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Let’s Talk Vintage!

Bulbrite has just come out with a new product, which leads us around to a conversation about everything vintage. The company has just released a series of LED Curved Filaments. These new bulbs are created to mimic all styles of nostalgic incandescents. But now they have the added benefits of LED’s. So let’s talk vintage…

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Each bulb is fully dimmable on all dimmer types and it’s ingenious shape of the filaments offer up a visually stimulating element while still providing the ambient, nostalgic lighting needed. These bulbs are perfect for commercial light strings as well as decorative light strands, or any decorative application that accepts ST18 teardrop bulbs with E26/E27 bases. The ST18 bulbs imitate the look of thin filament wire in antique style bulbs. This is a great part of their appeal.

These vintage LED bulbs are a perfect match for the newly emerging restoration type chandeliers and pendants that one often sees in restaurants and commercial environments. A few years back, a few manufacturers like Elk Lighting began crafting collections of Vintage style fixtures – which took off in popularity, especially with homeowners.

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About Elk Lighting

ELK Group International, or as consumers more readily recognize them as Elk Lighting, is headquartered in Nesquehoning, PA. The company is a premier designer and manufacturer of indoor and outdoor residential and commercial lighting fixtures, decorative accessories and furniture. Elk offers several collections in the vintage styling, including The Chadwick Collection and the Carolton Collection. If you’re looking for an exciting new look, yet have a certain affection for nostalgic items, perhaps a vintage fixture is a choice to consider. Just keep in mind that if you need bulbs for it, Bulbrite has them!

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Tips for Using Uplight and Downlight Fixtures

When considering a large scale room change – whether it is a compete re-paint, a furniture overhaul or even knocking down a wall to co-join two adjacent rooms; most people have a pretty clear idea in their heads about how they want their final room to look. So a lot of focus is placed on shelving, room function, paint colors and furniture styling. Perhaps a feng shui expert is even called in for a consultation. But in prepping a room for its ultimate function and look, most people place the idea of ‘room lighting’ at the bottom of the ‘to do or to get list’. Why?

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Good light is imperative for making a painting look great on a wall. It is important for when one is preparing food in a kitchen. It is much preferred by those who apply makeup each morning in the bath area. It is necessary when one needs to enter the darkened basement to check the furnace or hot water heater. Correct lighting can help to create a dynamic room effect. Poor lighting will dull and darken an environment, and can cause an otherwise wonderfully decorated room to appear – dreary.

By thinking ahead on what parts of a room need to be lit for functionality sake, but also where any supporting light should be, it will make a huge difference in how the room ultimately appears. Here are a few tips for using uplight and downlight fixtures:

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Lighting Areas with Glossy Finishes

Many people nowadays, prefer doing everything themselves. For DYIers, there can be great thrill in taking full ownership of manifesting one’s inner creativity by designing a room’s features from start to finish. But there’s often more to interior decorating than meets the eye. For instance, if several of your table or fixture surfaces are highly reflective; such as chrome, glass or glossy granites; then extremely bright LED down lighting may cause harsh glare spots that are exceptionally hard on the eyes. When working with glossy surfaces, by employing uplighting, especially when bounced off a bright white ceiling; the light will be diffused sufficiently enough to allow room brightness – sans harsh surface glare.

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Properly Lighting Ultra-Dark Environments

Perhaps one’s personal taste lies in the area of rich, dark wood grains and deep maroon velvety surfaces, reflective of old world décor. A preference then might be for a grandly styled center hanging chandelier over an impeccably decorated dining table. Quite often, those who prefer the darker spectrum of home décor also tend to prefer subtle lighting as well. In this case, using a downlight chandelier might cause too much light to shower directly over a guest’s head. Crystal glasses, chrome serving ware and silverware can cause a cacophony of reflective glare. Uplight chandeliers with brighter bulbs, and a dimmer will enable a room to not only be well lit when needed, but will also allow for a certain subtle ambience, when dimmer light for dinner guests is preferred.

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Lighting the Bath Mirror Area

Bathroom vanity fixtures are generally installed pointing down for good reason – to illuminate a face in the mirror. But that doesn’t mean that every bath area must have downward facing vanity lights. Most people point the mirrored lights down because pointing bright spots at the ceiling does nothing to create any sense of additional ambience. But sometimes, when installed correctly, an uplight fixture can bounce the light off the ceiling to help to diffuse a mirrored area in general, causing a lovely supportive lighting effect. And sometimes, straight down lighting pointed directly in front of one’s face in the mirror can also cast shadows that are not only non-flattering, but also hinder full facial visibility when needed. In this case, pointing an uplight wall sconce, on the wall closest to the down lit mirror can help minimize or entirely eliminate the shadow effect. While there is no hard and fast rule to lighting any room, the important thing is to figure out how to position the lighting for the appropriate room tasks. Sometimes all that is required is a little experimentation prior to installation.

