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Bathroom Lighting: Five top tips for getting it right

Five Top Tips for Awesome Bathroom Lighting

Bathrooms are weird places, aren’t they?

We don’t spend a lot of time in them, but when they start to look a bit faded and boring it can really get us down.

But spritzing up a bathroom can be tricky because it’s usually such a small space that it’s hard to know what to do with it.

This is where cleverly thought-out lighting can be a bathroom-beautifying winner!

Tip 1: Make a plan

As we mentioned in our last blog, getting the layers of light right is hugely important. Even though a bathroom is small, there are still lots of different lighting choices you could choose for the vanity/sink area, the bath area, and the shower area. You also have to consider how much natural light comes in through the window. Because the windows are usually frosted glass or treated to prevent people from outside seeing in, the light is generally more hued or subdued than in other parts of the house.

However, don’t go so crazy with your choices that each separate area looks like its own individual zone. The trick is to make the areas distinct but cohesive, so everything works together, and it doesn’t look like three different people arranged the lighting!

Tip 2: Think about the layers of light

When you layer light properly, you’re enhancing your bathroom’s beauty and subtly playing down the areas you don’t want to be too noticeable. Start by thinking about the ambient light, which is the main ceiling-based light that will cast most illumination around the room. Then, depending on the décor you have, a chandelier, pendant, or carefully arranged series of recessed lights are the most popular ways to go.

Where the vanity, mirror, and shaver point are, think about the kind of task lighting you’ll use so you can easily see everything you’re doing in that area. This part of the bathroom can be the most daunting for many people because badly-placed light can be unforgiving when we’re looking in the mirror, applying our make-up or tweaking that troublesome hair off the end of our nose. Under-counter LED lights along the top and bottom of your cabinets are one way to go, but make sure they’ve got a splashproof IP rating of at least IP44.

Alternatively, depending on the amount of space you’ve got to work with, you might consider an illuminated mirrored cabinet (for a smaller space), LED bulbs framed around the mirror like you’re an old-time Hollywood movie star (for a bit of glitz and glam) or stylish wall sconces arranged symmetrically on either side of the vanity area.

Finally, think about the kind of accent lighting you’ll use to highlight your bathroom’s architecture and décor. Small spotlights and strip lights are one solution, or maybe a wall uplighter for a larger bathroom?

Tip 3: Some advice about side-mounted sconces

If you’re going to use a side-mounted sconce, making sure it sits at precisely the correct height is key.

The shade opening of a glass down-light should sit a little bit below eye level.

The shade opening of a glass up-light should sit slightly above eye level.

If you’re mounting the sconces on either side of the bathroom mirror, make sure there are a few inches of clearance on the left and right of the mirror. If you’re lighting a master bathroom, 100 watts per fixture is enough to create the right amount of cross-illumination, whereas a smaller bathroom/powder room might only require 40 watts per fixture.

Tip 4: Smart LED lighting can make all the difference!

When you use Smart LED to control the brightness of the lights, it means you can put them up high when you need to or bring them down to a relaxing low glow to make bath night more peaceful. In other words, at just the touch of a button on your iPhone or tablet, or a simple command to Alexa, you can turn your bathroom from a conventional utility area into a soothing hideaway. You could even program the lights so that only one part of the bathroom is illuminated while the rest is in darkness, or use colour-changing bulbs and truly get creative!

Tip 5: A few other useful tips to consider

LED bulbs with a CRI of 90 or more and a colour temperature of between 2700K and 3000K are perfect for bathrooms. 2700K light tends to be more flattering and gives the bathroom a warmer feel.

Vertical lights on either side of a mirror (like that old Hollywood look we mentioned a moment ago) are fabulous for applying make-up because they provide maximum light coverage without casting shadows. Also, when natural light isn’t an option, LED is the best kind of lighting to use for applying make-up because it projects evenly across your face. Never use yellow, rose, or fluorescent lighting when you’re putting your slap on!

Want to make the tub area special? Use a sconce, because the light from an overhead fixture can often be too harsh if it isn’t diffused or directed carefully.

Always stay safe and keep to the electrical safety regulations. All bathroom fixtures must be waterproof, and the IP rating for each fixture can be different according to where in the bathroom it’s going to be used. (IP means ‘Ingress Protection’ and is the level at which the fixture is protected against moisture and dirt.) For example, only full submersible IP67 fittings must be used inside the bath or shower basin; the area directly above the bath or shower requires IP65 fittings, and fittings placed outside the perimeter of the bath or shower and to a certain height from the floor must have a rating of at least IP44.

Please note, this advice is for rough guidance only because standards and requirements change all the time. Always seek the advice of a qualified electrician before installing new lighting fixtures in your bathroom.

And there you have it – Oliver Lamps’ top 5 tips for awesome bathroom lighting! I wonder what room we’ll be looking at next time? You’ll have to come back in a couple of weeks to find out!

In the meantime, don’t forget Oliver Lamps are always here with the best lighting and home furnishings deals and the friendliest expert service. To find out more, give our friendly team a call on 01328 855028, drop us an email at [email protected], or, even better (because we’d love to meet you in person!), pop into our showroom at 26/28 Oak Street, Fakenham, NR21 9DY.

Stay safe and see you again soon!

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How can better lighting help our eyesight as we get older?

eyesight and lighting

Lighting can help you protect your eyesight as you age, and we’ve got some tips to share with you.

None of us likes to think too hard about getting older, but it’s an unavoidable fact of life. One day you’re running around with all the energy in the world, spotting something you want in a shop window from the opposite end of the high street, and then the next you’re making weird noises as you get off the sofa and you can’t get in the shop because you can’t see where the door handle is.

Okay, so maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but you know what we mean. Someone who’ll remain nameless patted the cat at the end of their bed this morning, but it was actually their tracksuit bottoms. We’re not saying who it was. It definitely wasn’t me.

