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How Oliver Lamps Saved Christmas

‘‘Twas the night before Christmas
And we’re sorry to say
That when Santa reached Fakenham
The lights failed on his sleigh

“Oh no this is terrible”, Santa said to his crew
“Because without lights to see by
All the little boys and girls of England won’t get their presents this year…”
“What about my nose?” asked Rudolph.
“Sorry to break this to you but it’s not much brighter than a halogen bulb,” replied Santa, “What we need is the brilliant brightness and energy and cost saving power of LED.”
“Let’s get on with the poem,” said an elf.

‘‘Twas then that they saw,
Shining warmly below,
The shop window of Oliver Lamps,
And Santa knew where to go.

“What an excellent store!”
Santa exclaimed with joy,
“And they don’t just sell great lighting
These home furnishings… oh boy!”

(“He’s pushing his luck with this rhyming thing now,” said Donner to Blitzen.
“And Rudolph’s really got the hump over that comment about his nose,” Blitzen said to Donner.
And wondered, not for the first time, why whenever he talked to Donner he felt inexplicably hungry for a kebab.)

“So thanks to Oliver Lamps
Santa could see where to go
He sailed back up to the sky
With a jolly “Ho, Ho, Ho!”

And all the sleeping girls and boys
Got their Christmas gifts and toys
Although some of them woke up early
Because having a bunch of LED lights on a sleigh shining right through your window at one o’clock in the morning is enough to give anyone a bad night’s sleep.

So please remember to switch your LED lights off when you’re not using them, everybody.
It saves energy. It saves money. And it’s better for the planet.”


(Copyright: Charles Dickens, Fakenham, 1879, after a long night of cheese and dodgy prosecco)

Happy Christmas everybody!

Well, it’s been another strange ol’ twelve months but this is the season to celebrate the good times and look forward to the even better. So, when you look back over 2021, what’s your favourite memory? We took a random poll of the terrific team at Oliver Lamps and here’s what they said:

Sarah’s favourite memory of this year? “We won the Christmas Window Competition.”

Lucy: “Happy to be back full-time and feeling a lot more involved again.”

Jade: “The first day back in the office after lockdown and seeing everyone’s smiley faces and greeting our lovely customers again”

And we are all looking forward to a relaxing Christmas and a prosperous new year!

But one thing’s for sure.

We’ve got the best customers, clients and friends any lighting emporium could ever wish for (ooh… emporium… we’re getting a bit Christmas Carol now!) and we want to thank you all for your custom, support, and overall brilliantness throughout this weird but occasionally wonderful year.

We’re looking forward to seeing you all again in the new year and helping to make your 2022 as light and bright as possible!

Have a wonderful Christmas and a very Happy New Year, everybody!

See you in January!

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All you need for Christmas is… Oliver Lamps!

Christmas lighting

Well, okay, we’re probably not exactly all you need for Christmas.

After all, we don’t sell mince pies, and we don’t sell toys (although we’ve got a very cute line in children’s night lights, and if any of your favourite people are into tech, we’ve got some fabulous Smart lighting and Smart security offerings too!) but, if it’s fantastic lighting, cosy home furnishings, great prices and the warmest welcome in Fakenham you’re looking for, Oliver Lamps is the place you need to be!

That might be the longest sentence we’ve written all year.

Seriously, though, Christmas has come early at Oliver Lamps! A few days ago, we were lucky enough to win the Christmas Window Competition run by the Fakenham Events Committee. It’s a massive honour, and there were so many other incredible window displays entered in the competition that bringing home the top prize really is the fairy on top of our 2021 tree. And we promise that’s the last cheesy Christmas metaphor we’re going to use in this blog.

Also, thank you to all our friends and customers who have congratulated us and told us how beautiful our shop is looking this Yuletide. Between you and the Christmas Window Competition judges, it’s lovely to see our hardworking team’s artistic efforts being appreciated!

Now, if you’re still racking your brains for a terrific Christmas present (or a well-deserved treat for yourself), our lampshades, cushions, and fish bubble lamps are proving mega-popular!

It’s time to get shady! (Don’t worry, at Oliver Lamps, that’s a good thing!)

Our lampshades have been selling so well over the past few months that we’ve started making them in-house. We can make them from your favourite material (just bring the material to our shop and we’ll do the rest!) or, if you’ve seen a material or a design you like, we can source it for you.

Alternatively, if you’re already frazzled from making lots of Christmassy decisions, we’ve got a brilliant range of materials and designs for you to choose from already in stock, so why not pop in and select one of those? Depending on whether the material’s already available, whether we have to order it in, or whether you provide it, the turn-around from order to finished lampshade is usually between 7 to 14 days.

Although we don’t currently offer bespoke in-house choices with our cushions (mainly because our current design range is already fab!), in-house cushions could be a real possibility in the new year depending upon customer demand, so watch this space over the coming months!

What’s that? You want to know more about our sea-lightful fish bubble lamps?!

As the lobster in The Little Mermaid said, “Your fish is our command!” (Or was that the genie from Aladdin? Whoops… that reminds us… we haven’t booked our seats for the Christmas panto yet…)

Anyhoo, back to the bubble lamps!

They come in four sizes.

• A 40cm bubble lamp containing three fish and two balls.
• A 61cm bubble lamp containing various coloured balls.
• An 89cm bubble lamp containing six fish (that’s almost your own shoal!) with a button so you can select the bubble speed.
• And, finally, a 120cm bubble lamp containing eight fish (that’s definitely your own shoal!) with a button to vary the bubble speed.

All the lamps are colour changing – all you need to do is wash the contents, fill the lamp with deionised water, switch on the lamp, and enjoy! They look so cool that even Aquaman would give them his Trident of Approval… if he could stop saving the world long enough to take a trip to Fakenham and visit Oliver Lamps! Unfortunately, that hasn’t happened yet, but it’s on our list to Santa, so you never know!