Changing bulb values (temperature and wattage) can make a huge difference when the lighting appears too bright or harsh. Uplight vanities can be quite flattering, however, if not bright enough – one might consider using CFL’s or LED’s. But in a bath area where the lights are switched on and off fairly often by many family members, incandescents in the long run, are the most cost efficient bulbs to use, as CFL’s are less suited for short on/off bursts.

In summary: if you want a room with overall great lighting, ambient lighting, task lighting or with dimming ability, then you must plan for it – just like when measuring out the appropriate space size before buying the new bed, or choosing complimentary color combinations, before you purchase the paint. A little bit of forethought in the planning stages will net success and help to prevent common and costly mistakes reflective of beginner DYIer efforts.

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Crystal Chandelier Cleaning Tips

Remember the day you installed that beautiful foyer chandelier and how excited you were to step back and take in the exquisite view? It cost a pretty penny but it was worth it because you knew you’d have it for many years to come. And it changed the entire look of your entrance way – made the doorway area much more inviting and appealing to arriving guests. Maybe you purchased a stunning dining chandelier and have spent many months having family meals under it’s showering light.

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Crystorama Chandeliers

But months later you’ve noticed something has changed. The fixture doesn’t dazzle you as much as it originally did. At first you can’t figure it out. Was it just your excitement over having something brand new that overrode the fact that it wasn’t as beautiful as you initially thought? It still looks clean on inspection, but somehow it’s…well, it’s just duller! It doesn’t sparkle like it once did. Something has happened to the luster of the crystals and now it’s really noticeable… maybe not to your invited guests… but to YOU! What happened? How did it loose it’s initial shine? Can something be done to get back it’s initial sparkle? The answer is yes! Here are some easy crystal cleaning tips to regain that original shine:

Though your fixture does not appear caked in dust and dirt, every home has floating air particles that carry elements of debris. You’ll usually recognize it as ‘cooking grime’ in the kitchen, when you find yourself cleaning the greasy film off of your appliances. That grease comes from cooking elements (oils that precipitate out from steam), which settle often on the range hood. But in a dining room or a foyer, it’s not grease that is the culprit; but actually very fine specks of general house dust that first begin to adhere to the crystals. Outside debris from nature might even be partially to blame when a foyer light is constantly exposed to the outside elements via the doorway. Over time, the crystals accumulate a light film of this microscopic debris, clouding the original luster of the crystal teardrops. There is a relatively easy way to regain that sparkle – without having to separate and scrub each crystal. You may have to pull out the ladder if it is hanging in a foyer, but the rules for cleaning are the same whether it is located in a dining room, a bedroom or a foyer.

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Here’s the things you will need:

1 large plastic sheet (for covering tables or floors)
1 roll of 1 inch masking tape
1 box of plastic baggies
1 bottle of apple cider vinegar
1 empty spray bottle
1 cup of  water

To be completely safe, turn off the power where you will be working, at the breaker box. Spread directly below the chandelier, the plastic cloth; to protect a table, furniture or just to keep your floor area clean, if it is a foyer fixture you are cleaning. Cover all the candelabra light sticks with a plastic baggie. Wrap the baggie around the candlestick, and secure the plastic at the bottom of each candlestick lightly with a piece of tape. (Do not wrap the tape so tightly around the stick that you can’t later easily remove it). This will protect the sticks and bulbs from getting wet. Then, add in to the one cup of water, one additional cup of apple cider vinegar and pour the mixture (equal parts) of both into the spray bottle. Lightly spray the entire chandelier, concentrating more on the dangling crystals which hang below the candlesticks. Give the chandelier a good rain bath, lightly saturating the crystals with the vinegar-water mixture. For full coverage, you should move all the way around the chandelier, spraying as you go, and moving the ladder to do so if you must. Try not to twist the chandelier. If it is a relatively new chandelier, there is no need to wipe the crystals. Just let it air dry. When it dries, you will see that the crystals now appear as clear and sparkly as the day you bought it.

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Besa Lighting

If you haven’t cleaned your chandelier for a year or so, you may need to use a lightly sudsy washcloth to gently rub each crystal teardrop. Over time, grime can build up and make it tougher to get the crystals clean. After gently rubbing them, respray them with the vinegar mixture. (A second option would be to re-wet the chandelier with a second or third dose of the apple cider mixture to see if repeated sprays help dissolve the grime film.)