Anyway, moving on quickly…

How our eyesight ages

After the age of 40, you may notice your eyesight beginning to deteriorate and your eyes feeling more strained. It won’t happen overnight, but you might catch yourself squinting as you try to read a text on your smartphone or focusing on objects up close will be challenging. It’s annoying but it’s usually nothing to get unduly worried about, although it’s a sensible idea to get your eyesight checked as soon as you notice the changes. This disturbance in vision is generally caused because the lens inside your eye is losing its flexibility, which decreases the amount of light entering your eye and makes it more difficult to focus. Your ability to accurately see colours may be affected too.

This process is called presbyopia, and the bad news is that it generally becomes more advanced as we continue getting older. Suppose you’re prescribed reading glasses or contact lenses. In that case, you might find the prescription changes more frequently, or you’ll need one pair of eyeglasses for ‘occupational’ tasks and another pair for day-to-day activities like housework or watching tv.

Other sight changes might include:

  • Focusing your eyes becomes harder and slower because the ciliary muscles that support the eye are gradually losing strength.
  • Less light reaches the retinas because the pupils start to shrink.
  • The light entering your eye becomes more scattered, which is caused by the thickening of the cornea.

On average, by the time we reach the age of 65, most of us will:

  • Require more light to see clearly.
  • Become more sensitive to glare.
  • Respond more slowly to lighting changes, such as stepping from a dark environment into a bright one.
  • Notice a gradual loss of peripheral vision.

How lighting can help

Increase the light levels in your home and office

Because older eyes usually need twice as much light as younger eyes, make sure that task lighting of at least 1300 lumens is available in the areas you’ll need it most (i.e. desks, worktops, under cabinets.) Increase the ambient lighting and use smart lighting or dimmer switches to easily adjust the brightness.

Avoid lighting discrepancies

Because older eyes find adjusting to light changes difficult, keep the light level as smooth and unfluctuating as possible between room to room.

Make light switches clearly accessible at all entrances and exits

This is especially important in areas of the house that older people may be using late at night (i.e. bedrooms, hallways and bathrooms.)

Keep stairs, hallways, landings, and entryways well lit

Plug-in LED night lights, LED strips, rope lights, and overhead spotlights are excellent for this and will minimise the risk of trips and falls. For obvious reasons, never use extension cords in these areas and keep extensions safely tucked out of harm’s way in other parts of the house.

Choose light bulbs with a high CRI

A light bulb’s Colour Rendering Index (CRI) tells you how accurately it displays colours, so that the colours can be perceived more easily by the human eye. Older eyes tend to have a problem distinguishing between spectrums of blue, purple, and green, so bulbs that are between eighty and one hundred on the CRI scale are more efficient for work, study, and crafting spaces, and anywhere it’s important to see different hues (i.e. when painting a room).

Unfortunately, getting older is something we can’t avoid, but making even small adjustments to your lighting will make the process of getting older a lot easier. That’s where Oliver Lamps will always be here to help because all the different types of lighting and appliances mentioned in this blog – from CRI LED’s and dimmer switches to plug-in LED night lights, worktop lighting, desk lamps and everything in between – are currently available online and (when the lockdown eventually ends) directly from our shop. If you’d like to find out more, give us a call on 01328 855028, drop us an email at [email protected], or check out the catalogue on our website. Please remember, the catalogue only features a small part of what we stock, so get in touch if you’ve got any questions. We’ll be delighted to assist you.

Stay safe, and we’ll see you again soon!

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How to save BIG with LED!

In the words of Sir Michael Caine (who’s apparently quite fed up with people saying this because he claims he never actually said it) “Not a lot of people know that” last week was Big Energy Saving Week in the UK. Big Energy Saving Week is a national campaign dedicated to helping people cut their fuel bills and get all the financial support they’re entitled to, and why it wasn’t top of the national headlines between Jan 18-24 is anyone’s guess. It’s not like anything important has been happening, is it?! 😊

So, in belated honour of Big Energy Saving Week, we thought this would be the perfect opportunity to remind you how money-saving LED can slash your bills and save you bucket-loads of money. That feels more important than ever now it’s winter, the long dark nights are creeping in earlier, and most of us are using our domestic lights more often because we’re locked down at home.

How will LED light bulbs save you money?

LED bulbs can save you a lot of money for two important reasons:

  1. They require much less electricity than traditional incandescent bulbs, halogen light bulbs, or energy-efficient compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs.)
  2. They have a much longer lifespan than their incandescent, halogen, or CFL competition.

Let’s do the math

Unfortunately, a few people are still put off by the perceived expense of replacing their traditional, short-lived, energy-guzzling incandescent bulbs with only marginally more costly LED. But it’s not just the initial cost they should be thinking about. It doesn’t matter whether you’re replacing incandescent’s, halogen’s, or other energy-friendly bulbs like CFLs with LEDs, you’ll still make a handsome return on your initial investment. In most cases, you’ll start seeing that return immediately. If not immediately, you’ll definitely notice a significant return over the LED’s lifetime.

A 6-watt LED bulb is equivalent to a 60-watt incandescent or a 14-watt fluorescent.

Even though the older style bulbs are cheaper to buy, an incandescent will only last about 1,200 hours before it has to be replaced. The average lifespan of an LED bulb is 60,000 hours, which is approximately fifty times longer. That’s fifty incandescent bulbs you’d need to buy to match the lifetime of a single LED bulb… now that older style bulb doesn’t seem like such a good bargain, does it?

As far as your energy bills are concerned, a 60-watt incandescent is also going to use a great deal more electricity than a 6-watt LED. As a very approximate rule, if a 60-watt incandescent bulb were capable of lasting 60,000 hours (which it isn’t), it would cost you around £700 in energy. On the other hand, a 6-watt LED costs around £80 in energy. Even when you factor in the extra cost of the LED bulb (which is a lot cheaper now than it used to be), that’s still a saving of £600 or more when you switch to LED, and you won’t have the expense and inconvenience of buying the fifty incandescent bulbs required to match the single LED’s lifetime (which would easily be £50-£100, meaning the LED bulb has paid for itself!)

Or let’s look at it this way (and please remember this is just an approximate example): if you have 15 incandescent bulbs in your home and you use them over 60,000 hours, that would cost you in the region of £12,000. Using 15 comparable LED bulbs in your home over 60,000 hours would cost approximately £1,300. That’s a whopping £10,700 saving!