Our Christmas opening times!

This one’s easy to remember. We’re open at our usual times all the way through to Christmas Eve and then closed for the rest of the holiday. We’re re-opening on Tuesday 4th January so make sure you put the date in your 2022 calendar!

Finally, don’t forget that we’ve still got lots of goodies in stock to make your home look and feel extra Christmassy! We’ve got Christmas decorations, our ever-popular illuminated twig trees, Christmas reindeer, Christmas doorstops and Christmas gonks.

Why not drop into our showroom at 26/28 Oak Street, Fakenham, NR21 9DY, and prepare to be sleighed by all our tempting offers and prices? (Sorry, we couldn’t resist that one!) Or, if you’re too busy to visit us in person, give our friendly elves a call on 01328 855028 or email [email protected], and we’ll do the rest.

Stay jolly, stay safe, and see you in a couple of weeks for our last blog of the year!

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LED trivia to dazzle your friends with!

LED trivia to dazzle your friends with!

Fakenham’s Christmas lights have just been switched on, and the whole town – as well as the rest of Norfolk and the world – is finally ready for the festive season!

How about you?

Of course, what would the festive season be without a bit of trivia to amaze your family, friends, and work colleagues with at all those endless Christmas get-togethers? And, as we love a bit of trivia ourselves – especially when it’s related to LED lighting – we thought we’d share some of our favourite facts and figures with you. Keep them handy, so when Uncle Ken starts rambling on about how he only got a stocking full of coal and oranges on Christmas day, you can change the subject and rescue all your rellies from having to listen to that story for the millionth time this lifetime! Or keep them to yourself, so you’ll know precisely why LED is the perfect, cost-friendly and energy-efficient lighting source for every home and office… and instantly remember that Oliver Lamps is the perfect, cost-friendly and people-friendly place to buy your LED bulbs this Christmas and throughout the new year!

Hold on to your brainboxes! Here we go!

  1. What does LED stand for?

    Light-Emitting Diode.

  2. What’s a Light-Emitting Diode?

    A Light-Emitting Diode is a semiconductor light source that combines a P-type semiconductor with an N-type semiconductor. Don’t worry about the science; simply remember that P-type semiconductors have a larger hole concentration and N-type semiconductors have a larger electron concentration. This means that when you put enough voltage through them, the electrons and the holes have a big party at the P-N junction and release all their energy in the form of light.

  3. How much energy will Cousin Stanley’s dancing release at this year’s Christmas disco?

    That one’s impossible to answer but, back in 2008, two lighting geniuses in the Netherlands created the first sustainable dance floor that turns the kinetic energy from footsteps into electricity and generates enough power (35 watts per floor tile, to be exact) to keep the entire nightclub’s LED lighting system working. There’s also a company in London that puts electromagnetic generators under floor tiles. When people walk across them, each step can create up to 4 joules of off-grid electrical energy. Why not try that with Cousin Stanley and he might unknowingly keep your LEDs on well into the new year!

  4. How do LED’s change colour?

    That’s all to do with something called emission wavelengths and how they’re combined so the human eye can see them. For example, there are two typical ways of creating white LED light: one is by mixing a blue LED with yellow phosphor, the other is by combining the three primary colours – Red LED + Green LED + Blue LED – together.

  5. LED’s convert nearly 100% of the energy they consume into light.

    That’s a humungous improvement on old-fashioned energy-guzzling incandescents, which only convert about 9-10% of the energy fed into them into light.

  6. LEDs DON’T contain any mercury, and they’re at least 95% recyclable!

    On the other hand, Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs) DO contain mercury and, because their fluorescent tubes die long before the rest of the lamp’s components, they also create hundreds of tons of unnecessary toxic waste every year.

  7. LED lamps are tough to break

    But if you break an incandescent lamp there’ll always be a lot of smashed glass to clean up; PLUS, if it’s a CFL, you’ll have the added danger of leaked mercury to worry about.

  8. LED bulbs don’t heat up like incandescents.

    It doesn’t matter how long your LED bulb is on; it still won’t burn you when you touch it. Anyone who’s ever touched an incandescent after a few minutes knows it’s a very different and painful story!

  9. LED’s have a very long lifespan

    If the average LED bulb was left permanently on throughout the whole of its life, it would take at least three years to burn out. Or let’s think about it another way. It took Tolstoy six years to write War and Peace. If he’d had an LED light bulb in his office (unfortunately, he was around a bit too early for LED) and installed it on the first day he started writing, he could have written War and Peace 3.3 times over, and the LED bulb would probably never have needed changing. Or, if you’re a Daniel Craig fan whose 2021 was ruined because No Time to Die is his last Bond movie, you could have installed an LED bulb in 2006 when the first Daniel Craig 007 film, Casino Royale, was released and it would still have been burning brightly 15 years later when you came home after No Time to Die mumbling, “I can’t believe they… [Whoops! Spoilers! Forget we said anything!].

  10. LED breeds significantly less bacteria than incandescent or fluorescent lighting

    You know when you go to your local supermarket and see LED light being used in the fresh food display? That’s because LED breeds significantly less bacteria than incandescent or fluorescent lighting.

  11. LED lamps have something called ‘Instant On’.

    Unlike incandescents and other forms of lighting, LED lamps have something called ‘Instant On’. That means, when you switch on any LED light, you instantly get its full brightness. Other types of lighting don’t only take a while to reach full brightness; their life span can be significantly reduced if you switch them off and then back on within fifteen minutes of them heating up.

