How bright should my lights be?
When you are deciding on a lighting level it can be hard to figure out how bright or ambient you want the lighting to be. Just what is going to be perfect for aesthetics while also addressing safety concerns? Sometimes the best thing to do is take a moment, step back and look at the neighborhood around you and how other houses are lit. Once you see what others have done, then consider what you want and need for your house. You want safety issues addressed without a flood of light that is more carnival than tranquil. Your lighting design should incorporate street lighting, neighbor’s lighting, and other ambient lighting sources and not just put as many lights into the space as possible.
If you think of a street as separate lots that interact only with the lot next to them it makes more sense. If lot A is next to lot B, then their lights would compare to each other. Let’s say lot B has a little brighter lighting than lot A. Now when lot B is next to lot C, those two compare. Let’s say that lot C makes their lighting just a little bit brighter than lot B. In comparing lot B and lot C, the difference is very minor. But if you compare lot C with lot A you’ll see a greater difference. If you extrapolate this out by 500 lots in a row it becomes apparent that lot ZZZ compared to lot A would be like comparing a tranquil bit of countryside to an amusement park as far as brightness goes.
Some companies want to sell you what I call amusement park lighting. They will stick a light by every tree, bush, blade of grass, or stone, and then three more beaming on the garage. They are trying to make the most they can off the single sale and installation. The problem is, maybe you like living in the spotlight but your neighbors may not. When you are having a lighting system designed for you, take into account those around you. There is a balance between safety and aesthetics, between security and having a soothing, relaxing lighting design that doesn’t blind the neighbors. Your lighting system should meld into the neighborhood as a whole while still showcasing your house both aesthetically and for any safety concerns.
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