Something else to think about

LED lighting won’t just reduce your energy bills; it will also reduce your CO2 emissions and give you a much smaller carbon footprint.

Because recent figures indicate that 22% of the total electricity generated in the UK is used for lighting, switching to LED lighting will help to reduce both national electrical consumption and the volume of chemicals released into the atmosphere which are adding to climate change.

How many more reasons do you need to switch to LED?

If you can think of any, let us know, and we’ll do our very best to answer them!

We’re always here to help

Even though our shop is still closed due to the national lockdown, our friendly expert team are always at the end of a telephone or an email! Whatever we can help you with, whether it’s placing an order, answering questions about our products, sourcing specialist lighting products for you that we don’t currently stock, or telling you more about how Oliver Lamps’ LED lighting can help save you money, energy, and be more environmentally friendly, don’t hesitate to give us a call on 01328 855028, drop us an email at [email protected], or get in touch via the contact form on our website.

Stay safe and see you again next month!

PS. Just in case you’re interested, the Big Energy Saving Week website is here: https://bigenergysavingwinter.org.uk/

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Thank you for brightening up our year… how can we brighten up your Christmas?

christmas lights

Christmas is almost here and 2020 is almost at an end, and it’s safe to say that very few people will be sad to see it go. It’s been a challenging year for everyone.

So this is a perfect opportunity to look forwards to the future, and also give a quick glance backwards at the last twelve months.

Can you believe that we opened our gorgeous shop almost a whole year ago?

We want to say thank you to everyone who’s supported us through this difficult and sometimes anxious time; from our wonderful customers who have visited our shop or reached out to us online, to the magnificent keyworkers we’ve been proud to assist during the lockdowns and beyond, and to everyone who clicks on our social media, reads our blogs, and takes a few moments each month to make writing these little pieces worthwhile.

We’d also like to thank our friends and colleagues in the local community. Despite the terrible timing (!), our decision to open our shop in the heart of Fakenham at the beginning of the year will always be one of the best decisions we’ve ever made. We’re very proud of our little home, and we’re especially proud to be among you all.

Merry Christmas!

Now let’s talk about something seasonal!

How much do you know about Christmas lights?

When you’ve run out of games to play after Christmas dinner, and discovered Pass the Parcel doesn’t work so well when you’re doing it over Zoom (we gave it a go last week, but the parcel just bounced off the laptop screen), why not point towards all the glittery Christmas lights on the tree and amaze everybody with a bit of Christmas lighting trivia?

  • The tradition of Christmas lights is believed to have been started by the protestant reformer, Martin Luther, way back in the 16th century. The story goes that he was so enchanted by the stars shining through an evergreen forest that he took a tree home and tied candles onto its branches to cheer up his family. Martin might have been a famous reformer, but Health and Safety obviously wasn’t high on his agenda! (Even if there’s a power cut that lasts until new year, please don’t put candles on your Christmas tree at home!)
  • Thomas Edison created the first-ever Christmas light display during Christmas season, 1880. He laid eight miles of underground wire to power strings of lights around the outside of his New Jersey laboratory. The result was described by one dazzled spectator as “a fairy-land.”
  • Two years later, Mr Edison (aka ‘The Wizard of Menlo Park’) was at it again! He was the first person to decorate a Christmas tree with lights, covering the evergreen with 80 blinking red, white and blue electric lights, and sitting the tree on top of a revolving box. We don’t know about the tree, but we bet Edison felt dizzy when he received his energy bill. He should have invented LED first!
  • But, unfortunately, the world had to wait another 80 years for the LED light to arrive. It was invented by General Electric’s Nick Holonyak, Jr., in 1962.
  • LEDs convert nearly 100 per cent of the energy they use into light. An incandescent lamp only converts about 9-10 per cent.
  • LED bulbs have an average 20,000 – 25,000 hours’ lamp life. Compared to incandescent bulbs (with an average 1,000-hour lifespan) and CFLs (Compact Fluorescent Lamps, which have an average lifespan of 10,000 hours) that’s enlightening information!
  • The largest LED Christmas light sculpture was unveiled in Moscow, Russia, on December 12, 2015. It was made up of 23,120 colour-changing LED lights.
  • LED light bulbs save you money, save energy, and help to save the planet. A LED bulb that uses only 5 watts of power does the same job as an incandescent bulb using 40 watts but would only cost £19 over its lifetime. The incandescent bulb would cost £152 over the same period. That means if you replaced 8 incandescent bulbs in your home with LED, you’d save a whopping £1227 a year! Why not bring one of your incandescent bulbs to our shop after Christmas – we’ll plug it into our ingenious LED bulb machine, and you’ll be able to see the savings for yourself!
  • The most lights on a Christmas tree was 194,672. It all happened in Malmedy, Belgium, on December 10, 2010, and the tree was hung with a total of 350 3-metre-long garlands fitted with 576 lights on each.
  • If you use exterior LED lighting, or even put a LED bulb in your porch light, it will attract fewer moths and creepy crawlies! Why? Because, unlike incandescent lamps and CFLs, LEDs don’t produce large amounts of bug-attracting ultraviolet and infrared radiation.
  • The most lights on a residential property were hung by the Gay family in LaGrangeville, New York. They took the title on November 28, 2014, with a grand total of 601,736 lights. That’s almost double their 2012 346,283 lights record!
  • If you use a LED bulb for 24 hours every day, it will last for 6 years. If you only use it 4 hours a day, you’ll get a whole 17 years of life out of it!
  • The world record for most lights on an artificial Christmas tree is 518,838. It was awarded to the fittingly named “Christmas Lights Man”, David Richards, from Canberra, Australia. David also used to hold the Guinness World Record for “the largest image made of LED lights.”
  • It costs 83 per cent more to use incandescent Christmas lights instead of energy-efficient LED. That means, if you use LED, you could save an average £10 on Christmas house light decorations and at least £3 on Christmas tree lights over the month of December.
  • Finally, here’s an electrifying statistic from our buddies in the US: if America replaced just 50 per cent of their incandescent lights with LED lights during the Christmas season, the potential energy savings would be at least $17.2 billion. With that sort of money, Santa could put a warp drive on his sleigh, and he’d have delivered our presents before we even made it to bed on Christmas Eve!

