Design|Build

Stylish Night Lighting in the Northwest

Transform Your Home with Light
Kichler Lighting
Kichler Lighting

Transform your home with relatively little effort.

Outside lighting is not just for the holidays. If memories of your quirky aunt and her love for Christmas in July come to mind, you can forget about it.

Outdoor lighting, while beautiful during the holidays, can also be a powerful tool in renovating your backyard and home. It is also a much-needed warm touch during the gray winter months.

“The right outdoor lighting can transform a space from normal to special and significantly increase curb appeal,” said Shawna Dick, manager at Silverdale’s Seattle Lighting.

As for the right layout, color and design, it depends on what you are trying to achieve.

“I can’t tell you what kind of ice cream you prefer, but I can identify your goals and then help you best accomplish those goals,” Dumolt said.

Hinkley Lighting
Hinkley Lighting

She also suggests warmer tones for those gray Northwest skies. “Cooler temps are usually more popular in hotter areas like Texas and the Sun Belt,” she said.

Choose one feature to focus on, like tree or tree texture.

“Pick a primary and secondary feature to highlight and don’t be afraid to play with dark spots and shadows,” Dick said.

As for a “rule of thumb,” reduce the wattage on the outside of the house.

“We have the tendency to up the wattage for safety reasons; the opposite is true,” Dick said. “Low wattage also increases the overall curb appeal because you don’t have such an intense glare and so the contrast of light isn’t as harsh on the pupils.”

Kichler Lighting
Kichler Lighting

Solar yard lighting has also become popular. That’s what Poulsbo Valley Nursery horticulturist Terri Mitchell prefers.

“The décor possibilities are really endless in solar lighting. I like being creative and we have a lot of options,” Mitchell said.

Valley Nursery has a varied selection, including solar flower and dragonfly fixtures, windchimes and even birdbaths. Seasonally themed options are also available, including candy canes and snowmen.

Mitchell also appreciates that they are not only eco-friendly but also user-friendly.

“Lots of people are afraid to mess around with outdoor wiring or electrical work and so in this case, where you just put them out and then don’t have to deal with them, they are great,” Mitchell said.

Hinkley Lighting
Hinkley Lighting

There seems to be mixed reviews, however, about solar yard lighting. In fact, the question could be asked if the Northwest even receives enough sunshine for solar lighting. According to the Seattle City Light website, “Seattle receives more sunlight than Germany, the world’s leading solar market.”

Kichler Lighting
Kichler Lighting

Solar yard-lighting technology might still be working out some bugs, said Bob Griffiths, co-owner of Belfair Garden and Lighting.

“Solar yard lighting isn’t really dependable, long-lasting or consistent and I think anyone buying them is just going to end up disappointed,” Griffiths said. “I think it’s a combination of the location and technology, but the technology is improving; it’s just not there yet.”

Griffiths suggested low-level-voltage LED lights as the best alternative for energy-efficient lighting.

Kichler Lighting
Kichler Lighting

Another alternative and the latest and most unique on the market are BlissLights. BlissLights contain a projector that can display up to 2,500 square feet of pin points of high-quality light, in addition to a 16-color LED. A remote control enables you to change and control color and effects. They also require little setup and are energy efficient.

Knowing what you want and what you have are perhaps the greatest starting points to lighting up your residence.

“Come in with a list of current features you have and things that you want accomplished. The better you know what you want, the more I can help you get there,” Dick said.

About the Author

Elizabeth Drolet is a multimedia producer and broadcast journalist and the recipient of the Award of Excellence from Colorado Broadcasters Association. She received her bachelor’s degree in technical journalism from Colorado State University. She recently moved from Aspen, Colorado, and currently lives in Kitsap County.