upwards halogen variety. Lots of light, but they also produce heat, so don’t use them near anything which could end up on top, as in a windblown curtain, or it’s a fire for sure.

The LEDmuseum at
http://www.ledmuseum.org
is a good place to read up on LEDs that are available. At times, Craig has LEDs available there for sale as well. There’s a nice lighting community at
http://www.candlepowerforums.com/
where there’s forums and stuff for sale.

Like with anything else, Ebay is going to always be a resource available for buying parts and supplies for hobbies. Nichia is a very good brand and comparably priced with other manufacturers. I have bought Luxeon (high power) LEDs both on Ebay and from:
http://www.quickar.com/
and found them to be fast and helpful.

Keep in mind that LEDs do need some pretty specific power requirements and this usually means building little regulator circuits. That different LED chemistries operate at different voltages complicates the wiring a bit. I’ve had luck using the LM317 adjustable regulator. To the inexperienced, all this may seem complicated but once you understand the basics, the results are worth it. Also, since its all low voltage and low heat, there’s little risk of danger during experimenting.

One other option to consider is lighting gels (high temp colored plastic sheets) for white lamps you may already have. You can double these up to mix colors in addition to the many colors available already. You can get these at theater suppliers and music stores like Guitar Center and Sam Ash.