Let Oliver Lamps make your Christmas and New Year brighter!

We don’t only sell an extensive range of high-quality, competitively priced LED light bulbs in all shapes, wattages, and fittings! Why not drop into our shop (or give us a call) before Christmas and find out what else we’ve got to offer?! From stylish lamps, shades, and light-fittings, to fun and comforting nightlights that will help little ones sleep peacefully; from smart tech that will seamlessly control all the lighting in your house and even change the lighting colour to suit your mood, all without leaving the comfort of your armchair (or even having to be at home to do it!); and from security smart tech designed to keep you, your family and your home safer, to a fabulous hand-picked selection of gorgeous home furnishings and accessories… there’s much more at Oliver Lamps than you might expect! And we’re adding brilliant new items all the time!

Plus, of course, we stock one of the UK’s best ranges of high-quality, competitively priced LED light bulbs too! (Or did we already mention that?!)

Want to know more?

That’s easier than putting a carrot on a reindeer and saying, “No red nose for you this year, Rudolph. Santa’s gone vegan!” Whenever you need us, we’ll always be here to help. Just give us a call on 01328 855028, email [email protected], or visit us at 26/28 Oak Street, Fakenham; we guarantee you a very warm welcome, although please check our opening times if you’re making a special trip because our hours will be a little different over Christmas.

Stay safe, and have a very Happy Christmas. See you in the new year!

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Conservatory lighting inspiration!

conservatory lighting

In our last blog, we talked about how carefully planned lighting can totally transform your outdoor space this summer. But what about autumn and winter, when the weather gets darker, and we’re spending more of our evenings indoors? If you’re lucky enough to own a conservatory, you’ll know they’re a perfect way to continue enjoying your garden without having to leave the house, but lighting a space that’s enclosed by so much glass can have its challenges. After all, a conservatory that’s designed to be flooded with light during the day can quickly turn into a pitch-black claustrophobic goldfish bowl after night falls.

With that in mind, we wanted to share a few lighting ideas to make your conservatory more inviting and maximise your enjoyment of this valuable space. With a little bit of know-how and a pinch of Oliver Lamps magic, it’s easy to make your conservatory a place you’ll enjoy all year long!

What’s your conservatory design theme?

A lot of people make the mistake of turning their conservatory into a room where they ‘just hang out when it’s sunny.’ They’ll put a few pieces of furniture in there, maybe throw a rug down on the floor, and then wonder why they don’t use the conservatory so much after the summer’s finished.

The answer’s simple. Like any other room in your house, you need to give your conservatory its own identity. Make it a place you’ll want to be in all year round, and think carefully about how your choice of lighting can make that happen. For example, because most conservatories tend to be very bright, white, open-plan spaces, it feels logical to choose lighting that’s more modern or retro. But did you know that conservatories were first ‘invented’ back in the 16th Century when wealthy landowners used them as greenhouses to grow exotic fruits and plants inside the house? They called these greenhouses ‘orangeries’, and it wasn’t until the 19th Century when people cut down on the horticulture and started using them as living spaces.

With that in mind, there’s no reason you can’t turn your conservatory into anything you want! Modern lighting could look fantastic, but something a little more traditional might be amazing too. Take a closer look at the space, decide on a theme, and then visit Oliver Lamps to discover all the exciting ways we could make your vision a reality!

Keep it subtle

Your conservatory was built to harness natural light, so don’t overwhelm the space with lots of different types of interior lighting. Ideally, you only want to use interior lighting in the evening or on those days when the weather’s overcast and the visibility is low.

Ceiling lights/pendant lights are a terrific way to illuminate a conservatory, especially if the roof is covered and you can’t see the sky. However, if you’ve got a transparent roof that lets you look up at the stars, you probably won’t want a ceiling light getting in your way! One solution could be a chandelier-type ceiling light with clear crystals that will help to reflect any natural light that’s still streaming into the room, but it might still hamper your favourite view of the universe.

So, instead of a ceiling light, let’s think of other less obstructive ways to keep your conservatory illuminated. You could use spotlights and clusters to illuminate from the top-down without blocking too much of your view, or you could subtly define the space with one or two well-placed table lamps, or use picture and poster lights to highlight particular objects or artwork. If you’ve got a large planted pot in the room, you might even use an uplight to add some drama to it when everything gets dark outside.

Also, don’t forget about wall lights. The beauty of wall lights is that they’re a fantastic source of warm, ambient light and they won’t clutter up your floor space. If you choose adjustable wall lights, you can also alter the direction of the beam to point at whatever you’re doing.

Want something even more understated? LED string lights are a brilliant way to decorate a solid-coloured wall, and are especially attractive later in the evening when you want to keep the vibe in your conservatory sleepy and low-key.

Go with the flow

Just because it’s dark outside, that doesn’t mean you can’t continue to enjoy your garden. However, if it’s dark outside and light inside, you’re effectively staring into a one-way mirror. One way to avoid that (and get your view of the garden back) is by keeping the lights low inside the conservatory and then mount some outward-facing lights on the exterior of your conservatory pointing towards your garden. Alternatively, you could use some of the outdoor lighting tips we mentioned in our last blog to keep certain parts of your garden illuminated, so those areas are always visible while you’re sitting snugly in the warm. Smart LED lights are perfect for keeping a balance between internal and external light because you can adjust them without leaving the comfort of your armchair and never lose sight of the outside world as night falls.

Even better, if you carefully combine lighting colours, so the theme of your indoor lighting is the same as your outdoor lighting, you can create the effect that your conservatory and garden are both flowing into one.

How can we help?

Summer is the perfect time to get your conservatory lighting ready for autumn, and you’ll love the wide range of lighting and lighting accessories we’ve got waiting for you at Oliver Lamps. From LED bulbs to ceiling lights, wall lights to table lights, string lights to nightlights, and lighting systems and smart tech that will brighten up your day and make your whole life more comfortable, you’ll find everything you need to turn your tired or neglected conservatory into a scintillating sanctuary you’ll never want to leave!