When fully dry, remove the tape and baggies and restore power. There was no scrubbing. There was no painful disassembling of each individual crystal. There was no arm sore chore of re-hanging the separated but now-clean crystals. All you really did was safely give your chandelier a gentle rain bath. The apple cider vinegar did the actual work for you. Recommended cleanings of this type are three to four times a year. If you wish to stretch out your cleanings to only once or twice a year, then purchase a fluffy dusting stick and lightly dust every month. This will help to keep all of your chandeliers as bright and beautiful as the day you bought them!

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Create a Lush Landscape with Light

You’ve driven by them hundreds of times and they’ve always caught your eye. They are those homes in the neighborhood that just scream ‘cut above the rest’. The entire mantle of curbside grass is a deep, even-toned and lustrous green. The cement sidewalk area is crystal clean, immaculately trimmed and there are no telltale cracks of neglect. A few floral beds are spaciously and appropriately placed. The light fixtures seem perfectly placed no matter where you look. And interestingly enough; it makes no difference whether you drive by during the day or the night. The property is beautiful no matter what time you pass by or what angle of view you take in. In fact at night, the location gleams with a warmth so inviting, you simply want to pull over and go meet the people who live there.

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Just what constitutes the difference between generally well kept lawns and those which stand out as stellar icons of neighborhood beauty? What is that one element of stardom that makes that property dazzle so brightly over all others? Sometimes what the eye sees, the eye doesn’t really see at all. Sometimes the illusion of beauty is created from that which can’t be easily detected.

Take landscape lighting for instance. Much of what the eye visually sees is light emitting from hidden fixtures embedded into side walls or in the ground.  Well contoured bushes are illuminated from side posts and lanterns. A singular statue might be illuminated from the ground up, casting interesting dimensions not seen during the day.

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Maxim Bahama Collection

Anyone can create a lush landscape with light, and it does not necessarily mean that to do so requires extensive planning or the hiring of professionals. Sometimes, just taking some time to review what is on your property with a small sketchbook in hand, can help to create a wondrous dream-scape before it actualizes. Sometimes, it’s not all about figuring out transformers and counting and voltage requirements. One can start, simply with an artist’s eye. What specifically needs light? Where would you like extra light? What specific parts of your yard would you like to highlight and why?

With a little sketchbook planning, and a little online fixture shopping, you can gain mastery over your landscape with just a few easy to install outdoor fixtures. Outdoor lighting is not the great mystery everyone thinks it is. To think like an artist, one must begin to see in a different way. Artists take in their entire environment before they begin a painting. They choose what they want as a focal point and build a painting around it. Begin by making note of your existing lights. Are they properly placed on the building? Are they ready for replacement? Do they need supportive light and if so, where could you place on the building, that additional support light?

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Feiss Tove Collection

Visually inspect the surrounding trees and shrubs. Are there any exiting garden decorations and could they use some illumination? Decide whether you want these items to reflect or absorb light. Estimate loosely, the height of your foliage. Do you have an illuminated walkway anywhere on the property? If not, perhaps it’s time to consider lighting up the walk. Transformers are not always needed. There is a huge array of solar path lights now available on the market. It is the easiest landscape lighting to install as there are no cords to be hidden, nor transformers to rig up. With careful positioning, solar fixtures can be an instant additional to any lawn-scape. Just one string of path lighting can reflect immeasurable change to the overall look of the property.

Sometimes it pays to take a few moments to dream, to think and to plan. It’s not hard. It can be fun. And part of the beauty of landscape lighting is that you can do it in bits and pieces – all throughout the summer season. Dressing up your property should be an activity of love. We all know how good it feels to start an project you know you can finish in a short amount of time. We all know the satisfaction of completing a task. So go fixture by fixture. Sometimes, that’s all it takes to make great change.

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The Beauty of Portable Lamps

As information technology has changed the way we live; so too have we adopted the idea of modernizing everything electronically in this world, including all aspects of home decor. Our cars and phones speak to us. Our computers and TV’s captivate us mentally and emotionally. Our homes are wired for remote controls or are completely wireless. Amidst the permanence of such internal wiring, e.g. track and recessed lights, in our technological haze, we’ve actually limited our personal freedom by taking the joy out of an occasional and on-the-spot room re-design.

For those who absolutely MUST move the furniture around the room once every other month – dealing with immovable lighting can sometimes limit how you can rearrange that room. If you install a gorgeous foyer chandelier for example, chances are you won’t replace it for over a decade at least. What if you choose to redecorate in five years and have decided that you’d now like wall mount lighting? Perhaps you’ve installed two pricey entertainment room chandeliers for over the pool table/bar area, when it suddenly dawned on you after installation,  that you should have thought the room out a little better and gone for a couple of lighted ceiling fans instead?