FINAL FUN FACT: The famous Trafalgar Square Christmas Tree in London will be unveiled this year on Thursday 2 December. The tree is a traditional gift from the Norwegian people, who have sent a tree to us from Oslo every year since 1947. The people of Oslo felled this year’s tree on 16 November, and then it was loaded onto a lorry and driven more than 100km from Oslo to the port of Brevik, where it was transported onto a ship and set sail to the UK. The tree is very carefully wrapped up during its journey because any contact with salt water can damage it.

Once it arrives at Trafalgar Square, the tree is decorated in traditional Norwegian style and is usually covered with more than 600 white lights.

Fortunately, you don’t have to go to all that fuss to make your home look festive and fabulous this Christmas – just pop into Oliver Lamps! We’ve got light-up twig trees, lots of Christmas tree decorations, Christmas cushions, Christmas doorstops, Christmas gonks and reindeer (but not real ones – they’re too messy!), in fact, everything you need to get into the Christmas spirit! Pop into our showroom at 26/28 Oak Street, Fakenham, NR21 9DY and prepare to be enchanted! Alternatively, give us a call on 01328 855028 or drop us an email at [email protected].

We’re looking forward to seeing you soon and making your Christmas extra bright and magical!

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It’s time to celebrate the Magic of Light!

festive lighting

It’s easy to take light for granted. We flip the switch (or ask Alexa to turn the lights on for us), and there it is. Easy peasy.

So, as we zoom towards Christmas faster than Rudolph after he’s eaten some dodgy reindeer food, we thought this would be the perfect time to talk about how important light is. Not just because it brightens up our world and lets us see things more clearly, but because light is at the centre of so many significant and well-loved celebrations. In fact, light is currently bringing illumination and joy to festivals all around the world.

Take Diwali, for instance.

Diwali is one of the most important festivals in Indian culture. Although the date for Diwali changes slightly every year, this year’s Diwali was held only a few days ago. It’s a five-day celebration known as the Festival of Lights; in fact, ‘Diwali’ is a shortened version of the word ‘Deepavali’, which means ‘series of lights’. Over the five days of the festival, Hindus, Sikhs, and Jains worldwide decorate their homes and businesses with oil lamps, candles, and many other forms of light.

What’s the significance of light during Diwali?

Diwali celebrates the triumph of light over darkness, good over evil, and knowledge over ignorance.

According to the Diwali story, Sita, the wife of the Hindu God Lord Rama, was kidnapped by the demon king. When Lord Rama rescued her, and they returned to their kingdom, the villagers lit thousands of oil lamps so Lord Rama and Sita could find their way back home on the moonless night. This is why light is key to the festival. It’s also why Diwali is a time of massive firework displays, to symbolise Lord Rama’s coming back to his people.

Diwali marks the beginning of the Hindu New Year. It’s a time for feasting and dancing and visiting with family and friends. It’s also an opportunity to pause for a while, take stock of the past and look forward to the future.

But it’s not just Diwali that celebrates light!

Every year, between late October to March, winter Illuminations festivals are held in cities across Japan. One of the oldest of these events is the Kobe Luminarie, a memorial to the victims of the Great Hanshin Earthquake. It’s a spectacular display that uses thousands of LED lights and attracts more than three million visitors annually.

In Valencia, Spain, the festival of Las Fallas takes place from the 15th to 19th March. The festival borrows its name from the Latin word for ‘torch’ and is held during Mascleta, which is nineteen days worth of firecracker displays and fireworks spectaculars.

France has its own Festival of Lights. It takes place in Lyon, starting on December 8 every year, and usually lasts for four days. During this time, every householder places candles outside their windows to show their gratitude towards Mary, the mother of Jesus.

One of the most important celebrations in Taiwan is the Pingxi District Lantern Festival, during which thousands of lanterns are decorated with good wishes and released into the sky. There’s also a firecracker ceremony and a famously risky fireworks display called the ‘beehive of fireworks’, symbolically held to ward off evil and disease.

Another global celebration of light is the Chinese lantern festival which marks the end of the Chinese New Year. Next year, this will take place on Tuesday, February 15. On this day, people send lanterns up into the sky or float them on the water. Some more technologically savvy citizens even dress up drones with brightly coloured lights and fly them over the towns and cities.

Let’s not forget Hanukkah!

Hanukkah is a Jewish holiday that lasts for eight nights and days and usually falls within November or December. It is also known as the Festival of Lights or the Feast of Dedication because it celebrates the rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem following the Maccabean revolt against the Syrian-Greek army. The most well-known Hanukkah tradition is the lighting of a commemorative Menorah, a multi-branched candelabra with nine candlesticks (one for each night of Hanukkah plus an extra candlestick to light the others.) Ever since 1998, the world’s largest Hanukkiah – which is a whopping 32-feet high! –forms the centrepiece of the Festival of Lights held in New York’s Central Park.

Hanukkah is a time for present-giving, game-playing, and sharing delicious food with family and friends. Chocolate coins are also traditionally handed out during the holiday.

And then, of course, there’s Christmas!

Christmas needs no introduction, and Christmas lights have been slowly appearing in our malls, streets, and shop windows since the middle of October! If there’s ever a time when it’s impossible to ignore the magic that LED lighting brings into our lives, it’s right now. Let’s take Norwich, where we’re based, for example. There are already LED Christmas trees and garlands of LED Christmas lights all over the city centre. Over the next few days, the famous Norwich BID Tunnel of Light is going to make its very welcome return too.

This will be the seventh year that the Tunnel of Light sparkles up the city centre, and – at 45-metres long – it’s one of the largest Tunnels of Light in Europe. Believe it or not, it takes more than 5.6 miles of cable and 57,000 LED bulbs to make the tunnel dazzle so spectacularly.

And, on the subject of dazzling, if you want to dazzle and amaze your friends with more fabulous LED facts and figures, that’s what we’ll be talking about in our next blog! In the meantime, we’re currently getting all our fantastic Christmas stock ready in time for Fakenham’s Christmas lights switch-on on the 27th of November, so make sure you visit us early and don’t miss out! We’re going to have a lot of mega-tempting Christmas gifts in store, including some brilliant Christmas-themed home furnishings! Stay tuned to find out more!

