Two Story Dark Homes
Landscape Lights Pre-configured for Lighting Two Story-Dark Colored Homes
The primary objective when illuminating architecture is to provide a warm, soft, elegant appearance to a homes architecture, with a nice subtle interplay of light and shadow. Today’s lighting trends have seen an increase in a consumers desire to have the architecture of the their home be the primary focal point in a lighting scene, with the illumination of trees, plantings and walkways as a supporting feature to the overall look. Two story homes built today will often have dramatic rooflines with offset peaks and gables that when lit, provide tremendous curb appeal and actually make the home look taller with a solid “street presence”.
- Eliminating hot spots on the architecture.
- Overcoming light trespass into bedroom windows.
- Working around plant material that is in the way of where fixtures need to be placed
- Getting light to the upper gables in sufficient brightness
Lighting two story, dark colored homes is pretty straight forward. However, there are a few things to consider when choosing your lamps. Dark colored walls are much less reflective and therefore require a higher output light source to achieve a warm and inviting look. When a lower output light source is used, the darker surface material has a tendency to absorb a good portion of that light resulting in a very dimly lit home. Brighter light sources and thoughtful placement of the luminaires must be considered on two story homes due the fact that bedrooms will also have to be taken into consideration. Light trespass into a bedroom window from a light source can be annoying to a homeowner who requires a darker room to sleep. Most two story homes have the bedrooms on the upper levels, which results in less incidence of glare annoyance to the fact that the upper windows are a good distance away from the light source, however you should still test the levels with your client. Because architectural lighting fixtures are place between 12-14” away from the wall, there will never be a light going directly into a second story window. There will only be some reflected light from the window casements themselves which will be minimal. Plant material can also get in the way of light fixtures as well. Ocassionally, the back side of a plant may need to be trimmed slightly to allow the beam of light to pass to the wall surface. At other times, an extension riser may be utilized to extend a fixture up through a plant to illuminate out the top of a trimmed hedge or other manicured plant in which you will not be allowed to thin or cut.
Lamp & Placement considerations
- Lamp: For Dark colored walls on a two story house, generally a 5 or 6 watt- 60 degree, MR16 lamp is the ideal choice. If needing a bit more punch, consider a 10 watt-60 degree, PAR36 LED. If the section of wall is very tall and narrow, consider moving your fixtures a bit closer together and use a 30 degree lamp for more pop.
- Placement: On either side of a window is best with fixtures placed 6’-9’ apart on average.
*Note- Every home is unique and the lighting design must be approached this way. One size does not fit all, so take into account the individual desires of the client and place fixtures and luminaires accordingly. These considerations are just basic guidelines.