All you have to do is call into our shop at 26/28 Oak Street, Fakenham, or give our friendly team a call on 01328 855028. You’ll also find a lot of useful ideas and information (including our current opening hours) on our brand-new website/online store. However, we’ve still got a lot of products to add to the website so if you can’t find what you’re looking for, give us a ring or drop us an email at [email protected] and we’ll be happy to help.

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How to use lighting to make your outdoor spaces magical!

outdoor lighting

Now that we’re able to see more of our family and friends (socially distanced, of course!) it’s time to make the most of our outdoor spaces. Believe it or not, with Oliver Lamps on your side, there’s a lot you can do to make even the smallest garden, patio or terrace look like a Midsummer Night’s Dream wonderland!

Make your own outdoor cinema

All you need is a large white sheet you can use as a cinema screen (you could attach it to a wall or fence or peg it to your washing line, but make sure you weigh it down, so it doesn’t flutter in the breeze) and a projector connected to your DVD/blu ray player, laptop or streaming device. Projectors used to be incredibly expensive, but they’ve tumbled in price over the past few years. Just remember that the more lumens the projector has, the clearer and brighter the picture will be. Choose a projector that’s at least 3000 lumens for the best home cinema experience after night falls.

Arrange a few fairy lights around your garden or terrace, and maybe use some taped lighting on the ground to replicate the aisle lights in movie theatres, and then settle down to enjoy the fun! Worried about getting bitten by bugs? Lighting a few citronella, lavender, or lemon balm candles should keep those pesky midges and mozzies at bay!

Build a garden bar

Home bars have really taken off since lockdown began, and if you enjoy a little bit of DIY it’s a great way to give your garden or patio a talking point! How about an exotic-looking tiki bar made from sheets of bamboo and surrounded top-and-bottom with a fringe of LED lights? Or a classy gin bar with some subtle LED lighting to light up the sheltered seating?

Don’t feel like building your garden bar entirely from scratch? No problem! You could convert a corner of your garage into an impromptu cocktail lounge, with twinkling lights along the walls to outline the space and a couple of tables with some chic decorative table lamps. Or why not transform your humble shed into a nautical hideaway with some ceiling drapes and rope lighting? All it takes is a little bit of paint, patience and know-how, and a smidgeon of creative inspiration!

Host the perfect garden party

There is still a limit to the number of guests you can invite, but you can still give your garden party pizazz. Festoon lighting and string lighting are terrific ways to add zing to any outdoor gathering. However, if you don’t have a space you can hang overhead lights from, you can still make the occasion memorable by combining a variety of different lights to create the ideal ambience! Why not arrange fairy lights on your fencing or strung around the gazebo? Lanterns spaced at intervals to create light and shadow and stake lights to add colour and illumination to your flower beds? Also, don’t forget to add tape lighting to delineate steps and the edges of decking so your guests can safely see where they are walking.

Enjoy a romantic date night

It’s easy to add a touch of romance to any outdoor space. You could conjure up a dreamy canopy of stars by hanging some string lights or fairy lights in the trees and around the patio; you could use LED lanterns to turn the dining space into an intimate grotto and divide you and your loved one off from the rest of the world. Finally, don’t forget to choose a gorgeous lighting decoration (or maybe fairy lights inside a mason jar?) to use as a centrepiece on the dining table. The golden rule of less is more applies here. Whatever you do, don’t be tempted to overdo it!

And where can you find all the incredible lighting you’ll need to make these amazing outdoor projects a reality?

At Oliver Lamps, of course!

Apart from decorative lighting, we also stock a wide range of LED lighting products that look terrific and will enhance your home security too.

We have LED wall-mounted fittings that are fantastic for indoor and outdoor use.

Our stylish LED wall luminaire’s that make fantastic drop-down spotlights.

You’ll find a selection of LED wall lanterns, in both traditional and modern designs, as well as eye-catching stainless-steel LED wall globes.

Our round LED wall lights and twin LED wall lights will create a range of different effects, both indoors and outdoors.

Our LED bollards make terrific landscaping features (not to mention they’ll also keep your pathways, entrances and exits a lot safer.)

We’ve also got decking lights and garden/plant spike lights that are ideal for adding atmosphere and can be used for breath-taking effects. 

Get in touch

Want to find out more? Our friendly expert team are always here to help! Just give us a call on 01328 855028, drop us an email [email protected]. You can visit our shop at 26/28 Oak Street, Fakenham so you can see everything for yourself! If we don’t have what you’re looking for in-store, don’t worry, we’ll always be happy to order it for you!

Have a fantastic summer, and let your outdoor lighting imagination run wild!

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Attention teachers! Salix funding & Oliver Lamps can transform the lighting in your school!

salix funding for schools

Let’s talk about Salix funding. Right now, teachers and educational authorities up and down the country are focused on making their school buildings as COVID-19 safe as possible.

But while your school is closed over the summer, and you’re working hard at your essential COVID-19 prep, it’s also the perfect time to change your inefficient outdated lighting to cleaner, greener, money-saving LED.

If that sounds too expensive to consider, it really isn’t.

Thanks to the Salix Energy Efficiency Loan Scheme (SEELS) funded by the Department of Education, you can make the transition to energy efficient and environmentally conscious LED without breaking the bank.

The benefits of LED in schools

When a school upgrades to LED, the improvements are immediate. Whereas other lighting options can create glare or flickering, leading to headaches, eyestrain, and negative behaviour, LED lighting is consistent, high quality, and doesn’t cause visual discomfort. As a result, LED lighting helps students concentrate more effectively. Their information comprehension and memory recall significantly improves. Also, because LED simulates natural daylight and helps adjust the students’ circadian rhythms, pupils can focus for much longer and they’re far more productive.

In terms of energy and monetary savings, LED upgrades use at least 80% less electricity than an equivalent tungsten halogen source (and up to 90% less electricity when combined with intelligent controls) and the savings are instant. Upgrading to a LED light system could save the average large primary school thousands of pounds a year. According to The Carbon Trust, UK schools could reduce energy costs by around £44 million per year and prevent 625,000 tonnes of CO2 from entering the atmosphere just by changing to LED.