Please remember, for all your lighting needs at any time of year, our friendly, expert team are always here to help. Just pop into our showroom at 26/28 Oak Street, Fakenham, NR21 9DY, give us a call on 01328 855028 or drop us an email at [email protected].

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Happy Halloween!

ghost light

Regular readers might recognise the bewitching pup in the picture… yes, it’s Barley, the star of our April blog!

When Barley’s older sister, Poppy, passed away last Christmas, Barley found it very hard to adjust to living without her. He got particularly anxious during the night. But, when his human mum Lucy brought one of our LED nightlight’s home to see if it would help, that all changed. The nightlight quickly became Barley’s best friend, and it wasn’t long before his night-time anxiety disappeared.

The April blog also featured a lot more information about pets and lighting and included a few things to think about so that your precious pets will feel safe and calm around your lighting and electronics. If you didn’t read it, you’ll find it here! (scroll down a bit and look for Barley’s photo; the blog’s called ‘Is LED lighting safe for our pets?’)

So, because it’s Halloween, and – as you can see – Barley loves getting the chance to dress up a bit, we thought we’d do something a bit different and tell you a spooky lighting-related story!

Have you heard of a “ghost light”?

If you’ve ever worked in the theatre, you almost certainly have.

A ghost light is a small, single-bulbed light that’s always switched on just before everyone goes home and the theatre is closed for the night. It’s usually some kind of floor lamp, and it’s always set up so that it illuminates the dark stage.

From a practical point of view, this makes a lot of sense. If someone is working late in the theatre, the ghost light will let them see where they’re going when they walk across the stage. Theatre stages have a lot of hidden obstacles like trap doors, bumps, and holes, not to mention props and scenery and often a big, gaping orchestra pit. If there wasn’t a ghost light, you could imagine the painful problems an unsuspecting work person might get into.

But there’s a more traditional, eerie reason why every theatre has a ghost light, too.

It’s widely believed that every theatre has at least one ghost. When you think about it, that’s not a big stretch of the imagination. After all, when you consider the hundreds of actors and stage crew who have worked in most theatres, not to mention the thousands of audience members who have come there to watch their performance, at least a few of them would probably have died here, right? You hear about famous actors dying on stage or backstage all the time!

Not to mention, the theatre was a happy place for all of those people. They loved it here when they were alive, so why wouldn’t they want to come back here when they’re dead?

And that’s the real reason why the ghost light tradition started, so – when the light was switched on – there would be just enough illumination for the theatre ghost to perform or dance on stage during the night when nobody else was around.

Some people believe in ghosts. Other people don’t. But, regardless of what you believe, isn’t that a wonderful tradition? There’s something beautiful and magical about it, and when you think that it still happens in every theatre, in most parts of the world, every night… isn’t that kind of cool? It’s a single, simple, unified act that shows so much respect for the past.

Barley’s favourite theatre ghost story

The Maddermarket Theatre, which is pretty much slap-bang in the middle of Norwich city centre, first opened as a theatre in 1921. However, it was originally built in 1794, and it’s said to be haunted by several ghosts.

Probably the most famous ghost is a monk, who has been seen many times around the building. He’s been spotted walking across the stage, opening and closing doors, and even moving the actor’s costumes around and hiding their wigs! But no one’s afraid of the ghost because he’s a very friendly spirit. Once, when an actor forgot his lines onstage, he felt the monk give him a hug to reassure him. More dramatically, the monk knocked a young actress out of the way just before a light plummeted down onto the stage exactly where she’d been standing, very possibly saving her life.

What’s the lesson Barley wants us to take away from all this, particularly if we’re the parents of children who might feel a bit spooked during Halloween?

“Ghosts aren’t anything to worry about. If you think you see one, you probably didn’t. Chances are it’s just your imagination working overtime! But, if it is a ghost, they’ve only come by for a quick visit to say hello and check you’re okay. There’s absolutely nothing to be scared of.

“And, if your little ones (or your pets) still need a bit more reassurance during the night, your friends at Oliver Lamps always have a fantastic selection of LED nightlights, animal-themed nightlights and fairy lights in stock.

“For example, our cute Canar duck has a controllable LED light and can be powered via batteries or a USB cable. It has a super soft and hygienic silicone body, and you can change the brightness of the light with a simple push of its heart-shaped button. That’s not just soothing for your child; it’s useful for you too, especially if your baby has to be changed during the night and you want to adjust the light without waking them.

“Or, if a duck night light sounds a bit quackers, check out the range of Petit Akio nightlights we have in store. Each Petit Akio nightlight features a different adorable character in a clear dome-shaped case, with the LED lights inside the character casting just the right intensity of soft, colourful glow. Is your child still finding it hard to get to sleep? No problem! The case is touch-sensitive, so you (or they) can activate the light with just a tap of a fingertip or use the inbuilt 15-minute timer. The nightlight is rechargeable, portable, and powered via a USB. What could be more convenient?

“Looking for more night-time decoration? Oliver Lamps also stock charming duck-shaped string lights, which are perfect for hanging above your toddler’s bed or around the walls of their bedroom. After all, when your child wakes up from a scary dream, there’s nothing like a garland of endearing light-up-the-dark friends to reassure them that everything’s okay and put them back to sleep.”

Excellent work, Barley! We’ll make a lighting salespuppy out of you yet!

If you’ve got any questions, or if you’d like to find out more about the incredible range of lights, light fittings, smart lighting and home furnishings we’ve always got available in our showroom and online, drop into our shop at 26/28 Oak Street, Fakenham, call us on 01328 855028, or email [email protected].