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Once made permanent,  you can’t move your ceiling lighting about. The beauty of portable lamps, such as table and floor lamps, is that you have the ability to easily shift the color and ambiance of any room, by changing the lighting angles and bulbs within your rooms’ portable light sources. It’s not so fun to get up on a ladder to change out twelve ceiling bulbs, but a table lamp bulb change is a breeze.

Colored light bulbs are another creative option that only portable lamps can offer; especially for those occasions where you desire to create a particular mood or room ambience. In fact, colored lights are one of the easiest ways to decorate a home for the holidays and can create quite a dramatic effect by using several of them in one room. Blue bulbs will create a cool and calm effect whereas red and orange bulbs are known for creating an atmosphere of warmth and comfort. Colored light bulbs are very affordable and can even be used outdoors.

If you’re not into using colored bulbs, knowing just a little bit about bulb types can help to create a special effect for a room. For instance, frosted or pearlized bulbs tend to provide softer, more shadow-free light. These bulbs work best when the lamp shade is of a light or very pale color. In this case, you can use the maximum wattage available and not fear too much brightness.  It’s best to always use energy-saving bulbs in the house, in rooms such as the living room, kitchen and bedroom; whereas it’s wiser to use the more gray-white light of fluorescent bulbs for the basement, garage or utility rooms.

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Most portable lamps are constructed with a convenient cord and plug attachment, which allows the fixture to be ready for use without having the need of an electrician for installation. They are generally inexpensive to purchase, easily replaced and can be moved frequently to and from any room in the house. Even more exciting for those who just can’t stop fiddling with a room’s decor; portable lamps allow for easy shade changes. Changing out just a few lamp shades can change the entire look of the room – sans the cost of major re-decorating! A few pillow changes, curtain changes and lampshade changes can completely renew a stale environment and will go a long way toward brightening anyone’s day.

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Master Bedroom Must-Have’s

According to the real estate industry, kitchens and bathrooms are considered the most valuable rooms in a home. However, a bedroom should be also be considered one of the best rooms in the house simply due to the fact that it is the one room where your human body regenerates itself each night; so that it can function in life every day. It’s funny how we can value eating and other human functions, and not place our sleep rooms at the same priority level. The truth is, no one would function in life without sleep. Therefore, creating the space where your body rests should automatically be a top area of focus, even if not valued in real estate terms. Here are some special tips when considering master bedroom must-haves.

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Manhattan Comfort 34184 Eldridge Collection

Start with the Right Wall Color for YOU:

A bedroom needs to be the most calmly decorated room in the house. Typically, there should be one main, neutral theme color chosen, with a variable of two accent colors and no more. The neutrality of a wall color enables you to change out décor items seasonally, without color conflict issues. But if you absolutely have a favorite color that completely calms you and makes you feel good all the time, and it’s not a neutral color, this is okay too.  It would still be a good choice because it is a color you naturally and innately resonate with. Try painting with an eco friendly, non-toxic paint- as it’s much safer for your resting, breathing, and absorbing body.

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What Touches Body Must be Sacred!

Add organic blanket and pillow patterns that whisper to your soul, and ‘feel’ good to the touch.  Those symbolic characters that influenced and comforted you as a child will work on your adult being as well. Simply change out those icons to a more mature version of them. A stuffed elephant can now be an elegant elephant statue. A love of flowers can be transformed into a beautiful floral accent blanket, lampshade or into a vase of real flowers. If you are a nature king or queen – anything made of organic materials will appeal to you. Those décor items that speak to your own divine essence need to be around you as you sleep.

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It’s important to not only choose a mattress that embraces and supports your body, but to make sure that the bed also fits the room it sits in. Sometimes, a king size bed may seem really grand and appealing, but it will only aggravate you if you are constantly stubbing a toe on a post because the bed size is too big for the room, leaving you no maneuver room in the mornings. Use a smaller size bed to create a larger and more spacious room environment. Feeling constantly cramped or cornered in your own room, can cause a body to automatically experience ‘unconscious ‘stress, which fosters its own odd effects.

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View all Wardrobe Units

Limit Your Clothes to 1 Closet
The absolute truth is that none of us need a huge wardrobe to exist smartly or fashionably in this world. Your entire wardrobe should fit into one closet, and if you can actually store a dresser in your closet – leaving only the bed and an end table or two in the room – this arrangement would be ideal. When you have fewer clothes to wash, there is less to hang and less to ‘put away’ each week. Clear your closets of only what you regularly wear. When you purchase something new, give something away. Most people don’t think of their closets when they think about creating their sanctuary, but keeping a closet clean will also help you feel more in control of your life…and that’s relaxing in and of itself.
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Pets Nurture Automatically

Pets who adorn you with love and affection the moment you step through the door should be allowed passage to your dream space. If you can’t share your bed with a beloved feline or canine, the next step is to get them a bed of their own, and train them to use it. That way they can be close to you – in a way that doesn’t disturb your need to commandeer the whole bed!