LED lighting is safer too. LED bulbs are much longer lasting than traditional bulbs (typically 50,000 hours) and they’re far more durable, with no mercury and fewer fragile parts. They also generate very little heat, so they won’t burn staff or children.

But, despite all these positives, the Department of Education recognises that making the change to LED isn’t easy when budgets are stretched. That’s why they’re funding SEELS.

What is the Salix Energy Efficiency Loan Scheme?

SEELS helps ease the cost of installing energy efficient technologies by providing schools with an interest-free loan, which the school repays via the savings they make on their reduced energy usage. It’s an excellent opportunity to upgrade your facilities and create a more welcoming and productive educational environment without incurring a financial burden.

SEELS has a lot of benefits:

  • Your school can begin the switch to green energy immediately
  • The running cost of energy efficient technologies is much lower
  • You can choose from over a hundred different technologies – including LED lighting – to upgrade your learning environment
  • Your school or college won’t be required to pay out upfront, so you can manage the transition to LED without financially impacting other areas
  • The loan is interest-free, and repayments will be met by the predicted energy savings
  • The Secretary of State has approved SEELS for use by all maintained schools and colleges, so you can be confident your establishment will already meet the criteria
  • The repayments from all Salix loans are going to be used in public sector projects to benefit people across the country

How Oliver Lamps can help

As lighting specialists with six decades of experience, we’ve helped many schools and colleges make the best lighting choices. Our expert team can advise you on the most appropriate and efficient ways to use your SEELS funding to upgrade to LED lighting. We can guide you on the perfect bulb and Smart lighting products and we can take care of installation too. We can also help you complete your SEELS funding application.

You can apply for the Salix Energy Efficiency Loan Scheme here https://www.salixfinance.co.uk/loans/schools-loans or call our friendly team on 01328 855028 to find out more about how we can help.

After you’ve spent the summer tackling the doom and gloom of COVID-19, SEELS and Oliver Lamps is the perfect way to brighten up your student’s prospects… and save your school a huge amount of money in the process!

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HOW CAN LED LIGHTING IMPROVE YOUR CHILD’S HOMEWORK?

homework lighting solutions

Homework has become the only kind of work most of us are doing these days. As we write this, the country (and the world) is still coming to terms with the coronavirus pandemic. These are difficult and worrying times for all of us but, as a family firm that’s proud to be part of the local community and also has many customers across the globe, it’s heart-warming to see how this unprecedented crisis seems to be drawing so many of us together. Wherever you are, we’re sending you our very best thoughts and hoping that you and your loved ones remain safe and well.

For the safety of our customers and our team, our new shop will be closed until further notice. However, the lights will always burn bright at Oliver Lamps and we’re still available to answer enquiries, give advice, or take orders via phone and email. You’ll find all our contact information at the end of this blog, and we’ll regularly update our Facebook page to keep you informed. In the meantime, we hope our blogs will continue to provide you with a little bit of much-needed escape and plenty of inspiration!

In our last blog, we talked about a few different ways you can light your child’s bedroom. Today we wanted to expand that topic to discuss how carefully chosen lighting can help older children concentrate better while studying and doing their homework. Of course, all the advice included here can be applied equally well to your own home study or office, you just need to examine how you’re using the space and choose the lighting combinations that work best for you.

WHAT IS THE BEST LIGHT FOR STUDYING AND HOMEWORK?

Back in 2016, research conducted by the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology found that dynamic lighting (i.e. lighting that can be adapted to meet various needs and moods) helps students perform better in the classroom. But that’s not all the research showed, because when the classroom lighting was subtly altered for various activities – everything from general learning to reading to test-taking – the changes in CCT (Correlated Colour Temperature) didn’t just improve the student’s performance, they also had a positive impact on their physical health and mental wellbeing. More proof that LED lighting isn’t just practical and necessary, it also makes us feel good!

WHAT IS COLOUR TEMPERATURE?

Colour temperature measures how warm (orange) or cool (blue) the light source is. A bulb with 1000K (Kelvins) colour temperature is comparable to the range of light we’d experience during a sunrise or sunset when we’re either waking up in the morning or winding down at the end of a busy day. For obvious reasons, that’s probably not the temperature of light that will encourage your child to study or do their homework. Daylight/Cool White light bulbs with colour temperatures between 4000K and 6500K will keep your child focused on what they’re doing, increase their concentration, and reduce the chances of eyestrain.

While overhead lighting is always recommended for a child’s bedroom, other lighting options like table lamps, floor lamps, bedside lamps and desk lamps are important too. You might also want to think about ceiling lights (either recessed or flush-mounted) to keep the entire room well-lit and help you and your child perform practical tasks, like tidying up or getting ready for school in the morning. Smart ceiling lights will let you control the colour temperature using a phone app, a dimmer switch, or via your smart home voice assistant.

Whatever forms of lighting you choose, don’t forget that LED bulbs are brighter, more energy-efficient, and far more versatile than traditional incandescent bulbs. If there are incandescent bulbs in your child’s room (or anywhere in your house) and you want to update them to LED, it’s easy. All you have to do is check the wattage and cap type of your existing bulbs and find a LED equivalent. Alternatively, bring your bulb into our shop and we’ll do the rest. We can even show you how much money you’ll save when you switch your old bulb to LED!

Just as importantly – especially for a child’s room – LED bulbs are much safer. LED bulbs don’t burn hot like incandescent bulbs do, which means they’re perfect for lighting fixtures that are within your child’s reach: desk lamps, for example.

And while we’re on the subject of desk lamps…

WHAT MAKES A GOOD DESK LAMP FOR HOMEWORK?

No matter what time of year it is, a desk lamp is indispensable. It should be compact enough not to take up unnecessary room on your child’s desk, and it should have a pivotable head so that your child can direct the light precisely where they need it. If your child is right-handed, the desk lamp should be placed on the left side of the desk so that your child doesn’t cast any distracting shadows while they’re writing. If your child is left-handed, place the lamp on the right.

It’s even better if the lamp allows your child to dim the light while working on their tablet or computer. That’s because the brightness caused by the screen could tire your child’s eyes, especially when contrasted with the desk lamp’s ambient light.