After all, there are plenty of tricks happening this Halloween season, so why not come to Oliver Lamps for some treats?!

Happy Halloween!

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Seen a light you loved but don’t know where it came from? We’ve got a challenge for you!

light detectives

Have you ever gone to an Airbnb, a hotel, a restaurant… well, pretty much anywhere!… and saw an unusual light bulb or light fitting that you thought was really cool?

Have you ever looked at that bulb, light fitting or lampshade and thought, “That would look great in our house! I wonder where they got that?” or, “Wow, something like that would make a fantastic Christmas present for [insert lucky person’s name here]”?

Well, it happened to one of our customers a few weeks ago. They were spending a few days in an Airbnb on the beautiful North Norfolk coast and saw a pendant light shade hanging in the kitchen that they really liked the look of. They hadn’t seen anything even remotely similar to it before, and they asked the owner if they knew where it had come from. The owner didn’t, but they were pretty sure their interior designer had sourced it from somewhere local.

So, instead of having a relaxing holiday and soaking up the last of this year’s brilliant sunshine, our intrepid customers scoured through all the lighting and home decorating shops in the area to track the pendant shade down.

Did they find it? Not a chance!

Did the owner take pity on them and contact the interior designer to ask where they got it? You bet!

Did the interior designer remember where they got it? Not a chance part two!

And that’s when our footsore and disheartened customers had a genius idea! They took a photo of the pendant shade on their smartphone and, as soon as their holiday was over, they brought it into our showroom and asked us if we’d ever seen it before.

No, we hadn’t. In fact, we’d never seen anything remotely like it either, although we could understand why our customers loved it so much.

But you know how much your friends at Oliver Lamps love a challenge, so you won’t be surprised to hear we immediately went into full Sherlock Holmes mode to try and track it down. It took us a while but eventually, we found it.

And guess what?

Now, the exact same pendant lampshade our customers fell in love with during their holiday has got pride of place in their own kitchen! Not only that, but we managed to get it for them at a bargain price too.

And that gave us a bright idea!

The next time you’re out and about and see something lighting-related that you’d really like to own for yourself, take a photo of it (preferably a few photos from different angles, especially if it’s something unusual), bring it into our showroom at 26/28 Oak Street, Fakenham, and we’ll do our very best to hunt and gather it for you! Or, if you can’t visit our showroom personally, email the photo to [email protected] and we’ll be in touch!

Go on… give us a challenge! What have you got to lose?!

Breaking Oliver Lamps News!

Everybody loves a home furnishing that’s been handmade because we know nothing like it exists anywhere else.

And that goes double when you’ve been involved in the handmaking process yourself, by picking out the fabric your unique handmade item is made from.

That’s why our fabulous new handmade lampshades have become really popular with our customers because they’ve got the added advantage you can come into our shop and select your own fabric to make it extra special. You can even order matching cushions too!

Want to find out more? You know where we are, and we’d love to see you! Alternatively, drop us an email, use the contact form on our website, or give our eager-to-please experts a call on 01328 855028.

Come back soon for our Halloween Spooktacular!

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The top four ways to light a garage

The top four ways to light a garage

To start with, look at your garage more closely.

We don’t tend to think of a garage as a ‘homely’ space, or a space that needs to be attractive and welcoming. For most of us, it’s somewhere to park the car and store the big annoying stuff we don’t need anymore that we can’t be bothered to get rid of yet. Some of us might use our garage to do other things like setting up a gym or installing a cheeky tiki bar, or as a space to do a bit of DIY or crafting.

The point we’re trying to make is, with the right kind of lighting and some carefully chosen fixtures and decorative flourishes, your garage could become as active and well-used as almost any other room in your house.

So, take a close look at your garage and switch on your imagination. Are you using your garage to the very best of its abilities? Or, with a little bit of finessing and strategic lighting, could you bring out your garage’s true potential?

Don’t forget the rules of lighting

Garages tend to be very poorly lit, or barely lit at all, and that’s a bad idea for all kinds of reasons.

The number one reason is safety because poor lighting makes a space difficult to navigate and leaves you vulnerable to trips and falls. If you’re doing any work in here (even if it’s just changing the oil in your car), bad lighting can also lead to eye strain.

The number two reason is security because a garage is often separate from the house and can make a handy target for opportunistic burglars. Or, if the garage is connected to the house, you’ve got a nice dark space for an intruder to break into and get even further. Animals, like birds and foxes, can sometimes find their way into unattended garages too and give you a nasty surprise if there are no lights on and you’re not expecting a feathery or furry garage guest!

So, just like in every other room in your house, the rules of lighting – ambient lighting, task lighting, and accent lighting – should be applied to your garage too.

Use ambient / overhead lighting to illuminate the entire space so you can see the walls, floors and obstacles clearly and safely walk around or park your car.

Use task / directional lighting for the parts of your garage you’re using for work or storage, so you’ve got increased visibility and can properly see what you’re doing.

Use accent lighting to showcase any parts of your garage that are especially important to you. For example, someone we know keeps their prized collection of Funko pop toys in there (because his wife won’t let him keep them in the house) so he’s got them all proudly arranged on a specially illuminated shelf across the garage wall.

Hey, horses for courses, right?! We’re not judging, but we will quickly move on.

Make the lighting fixtures functional

Whatever you do in your garage, it’s always going to be a functional space, it’s unlikely to be the place you’ll put in a sofa and coffee table and curl up with a good book (or maybe you will? That’s not impossible!)

But, if you’re like most people and going to use your garage purely for function and activity, the lighting fixtures you install should make accomplishing that as easy as possible.