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Lighting Makes or Breaks a Room

Most people don’t think about lighting, but how and where you light a room can make all the difference between creating a cozy retreat or a harsh one.  Where will the lighting be placed? Will you use a chandelier? Do you desire wall sconces or table lamps? Do you want dimmable lighting? Do you want cool or warm lighting? Would you like an overhead fan, with a light kit? Do you need a wall switch or do you prefer to use remote controls? These things should be thought out in advance, so that when one does make a fixture purchase, especially if it is an online purchase, one can inquire as to specific features that a chosen product may possess – before making that purchase….to avoid return hassles.

A bedroom should be one’s most coveted sanctuary. Adding a few creature comforts to this room need not be an expensive venture. Sometimes just a few well placed, cherished items can not only bring great comfort on an emotional level, but they can also reflect a life well lived.

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Simple Outdoor Illumination Solutions

In the USA summer has officially arrived, kicking off with a strawberry moon on June 21st! Lawns everywhere are screaming for homeowner attention and if you couldn’t get everything done this spring – there’s still time to spruce up the backyard for July 4th festivities. Let’s take a look at some simple outdoor illumination solutions that you can consider, in order to transform your property into a truly magical evening paradise.

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LBL Outdoor Lighting Solutions

Outdoor Wall Mount Lighting

No one wants to stumble into the house at night, while in the dark. Not only is it difficult to get a key in the door in the dark, it’s not particularly the safest way to enter your home either. A brand new wall mount fixture combined with a sidewalk post lamp can do wonders for curb appeal, and they’re not that hard to install. A good wall mount fixture with certain features such as dusk-to-dawn photocell control can make night time entry a breeze. With growing human awareness of planetary concerns, now many fixtures employ Energy Star and LED features.

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Kichler Landscape Lights

Outdoor Landscape & Spot Lighting

Many people love the look of landscape spotlights and yet will shy away from installing them because the process seems too complicated consider. But actually, adding a few well placed spot lights is a fairly simple project that you can easily complete in a weekend. The basics that you will need are: wire cutters,  tape measure and your chosen light kit. To make things simple for homeowners many manufacturers will offer spot lights in kits, which include everything you will need to install your lights. Low-voltage lighting systems are easy to install, shock-free and can be moved about. Installation is a simple do-it-yourself weekend project.  The challenge for most homeowners is not in figuring out how to assemble the lights, but is in choosing from the wide assortment of styles available.

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View Hinkley, Progress and Kichler Step Lights

Step Lighting

One might not immediately consider adding step lights, yet if part of your property’s curb appeal features ascending steps, then a few well placed step lights can help to create a magical atmosphere that will illuminate your entire front yard area. Step lights subliminally tell your guests that you not only welcome them, but that you are also concerned for their ultimate safety when they traverse across your property. They’re easy to install and require little more effort than installing a wall switch. In just a few steps, you can add yet another security feature of an LED or incandescent step light to your home.

 

 

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Fix Fixture Trip Ups – Part II

In Part I of Fix Fixture Trip Ups, we spoke about how the e-commerce order process works, in general. Here are some  tips on finding the replacement parts you need, when your fixture’s shade has been accidentally broken, or when those special bulbs that came with the fixture have blown out – and they’re not ‘normal’ bulbs. Things occasionally happen to fixtures despite the fact that they might hang high on the wall or way over your head. Maybe that ladder you carted down the staircase just clipped the foyer chandelier, or the kid’s smurf ball knocked the glass shade off the wall fixture. Accident’s happen. In some cases, you can order a replacement part for the item. Having a little bit of education on how to order the parts, goes a long way in terms of reducing the stress of searching the internet endlessly to replace something that’s been broken.

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Here’s when you’ll likely find success in replacing your item:

  • If your fixture is less than three years old.
  • If you know the fixture’s brand name and sku#.
  • If you know the actual part sku# as well.
  • If you contact the exact same store that sold it to you.
  • If the replacement item is a shade, diffuser, post or back plate.

Here’s when it might be more difficult:

  • If the fixture is older than five years.
  • If the fixture is a fan motor or motor part.
  • If the fixture is a crystal piece, hinge piece, finial or remote control.
  • If you got it at a flea market and were hoping to find a part to make it a complete fixture.

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REPLACEMENT TRIP UP #1 – MIX-MATCHING DIFFERENT BRANDS FOR PARTS:

Attempting to mix and match manufacturer brands to fix one singular product is a no-no!