Remember what we told you about colour temperature? When you’re choosing a LED desk lamp, pair it with a bulb that will help your child to keep working. If they’re doing their homework in the evening, a 3000K neutral white LED should provide the best balance between keeping your child alert without making them so energised and wide awake they won’t be able to get to sleep a few hours later. A neutral or warm white bulb is conducive to better learning, especially late at night. Also, a warmer colour bulb in your bedside light is much better for sleeping.

At Oliver Lamps, we’ve got a selection of fantastic desk lamps that you and your child can choose from. One of our most popular is the simple but stylish Där designed desk lamp that would look terrific on your child’s desk or in your home office.

DON’T FORGET LIGHT LAYERING VS. TASK LIGHTING

If you want your lighting to look sensational, no matter which room it’s in, you should think very carefully about light layering. To put it simply, light layering means combining different kinds of light (usually ambient light, accent light and task light) to create a particular mood or atmosphere. Where your child’s bedroom or your home office is concerned, light layering is especially useful because it lets your child comfortably use their practical/task light (like a desk lamp) during the evening without being surrounded by a bedroom full of darkness. Of course, if you’re using smart lights you could set everything up to continuously adjust the overall lighting without even having to think about it! We talked about smart lighting in our February blogs. If you’d like to know more, get in touch!

BEWARE OF BLUE LIGHT AT BEDTIME

Don’t forget that the blue light emitted by electronic devices like computers, smartphones, laptops and TV’s can badly interfere with your sleep. That’s why health professionals recommend turning off all electronic devices at least thirty minutes before bedtime, even earlier if possible. Also, if your device offers a ‘night shift’ or ‘night phase’ option that fosters better sleep by filtering out the blue light between sunset to sunrise, consider using it. It can help you with studying, reading, or even watching a video, with the added bonus that you may actually feel tired when your head hits the pillow.

If you’d like to know more about lighting your child’s bedroom, selecting a practical and good-looking desk lamp, creating the perfect lighting layers, or discovering how colour temperature LED bulbs can totally transform your home (and who doesn’t want to feel cheered up and cosy at times like these), give our friendly team a call on 01328 855028 or drop us an email at [email protected]. Whether you’re lighting an entire house, a children’s bedroom, or a home office – Oliver Lamps have done your homework for you!

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USE YOUR LIGHTING TO BANISH THE LOCKDOWN BLUES!

lighting for lockdown

If there was ever a time when we needed to cheer ourselves up with some well-deserved lighting and colour, it’s now. And here’s the good news; you don’t have to be an expert interior decorator or need expensive quantities of paint to transform your living space and make that gorgeous colour change happen. All you need to know is the secret of painting with light.

PROJECT LIGHTING: LET’S GET STARTED

The first thing to talk about is colour.

Smart LED colour-changing light bulbs let you change the look and feel of a room at the touch of an app, or you could ask Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant to do it for you. There are 16 million different colours you can choose from (so you’ll never run out of options) and you can even arrange the lights into separate groups to independently control their brightness, colour and transitions settings.

Just imagine – simply by using the app or giving Alexa an instruction, you could create entirely different areas of lighting all in the same room! If you’ve got an open-plan lounge/kitchen, you could give the order and instantly dim the lights in the lounge while simultaneously brightening the lights while you work in the kitchen! You could ask Alexa to make the spotlights over the fireplace orange and the wall light beside your favourite chair red or set the skirting board lights in the hallway so they’ll provide just enough illumination when you’re heading to the fridge for your midnight snack. And the sky is the limit to the dramatic colour effects you could achieve when you’re throwing a party!

Colour-changing light bulbs are great for our sense of wellbeing, too. At a time like this, when we’re all doing our best to stay healthy and positive during the COVID-19 lockdown, the benefits of colour-changing bulbs are more evident than ever. Many of our customers are setting their colour-changing bedside light, so it automatically turns on first thing in the morning and then gradually increases its hue and brightness, so they wake up more naturally. They’ve also discovered that setting their bedroom light to an orange hue just before they go to sleep means they get a much better nights rest (and the light switches off all on its own.)

MAKE COLOURS WORK WITH YOUR LIGHTING

Feel like easing gently into the day? Setting your colour-changing lights to green will quickly relax you and soothe your mind and body, as well as enhance your focus and concentration. Some studies have even suggested that green light can help manage pain and reduce the intensity of migraines and headaches. Want to get productive? Choose purple light and instantly feel more creative and inspired. Want the room to be warmer and more welcoming? That’s easy – turn the lights to orange or yellow. A gentle amber light is perfect for a nursery (avoid blue light, because that can disrupt your infant’s sleep) and, for a children’s bedroom, red light is the calming way to go.

LIGHTEN UP THE LOCKDOWN

If you’re anything like us, you’re probably making this self-isolation more bearable by video-calling your friends and family and taking part in face-time quizzes, group-watching TV, or celebrating birthdays from a distance. This is another area where colour changing lighting really comes into its own, letting you share the fun by changing the lighting mood for every occasion.

MORE WAYS TO PAINT WITH LIGHT

Even if you don’t have colour-changing lights, you can still use the lighting you currently own to begin transforming your home. The key thing to remember is, don’t over-complicate it. Look at each room individually and picture how a subtle combination of task lighting and accent lighting could improve it.

Task lighting is lighting that illuminates a specific area, like a desk lamp or a table light. It’s usually portable so you can direct and focus the light on wherever it’s needed. Table lamps and floor lamps are excellent for task lighting, and a great way to set the mood to create a relaxed atmosphere.

Accent lighting draws the eye towards objects or design elements that you specifically want to emphasise (like placing a small spotlight over a vase on a fireplace, so that the vase is illuminated more than the surrounding décor.) You can also use accent lamps or up-lights to illuminate a specific space (like a bedroom wall or alcove) so that the light becomes a focal point in the room and creates an interesting effect with angles and shadows.

When you mix task lighting and accent lighting with the ambient lighting that’s already in your home (ambient lighting includes natural light as well as your standard room lights), you can produce simple but really eye-catching effects. All it takes is time, imagination, and a bit of patience while you move lights and objects around to create the perfect interior design statement – all without picking up a paintbrush!