For example, your ambient light sources could be flush-mounted lights on the ceiling or a garage door opener with lights built-in. Your task lights could be adjustable strip lighting or ‘trouble lights’ that you can easily move around and hook up wherever they’re needed. Your accent lighting could be a pendant or a wall-mounted sconce, which is a welcoming way to return home after a long night at work. Driving up to your house in the dark and being greeted by the accent lights when the garage door opens can be a very reassuring feeling.

Use the right lighting output

The Illuminating Engineering Society (IES) has some helpful advice about this. They recommend that the light output in a garage should be 50 lumens per square foot in a residential garage (that’s ambient lighting) and 300 lumens per square foot in a workshop (for task lighting.) Accent lighting doesn’t need to be anywhere near as bright. 75 lumens per square foot is a good rule of thumb.

Now, measure the square footage of your garage and multiply it by the number of lumens you’ll need. For example, if you’ve got a ten-square-foot working area where you’ll want to place task lighting, the calculation would be 10 x 300 lumens. That means you’ll need to buy enough bulbs to cumulatively provide the 3,000 lumen light output you’ll need in that area.

Even in your garage… LED rules!

LED bulbs don’t just make rooms like your bedroom, lounge and kitchen look great, they’re invaluable in your garage too! You can always find the perfect energy-efficient LED light to match your purpose, whether you need a conventionally shaped bulb or an LED tube that will cast light over a wider space. Even if you’re not going to use your garage much, your electric bills can still mount up if you don’t replace your incandescents or fluorescents with energy-saving and money-saving LED lighting.

Another final bit of advice, especially if you’re going to use the garage as a workspace, is to choose bulbs with a Colour Rendering Index (CRI) of between 85 to 100. That means you’ll be seeing the true colours of the paint, wood, metal etc. you’re working with.

As you might have guessed, now that we’ve talked about the garage part of the house we’ve finally run out of rooms to write about, so this will be the last in our series of very short lighting guides.

We hope you’ve enjoyed them and found them useful, or that at least they’ve given you plenty to think about when you’re lighting your own home. It goes without saying that, because these are blogs and we don’t want you to fall asleep halfway through reading them, we’ve tried to keep them as brief but as information-packed as possible. If you’d like to know about anything that hasn’t been covered in the blogs, please don’t be shy! Pop into our showroom, give us a call, send us an email, or use the comments form on our website to ask us your questions. Our friendly, expert team are always here to help!

Alternatively, if you’ve found these quick guides useful and would like us to write more, please let us know that too. We always appreciate feedback!

Don’t forget, for all your home and business lighting requirements, Oliver Lamps is the only place you ever need to visit. You’ll always receive a friendly welcome at our 26/28 Oak Street, Fakenham, showroom or give us a call / send us an email on 01328 855028 / [email protected].

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Our top five tips for lighting a lounge!

Our top five tips for lighting a lounge!

There’s no place like home, and if we asked you where the heart of your home is, what would your answer be?

Some people might say the kitchen. Some may say it’s the conservatory. But we’re willing to bet that most people would say the heart of their home is the lounge because that’s the room where you can comfortably relax as a family, or on your own, safely away from the hustle and bustle of the outside world, surrounded by everything that defines who you are.

And that’s why getting the lighting right in your lounge is important because when you’ve got a room in your house that’s so special, doesn’t it deserve a little bit of extra care and attention to make it feel just right?

Get coordinated!

No matter how big or small your lounge is, you don’t want it to look like a mish-mash of different areas all smooshed together.

So, the first thing to do is give your lounge a theme. Take a close look at the colour of the walls and ceiling, the type of furniture you’ve got in the room, and what materials the furniture is made of. For example, if your lounge has a relaxed, contemplative kind of vibe, a glam chandelier, an ultra-modern pendant, or a dramatic lighting sculpture probably won’t cut it. You should probably consider ambient lighting that’s more subdued, like carefully placed floor lamps or table lamps.

Bear in mind, a lot of different activities take place in a lounge so even a small lounge is unlikely to have one main focal point. If you want to create a focal point, centre a large circular light (like a pendant) in the middle of the room for a visually balanced look. Depending on your lounge’s décor, circular lights are generally a better idea than linear, angled lights because they send the message that the room is a single, unified, carefully thought-through place. Angled lights, or pendant lights with sharper edges, can send a more disrupted message, and making the room feel less relaxed and more like a place that’s full of activity and broken up into invisible zones.

Don’t forget lighting combinations

We haven’t talked about layering lighting styles for a while, so now it’s time to remind ourselves what they are:

Ambient lighting (otherwise known as general lighting) is a layer of illumination that fills the whole room. It’s the dominating light source that makes everything in the room easy to see and stops you getting eye strain when you’re watching TV, reading your phone or working on your laptop. Ceiling lighting is the most effective way to create ambient light.

Task lighting is, just like the name suggests, lighting you’ll use when you’re performing specific tasks. It’s bright and directional, like a floor lamp, table lamp, or reading lamp, and should be positioned wherever the task usually takes place. For example, if you’ve got a favourite chair where you like to curl up and read a book, your task light should be right there beside you.

Accent lighting (or mood lighting) is the ‘cherry on top of the cake’ lighting that adds drama to the room and softens out any harshness caused by the task lighting. Sometimes they’re spotlights, recessed lights or track lights that illuminate any dark areas and highlight details like the fireplace or pictures on the walls. They can also be ceiling lights placed along the edge of the room to brighten up difficult-to-see areas.

Look at the lighting you’ve currently got in your lounge; are you already using lighting combinations? If not, think about how you’d do it.

Don’t skimp on the details

Have you ever walked into someone else’s living room, noticed a picture on the wall that isn’t hanging exactly straight, and spent the rest of your visit trying to restrain yourself from jumping to your feet and straightening it up?

It’s the same with details like lampshades. Whatever the type of shade might be – a pendant, a chandelier, a lamp or a sconce – make sure it’s sitting straight and turn the shade so that its seams are hidden. Also, be aware of any shadows and hot spots that are created by the shade clips. The best way to eliminate those is by using soft-white or frosted bulbs.