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View Hilarious Original on YouTube

We know how it goes. You need a piece or part that’s broken off and you can’t remember the brand of the fixture you own. (Because you weren’t organized and didn’t ‘white envelope‘ the invoice details initially when you first received the product!) So you go online looking for a part that ‘looks like’ what you think you need and you order it from some random e-commerce store. Then when it arrives you find out it won’t fit your fixture at all. You’re stuck having to either keep it or pay shipping back, and worse, possibly pay re-stock fees. Even worse than that – you didn’t pay attention to online store policy which told you that accessories or parts are non-refundable.

TIP #1– STICK WITH THE SAME MANUFACTURER and SAME E-STORE:

For every fixture you purchase, dedicate a white envelope to holding all fixture purchase invoices and packing slips in it and then file it in your office or store it in a kitchen drawer. Any time you need a fixture replacement part, not only can you call up exactly where you purchased the item from, you can call that store and tell them exactly what you bought. Their phone number will be listed on the invoice. They can then help you to get exactly the part that you need, because from your invoice, you will be able to provide them the exact sku# number of the product you own. Because you are calling the same e-store you purchased the original fixture from – you will have an ongoing account that both you and the store can refer to, for any future purchases.

It just makes common sense to keep all online purchases for the same product together. Don’t forget to write the bulb socket type and bulb type on the envelope as well. If you’re used to shopping Amazon via your cell phone – simply make an email e-file for every store you purchased from! E-Z!

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REPLACEMENT TRIP UP #2SEARCHING THE NET WILLY NILLY & IN A HURRY:

It’s a Sisyphean task. We’ve all done it. In a panic to fix a problem, we rush to get something done as quickly as possible, by any means possible, so that we can fix the danged thing and be done with it! But THAT approach never works and ordering a wrong part, simply adds even MORE stress to the situation when it arrives, and you find the ‘part’ doesn’t fit the ‘whole’. Patience brings clarity and oftentimes you can get what you need done quicker by working the problem slowly and smartly.

Let’s say you remember your broken fixture’s brand name, but don’t know the sku#; so you go onto every e-store you can find trying to see if their customer reps can figure out what part it is that you need. That’s a little like finding a needle in a haystack. Customer reps are, in reality, dealing with hundreds of calls a day and thousands of online products that they themselves never even see. Most items these days ship direct from the manufacturers. So for most e-commerce stores, there’s no physical warehouse to go to ‘look and see’ what might be on the shelf. If you know the brand name – call the Brand Name by phone and ASK. All brand names have a phone number and customer service dept. ASK what the part number is and if it is in stock. THEN you can go to any e-store and search by the part’s sku#.

Most e-stores are not in the business of selling pieces and parts. Why? Because $5.00 – $8.00 parts are completely unprofitable, period. And since most fixtures come from overseas now-a-days,  most fixtures come over whole. Overseas shipping can take 30 days from port to port, not including customs inspections and unloading and transport to manufacturer warehouse time, etc. Whether landscape lighting, a pendant or chandelier….every product and sell-able part has a model or sku# associated with it.

Though most customer reps might attempt to get you a part that you need, that means that they have to contact the manufacturer themselves, to get a part’s sku#, based on a fixture photo or vague description you have given them. It’s nearly almost impossible to do it that way – and it takes a lot of back and forth between the e-store, you and the manufacturer to figure out what you need – all because you didn’t put your invoices in that little white envelope to begin with…or were too lazy to simply call the manufacturer yourself in the first place. Are we beginning to see how a lack of understanding of e-commerce protocol can complicate things across the board?

Sometimes, using common sense really does work.

Tip #2 – STAY CALM, APPROACH PART CHALLENGE IN LOGICAL SEQUENCE:

Find the original fixture’s sku# and brand name. Call the manufacturer customer service dept. and ask if they sell the part you need. Ask what the part’s sku number is. Ask if it is in stock. Ask them to guide you to an authorized e-store who sells it. And when you’re done finally purchasing your part, place all the information into that little white envelope for future reference! You might make it easier on yourself the next time you need a part or a bulb!

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Dining vs. Foyer Chandeliers

The world of chandelier shopping can be daunting when homeowners begin to shop for their very first one. A chandelier purchase will not only enhance a room aesthetically, but when properly fit to the dimensions of a room, it is an efficient way to illuminate a large area. Let’s look at the most typical aspects of choosing a chandelier that most confuses customers; by examining the difference between dining and foyer chandeliers. Is there a difference between them?

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Crystorama – Luna Collection

Foyer chandeliers, like dining lights can range in size. However, manufacturers often craft their large chandeliers, stretching them to over-sized versions in order to properly accommodate grand-style foyer entrances. Some foyers, especially the ones found in mini mansions can tower height-wise past two floors; thus requiring a fixture size large enough to be able to shower the area with the appropriate light.