Why not give it a go today? You can always add those all-important finishing touches (like some stylish light fittings or a couple of fabulous designer lampshades from your friends at Oliver Lamps) when the lockdown is over, and your favourite lighting shop is open again!

OLIVER LAMPS ARE ALWAYS HERE TO HELP

Even though we’ve had to close our shop during this lockdown, please don’t forget that we’re still here to answer your phone and email enquiries and we’ll always help if we can. We’re also keeping our website and Facebook page regularly updated to give you the latest information and, we hope, a little bit of inspiration! Stay safe, have fun painting with light, and we’re looking forward to seeing you soon.

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WANT SOMETHING DIFFERENT TO DO DURING LOCKDOWN?LIGHT BULB CRAFTING!

light bulb recycling crafts

Have you ever thought about getting creative with an old light bulb? There are so many eco-friendly ways to reuse light bulbs that no longer serve their primary purpose.

Earlier this month, the world celebrated Earth Day. Earth Day takes place on April 22nd every year and this year was its 50th anniversary.

WHAT’S EARTH DAY ABOUT?

Earth Day wants us to get involved in taking better care of our planet: saving energy, recycling, cleaning up our environment and combating climate change by stopping pollution and reducing our global footprint. It’s a fantastic event and, believe it or not, we had one or two Earth Day celebrations planned for our new shop (including a bargain deal for our lovely customers) before the lockdown happened and changed everything. Oh well, maybe next year! But the big message about Earth Day is — every day should be Earth Day. If we make small, simple adjustments to our daily lives (like replacing energy-guzzling incandescent bulbs with energy-and-money-saving LEDs) we can all do our bit to create a cleaner, greener future for ourselves, our children, and our planet.

And that gave us a bright idea for today’s blog! Most of us have got some old burned-out light bulbs cluttering up our kitchen drawers or gathering dust in the garden shed, so why not do something creative and planet-friendly during the lockdown and upcycle those dead bulbs into fantastic objects and decorations you can use around the home? Not only is it a great way to recycle, it’s a rewarding way to kill a few hours during a dreary lockdown afternoon. If you’re a parent, it’s also a fun activity you can do with your children while teaching them about recycling at the same time!

Here are a few of our favourite light bulb recycling suggestions…

LIGHT BULB = SEASONAL ORNAMENT

As far as most of us are concerned, Christmas can’t come soon enough! Why not start celebrating early by transforming your old light bulbs into ornaments you can hang from the tree? You can paint the outside of the bulb in festive colours and use a small paint brush to apply some glue in the shape of snowflakes or stars before carefully sprinkling on some glitter. Alternatively, you could fill the inside of the bulb with glitter or coloured sand and then wind a ribbon around the bulb cap for a finishing touch.

But why limit yourself to Christmas? Why not create a Halloween mantelpiece ornament by painting on some ghosts and monsters and then filling the bulb with some creepy looking liquid or gel? Or how about painting the bulbs for a special occasion, like a birthday, and filling them with multi-coloured sparkles or paperclips? If you’ve got any small polystyrene packing chips lying around the house you could break them up, paint them in different colours, and sprinkle them into the bulb too.

MINI TABLE VASE

Okay, so you’re not going to fit many flowers inside a light bulb and the flowers you choose will have to be pretty small (maybe a single rose, if you’re feeling really romantic) but upcycling your bulbs into mini table vases can make eye-catching dinner party decorations, or you could even assemble a bunch of them into a conversation-starting dining table centrepiece! You could get artistic and paint some patterns on the outside of the bulbs, or plan ahead to your first post-lockdown party and personalise each bulb with the name of a guest you’re going to invite.

LIGHT BULB CANDLE

Even when a bulb’s broken, it can still light up a room! Carefully remove the inner parts of the bulb, then wash the bulb and dry it. Find something small and round (probably the size of a napkin ring) to support the bulb so it can stand upright without falling over. Even better, carve a hole into a small block of wood and sit the bulb inside it, gluing it into place. Glue a washer on the top opening of the bulb and thread a cotton string (about 5 inches long) through the washer to create a wick. Finally, inject a very small amount of oil or alcohol into the bulb and then light the thread. Congratulations, you’ve just made a light bulb candle! Don’t leave it burning unsupervised, though!

TERRARIUM

Remove the cap and the insides of the light bulb and then add a little dirt or sand and some small flowers or tiny shells. If your children have got any plastic figures small enough to put in the bulb, add them too. A dinosaur figure would be fantastic, especially if you can place it so it’s peeking out from behind the shrubbery. Voila! Your own teeny-tiny Jurassic Park!

Alternatively, you could add a little water and create your own miniature eco-dome; or how about designing a microscopic beach scene with some sand and pebbles? You could even paint a tiny beach hut on the back of the bulb to give it a 3D effect!

SOCIAL MEDIA GUESSING GAME

Remember those summer fete contests when they fill a jar with jellybeans, and you’ve got to guess its weight or how many jellybeans it contains? Why not fill a bulb with some small candies or coloured paper clips, post a photo of it on social media, and ask your friends to guess how many contents are inside? Or make it a party game next time you’re Skyping, Zooming, or Google Hangouting with your family?

LIGHT BULB SALT AND PEPPER SHAKERS

Another easy one, but unusual and practical! Take the cap off the bulb, carefully remove the inner parts, and then thoroughly wash and dry the bulb so it’s safe to put salt, pepper, or sugar inside. Then, pierce holes into the cap so you can use the bulbs as shakers.

Recycled light bulbs also make really useful storage containers for the kitchen. You could fill them with spices and seasonings (they make a terrific light bulb spice rack) or as oil and vinegar decanters.

Now it’s your turn! Let your imagination run wild and see what genius ideas you can come up with! When our shop’s reopened, maybe you could bring them in to show us!

And do you want to know the best news of all?

When this lockdown’s finally over you’ll be able to recycle all your old incandescent bulbs and come to Oliver Lamps for your fabulous new LED replacements. You’ll be saving energy, saving money, and helping to save the planet! That’s definitely worth looking forward to!

Stay safe and stay indoors, everybody. See you again soon!