Make your lounge lighting controllable

You know how annoying it is when you’re nice and settled on the couch, watching your favourite TV show, and then you have to jump up to answer the door?

Isn’t it just as annoying when you’ve got yourself comfy and suddenly realise that the room has got a bit too dark so you need to switch your lighting on, or turn the brightness of your lighting up?

The way to overcome that is by installing smart lighting, so you can control it from your phone, your tablet, or even with your voice. Having smart lighting means you’ll never have to move the cat or dog off your lap to walk across the room and adjust the lighting again (which your cat or dog will be very happy about too), and it will even let you change the lighting colours (so long as you’ve installed colour changing bulbs) or turn the lights on or off in specific parts of the room. Smart lighting is a terrific addition to your home’s security too, because you can set it to turn on when you’re away, fooling possible intruders into believing there’s somebody always inside.

Oh, and you know what we just said about being nicely settled and then having to jump up and answer the door? We’ve got smart video doorbells at Oliver Lamps too, so you can see who’s there (and talk to them) without ever getting off the sofa!

Choose your bulbs wisely

LED bulbs are every lounge’s must-have. They’re energy-efficient, money-saving, smart-app-controllable, and incredibly stylish. They’re made for all types of lighting fixtures and can even look like traditional incandescents. Use ‘warm white’ bulbs (2,700 to 3,000 kelvins) in your lounge to create an inviting light. If the colour temperature of the bulb is higher, it will be a bluer light that’s much closer to daylight. That can make your lounge look like a furniture shop window. Ouch!

For everything we’ve mentioned in this article – and for all your other home and business lighting needs – Oliver Lamps is your one-stop lighting wonderland! Our showroom at 26/28 Oak Street, Fakenham, is always chockablock with great lighting deals and eye-catching lighting ideas or give us a call / drop us an email on 01328 855028 / [email protected].

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How to light a loft

how to light a loft

Loft lighting is today’s topic. Up to now, we’ve been giving these articles titles like ‘Our top five tips for awesome kitchen lighting’, ‘Our top five conservatory lighting ideas’, and ‘Five great ways to make your garden glow!’

But there’s no way to make lighting a loft sound exciting, even though knowing how to light your loft space properly is vital if you’re going to make the most out of using it (and avoid falling through the ceiling when you’re up there.)

So, here’s the bottom line.

What kind of lighting is best for illuminating a loft space?

There are basically three choices (or four if you want to hang fairy tales and turn your loft into something from A Midsummer Night’s Dream, but that’s not very practical and could potentially be pretty dangerous.)

Fluorescent lighting

Fluorescent lighting is excellent because it spreads the light evenly over the whole space. It’s also very energy efficient and good for the environment, and because fluorescent lighting doesn’t heat up the way that incandescent bulbs do, it’s safer too. (Think: enclosed space, a lot of insulation, a lot of stuff you don’t have anywhere else to put stored up there = possible fire hazard.)

Other lighting alternatives tend to produce light in pools or spots and leave everything else in shadow, which defeats the point of installing loft lighting in the first place. Standard pendants – the kind used in most rooms of the house that can take a variety of different bulbs and fittings – can also get in the way.

The critical thing to think about with fluorescent lighting is where you’re going to place it so you don’t knock into it or bump your head on it when you’re moving around inside the loft.

Traditional fluorescent strip lighting – the kind you’ll find in many offices and schools – is probably the most straightforward, but it can be a bit expensive to run.

On the other hand…

LED batten lighting

You already know that everyone here at Oliver Lamps is a big fan of LED, so don’t be surprised that we’re going to push the advantages of LED lighting in lofts pretty hard!

An LED batten strip light is very similar to a fluorescent strip, but it will provide all the light you’ll need (depending on the wattage you choose) and is a lot cheaper to run. It also doesn’t have that annoying buzzy fluorescent strip light sound that happens sometimes, which can get seriously irritating if you’re up in the loft for a while, and it doesn’t flicker the way that fluorescent strip lights often can.

LED panels

LED panels are a lot pricier than LED battens or fluorescent strips, but you’ll eventually make that investment back (depending on how long you spend in your loft) because they’re even cheaper to run.

Another upside to LED panels is that you can install them flush with the roof beams or insulating boards so they aren’t going to get knocked over.

Recessed LED spotlights

We lied. We said there were three basic lighting choices at the beginning, but we’ve just thought of a fourth. That’s an excellent example of the extra care and attention you’ll always get from the team here at Oliver Lamps 😊

Seriously, though, LED spotlights are worth thinking about, especially if your loft isn’t huge and you don’t have to do a Cirque du Soleil-style high-wire act across the loft joists to get anywhere.

Remember: lofts aren’t intended to be load-bearing rooms, so if you’re going to store anything heavy up there, you’re going to need to strengthen it and lay down boards.

LED spots are long-lasting, energy-efficient and cheap to run. They might cost a little bit more when you first buy them (although we’ve always got some great deals at Oliver Lamps), but you’ll quickly recover that in running costs.

Natural lighting

Oh, look, and now we’ve thought of a fifth alternative!

Actually, no, we haven’t, because natural lighting isn’t a solution unless you’re never going to go into your loft after dark and you also live somewhere that you’re always guaranteed sunny weather (i.e. not the UK.) If that’s not the case, and you don’t want to resort to a torch and tippy-toes, you’ll always need to put some form of artificial lighting in there as well.

Last quick bit of advice: even if you’re a competent and confident DIYer, always bring in a professional electrician to install your loft lighting. It might look like a big space with not much going on, but making it safe is number 1 on your lighting list. The last thing you need is an electrical fault you don’t know about in an enclosed room you probably don’t visit very often.