With dining lighting, consideration is also given to over-the-table height, including the value of overall room lighting. Since lighting is an important element in any room, a little bit of time spent deciding on a fixture for a room and where to place it, is never time wasted. Chandeliers are a great addition to just about any room. They will provide excellent light coverage and can add decorative flavor to a well designed room. However, the rules of where to hang a chandelier vary by room and for novices; that can be a tricky thing to try to figure out. The truth of the matter is that there is no hard-defining difference between dining and foyer chandeliers, except for sizing and many of today’s chandelier styles can be utilized for either room.

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Feiss – Cascade Collection

Foyer Chandeliers

The entryway or foyer is your guest’s first impression of your home. One initial and important consideration should be the fixture styling, especially if it is the very last item you place in your foyer. The fixture should not only blend well with the home décor overall, but should help to open up the entry space via its ability to illuminate. There are several fixture styles to choose from, such as: Asian, art deco, contemporary, country, industrial, rustic, transitional, urban and traditional, just to mention a few. If you’re not sure what style your home actually is, since now-a-days, many different types of styles are purposefully mixed to create a look; then choose by color. What would look great overhead? Would a light colored, airy chandelier or a darker, more Mediterranean type chandelier work? What finishes are the room’s doorknobs, picture frames, window sills and light switches in? Perhaps you’ll want to choose a similar chandelier finish.

How does one properly size a foyer chandelier? The rule of thumb is to accommodate between 2.5 and 3 inches of chandelier height for every foot of ceiling height. So for instance, a 10 foot ceiling would require a chandelier in the 25 – 30 height range. Once you have estimated the height range, add your room’s height and width together. If the room is 20 x 16, your room’s sum would be 36 ft total. Then the correct diameter of the room’s chandelier would be approximately 36 inches. So your chandelier could range between 25 – 30 H and 36 W and you’d be in a safe zone, size wise.

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Maxim Chandeliers

Dining Chandeliers

When choosing dining chandeliers, since family members or house guests will be noticeably closer to the light source, especially if the fixture is placed directly over the table; other considerations must come to mind. No guest wants to head-bang a light when they lean forward to get up from the table. A general rule of thumb is to make sure the fixture’s width should be narrower than the table by at least 1 foot. There are other choices to consider as well, such as up lighting and down lighting. Uplight chandeliers direct the light source upward toward a ceiling. Deflecting light upward in this way can allow for a softer and more dimly lit room aesthetic. Downlight chandeliers are often used in dining rooms, so as to create a greater light source directly upon one’s table-top meal.

Generally speaking, chandeliers should be well centered over the dining table. A creative exception would be to hang two smaller chandeliers side by side over the table, in lieu of one large one. Overall, all light fixtures should hang approximately 30-34 inches above a dining table. Keep in mind that no chandelier, no matter what room it hangs in, should hang less than 7 feet from the ground. This is to allow clearance for even the tallest of human guests. Knowing a few pointers such as a few finish and measurement tips mentioned above can turn a chandelier shopping experience into a really fun one – because all the confusion’s been cleared away!

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Fix Fixture Trip Ups – Part I

FIXTURE TRIP UP #1 – NOT KNOWING HOW E-COMMERCE WORKS

Sometimes a simple E-commerce purchase can turn into one’s worst nightmare.  Though millions have shifted their shopping habits to a cell phone and an Amazon account, most have never questioned the process of how the items they’ve ordered actually get from the e-brokers and the e-stores to their actual homes. This non-understanding of e-commerce processing often arises when confused customers try to orchestrate their way through a delivery problem. Despite lightning speed e-commerce technology, all hands at one end or the other, are still just human. Orders still need to be processed, items need to be pulled off of shelves, packed up, labeled and shipped via a carrier. And contrary to the brick and mortar stores, where one can waltz in with package in hand to dispute an item, dealing with an e-commerce store is a different ball game.

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TIP #1 – LEARN HOW E-COMMERCE STORES WORK               Crystorama 9045-CZ

1) Ordering: As soon as you order something, print out the online receipt and put it in a large white envelope. Store the envelope where you keep important office records. Be sure to read, and print the returns/refunds page as well. Make sure you have written down the store name and phone#. If you’ve ordered via email, create an email folder for each store that you order from and put the receipt in the folder.

2) Processing: Though Amazon and Ebay are open 24/7 – many e-stores that sell on them may be closed on the weekend. So if you ordered late on a Friday, and ordered expedited shipping, guess what? You order may not even get processed until Monday. Processing an order is different than shipping an order. Processing includes receiving the order in, preparing the item for shipment and entering the ship details for labeling, aside from releasing the product to a carrier for delivery. Processing can also sometimes mean that the e-store selling the item then e-sent the order to the manufacturer, and the manufacturer e-sent it to their packing dept. to prepare (fulfillment) for shipping the item. Not all e-stores carry their own inventory.  If you’re in a hurry and need the item overnight, find out first if the fulfillment time is included in an overnight promise. If you’re in a hurry – don’t order on a Friday night. Not all shipping companies deliver on weekends either!

3) Shipping and Tracking: Once the item is pulled and packed, it must be labeled and entered into the manufacturer’s delivery system, which is usually Fed Ex or UPS. But if the item is freight – it may have to be manually entered into a specific trucking company. And if it is a freight company – you MUST arrange to be home to receive your item. They will call you or email you to schedule the appointment. Freight companies won’t drop the goods at your door and run, like Fed Ex and UPS. So make sure your phone’s message box is not full and that you check your emails around the time that you ordered. If you do not receive tracking information via email within 3 days, call, chat or email the e-store and query about your order.

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Fredrik Raymond – Regis Collection FR44305BNI

4) Delivery: Did the item arrived broken? Or did you just decide you don’t like it and want it to go back?  Keep in mind that if you purchased through a large e- broker, and there is a product issue, you must make an email request for response via your Amazon/Ebay etc., account. If it’s a customer remorse issue, you may have to pay shipping back and/or restocking fees, so if you didn’t research that before you purchased, go back online or call the e-store to find out exactly what you must do to return the item. Most e-stores have a chat center as well so that you don’t have to wait through an automated phone process. When you receive an item you’ve decided to keep – remember that large white envelope? Put your packing slip and any instructional or spec sheets in with the invoice and the next time you need to replace a part, a shade or a bulb – you’ll know exactly what to order.

5) Damaged Items: If the damaged box was left at your door, take pictures of the box and the item inside that appears damaged with your cell phone and immediately email them into the e-store customer service dept. State clearly in your email if you want a replacement item or a return & refund. This is an e-record that you immediately responded to the problem. It comes in real handy if you have a later dispute with an uncooperative e-store. If you do not receive an email instructional response within 24 hours, call the e-store or chat in. Human hands will help you through a replacement order, or will instruct you what to do. If the item is a freight item, you can make the driver wait while you inspect the item and you can refuse to accept it if damaged. You must sign an invoice stating you are rejecting it due to damage. The driver will also sign and give you a copy. If he doesn’t, insist that you receive a receipt that it is being refused due to damage – before he leaves your property.

6) Returns, ETC: Never, ever throw out or destroy the original box until you are sure you are going to keep the item. Many times, e-retailers will not accept items back without the original packaging. So be careful when opening the box. Don’t rip and tear things apart or throw away packaging in haste. That includes all the inner plastic wrapping, bubble wrap and Styrofoam pieces. Immediately email or call the e-store to receive instructions for return. It can be a relatively easy process when you are pro-active immediately. If a lighting item; and something appears wrong with the finish or a shade is broken – DO NOT INSTALL it! Once you install it – you can never return it! You may find that after you’ve installed it – the store is out of shades for another 60 days and it’s not so easy to ‘just get another’ shade. Always immediately contact the e-store and tell them your story…before you go ahead and try to fix the problem on your own.

7) Clearance Products: If you love the price of clearance items, just keep in mind that the item is slated for dis-continuance – that’s why it’s so cheap. That means there will be no replacement parts in the future either, so you may want to purchase an extra shade, an extra bulb or decorative crystal teardrop – to ward off future household accidents, which may happen.

8) Refunds: Most companies, excluding the enormously huge warehouse outlets, are restricted by a returns process dictated by the manufacturers. Since most e-commerce stores do not stock their own warehouses with items, most items ship direct from the manufacturers themselves. You have to receive your refund from the seller – but the manufacturer dictates the return policy. So sellers are bound by a process they must follow first, and that includes the item being received back into the warehouse and going through an inspection and notification process. This can take up to two weeks, because most items are shipped back, via ground shipping – which can take 3 – 7 days. There is no intent to steal or hold up your money. There is just ‘the process’, which is for the most part, is a well orchestrated and efficient one, considering the millions of items that pass through thousands of warehouses each and every day.

Confused customers can make matters much worse by unwittingly interfering in the process of a purchase issue, by simply not taking certain initiatory steps that would result in a satisfactory and quick resolve. Customer service reps are there to help you, whether on chat, email or by phone. But even they have limitations as to how they can assist you when you’ve unwittingly complicated your own situation – by not understanding how e-commerce generally works. When people understand the e-store processes, they can relax in the knowledge that indeed their problems will be resolved and that they will be taken care of by their e-sellers – who want their repeat business!

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