Don’t forget, for all your home and business lighting needs, Oliver Lamps is the only place you ever need to visit. You’ll always find lots of fabulous ideas and offers at our fantastic 26/28 Oak Street, Fakenham, showroom, or give us a call / drop us an email on 01328 855028 / [email protected]. Alternatively, you can use the contact form on our website too.

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Our top five conservatory lighting ideas

conservatory lighting

Here’s a quick bit of useless trivia: the word ‘conservatory’ comes from a combination of two Italian and Latin words – ‘Conservato’ (which means to store or conserve) and ‘ory’ (which means a place for.)

Originally, conservatories were nothing like the conservatory many of us are lucky enough to have at home. They were places used for the storage and conservation of food, and they weren’t made out of glass. It was only a few centuries later when botanists and travellers started to bring exotic plants and fruit trees back to the UK from warmer, sunnier countries that they turned into anything like the kind of conservatory we’re familiar with today. Even then, they were closer to elaborate greenhouses than relaxing living spaces. That’s why you might sometimes have heard conservatories being called ‘orangeries’.

So, now we’ve got that quick bit of history out of the way, let’s look at some bright-spark lighting ideas for what is already one of the brightest rooms in the house.

Make the most of natural lighting.

This is a bit of a no-brainer when you think about it; why worry about planning all-day-round conservatory lighting when the conservatory will be flooded with plenty of natural light during daylight hours? Having said that, you still want to think about some practical lighting you can use in here on darker days and especially during autumn and winter.

Pendant lights are great for that kind of job, and they can be hung just as easily from a beam or a sloping ceiling as they can from a flat roof. For a larger conservatory that’s also used as a dining space, you could add uplights that will throw some interesting silhouettes and textures onto the ceiling when you point them towards plants (vines and hanging plants are ideal). Alternatively, you could plug in some Square Highlights or set up enough spotlights around the four sides of the room to either bathe the entirety with light, or only turn on specific spotlights to highlight certain areas. Coloured and dimmable LED spots would be fabulous for that purpose and give your conservatory an entirely new ambience every time you’re inside it!

Light the outside

When you’re lighting a conservatory, you don’t want to go over the top. There’s an extremely fine line between dark hole, magical, and dad’s throwing a very embarrassing disco party, and unless you’re dad and you’re into disco, you don’t want to cross it.

The other important point to remember is, when it gets dark at night, the conservatory can suddenly feel like you’re sitting in a mirrored goldfish bowl.

A way to avoid that is by placing key lights in the garden, preferably around an arbour or gazebo, so you’ve got something to look at that’s got size, shape and depth. Winding some fairy lights around the trunk of your favourite tree or even planting spots in the flowerbeds can work nicely too. That means you’ll lose a lot of that mirrored glazing effect inside your conservatory because your gaze will be directed out through the glass at the lights in your garden. However, to make that trick really effective, you’ll still have to keep your conservatory lighting at a low level to reduce extraneous reflections.

Think about lighting decorations

A conservatory is a creative space, so don’t be afraid to let your creativity off the leash. You could hang fairy lights or a chain of small LED or solar lights around the walls or from the ceiling to create a grotto or firefly effect. You could add some artwork or a small water feature and use carefully placed spotlights or uplights to highlight them. Or how about putting up a wire framework to suspend the lights overhead and then setting the Smart LEDs to twinkle gently at different times like stars or fairy lights?

You could also look out for some cleverly designed architectural lights, i.e. the kind that have been turned into coffee table ornaments like small sailing boats. It’s always worth dropping into our showroom to check out the wonders we’ve got on offer, or if you see any lights or lighting ornaments that you’d like us to source for you, just let us know!

Create a cosy dining space

Don’t just use your conservatory for dinner parties; use it for smaller, more intimate dining too! All you’ve got to do is find a corner space that’s large enough for a beautiful round table and two or four chairs, and then place a decorative lantern on the wall to cast a warm, gentle glow. Alternatively, you could hang a stylish pendant light directly above the table or use a selection of different sized candles to give the space a sensual 17th century-boudoir ambience. Always be very careful when you’re using and placing candles, though. Make sure they’re securely held upright in holders and well away from any plants, furnishings or materials that could be flammable.

Be safe and practical

The only problem with letting your lighting imagination go wild is… you need enough sockets to plug the lighting in!

Unless you’re a certified electrical wizard, it’s always advisable to consult with a lighting specialist and a qualified electrician before running any new electrical wiring into your conservatory. That’s because conservatories can have humidity/damp problems and internal temperatures that you won’t face in most other rooms in the house (besides the bathrooms, of course, and possibly the basement and loft areas.)

Some people put a 5 amp lighting socket in their conservatory to plug in uplights, floor lamps or table lamps. A 5 amp lighting socket is different from a regular socket because it’s part of the lighting circuit, which means it is switched on and off with the other light switches in the room.

If you’re using extension leads, make sure they don’t become trip hazards and never overload them. Always push the plug of the extension cord securely into the wall, don’t daisy-chain extension cords together to reach across the room, and limit each extension cord to a single appliance. Also, make sure the extension cord you use has the correct rating for the product you’re plugging into it and that it’s marked for either indoor or outdoor use.

So, there you have it – our top five tips for awesome conservatory lighting (well, four lighting tips and one tip of potentially life and property-saving safety advice!) As always, don’t forget that your friendly, expert team at Oliver Lamps are always here to answer your questions and supply all your lighting needs. We’ve also got an ever-changing selection of fabulous bulbs, light fittings, lamps, lighting decorations and home furnishings for you to choose from, so there will always be something new and exciting for you to discover. All you’ve got to do is pop in and see us at 26/28 Oak Street, Fakenham, call us on 01328 855028, or email [email protected].

We’re looking forward to seeing you soon!