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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!

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HOW PERFECT LIGHTING CAN MAKE YOU A VIDEO CALL SUPERSTAR!

video call lights

Video calling has become all the rage during recent months.

One of the most popular ways families and friends are dealing with self-isolation is by connecting with each other over apps like Zoom, Skype, and Google Hangout. In fact, if you’re anything like us, you’ve probably seen more of your family over the past few weeks than during the last twelve months! People are holding quizzes, self-isolation discos, quarantine birthday parties, and discovering all kinds of brilliant, innovative ways to keep each other entertained while we all find our way through this. Even Sophie Ellis Bextor’s got involved by holding a kitchen disco on her Instagram page every Friday evening. You should check out some of the lighting she uses!

And that gave us the idea for this blog. Because the one problem with those video apps that put each of us in a little square so your pc screen looks like the opening credits of The Brady Bunch is it’s often really difficult to see each other properly PLUS it all looks a bit boring. We either switch on too many lights (which makes us look tired and really washed out) or we put on a light that isn’t positioned in the best way and spend the entire call sitting in shadow.

But here’s the good news: with just a little bit of careful lighting preparation, you can easily look video-chat fabulous!

Here are a few things to think about:

SAY GOODBYE TO VIDEO SHADY FACE

‘Shady face’ is when half your face is in shadow, so it looks like you’re doing a really bad ‘Phantom of the Opera’ impersonation. The best way to avoid it is by positioning one lamp, directly by your face, so the light on your face is constant and steady throughout the call.

Alternatively, you can achieve the same effect using your smartphone’s flashlight. Place the phone on a tripod or stand it on a flat, steady surface (like a desk or windowsill) so the flashlight is shining directly on your face and not from behind you. Try not to prop the phone against your pc or laptop because you’ll spend half the call readjusting it so it doesn’t fall over!

ADD SOME FILL LIGHT

While your main light (which professional photographers call a key light) directly illuminates your features, a fill light can be used to provide a sense of depth and shape to your face. You don’t need to use a second light to achieve this. All you have to do is place a white tablecloth or sheet of white paper on the table in front of you to give your face a flattering ‘fill and bounce’

HIGHLIGHT YOUR BEST SIDE

If you want your viewers to notice your very best features, place a tall desk lamp in line with and slightly behind your pc or laptop so it illuminates your favourite side of your face.

USE NATURAL LIGHT

Take advantage of natural light as much as possible. Natural daylight accentuates your skin tones and makes everything look more natural when you’re on camera. Set up your pc or laptop in a room where there’s a lot of window light but avoid sitting with your back to the window because the camera will overexpose and turn you into a silhouette. Simply sit facing the window and you’ll look perfect.

Also, balancing the natural light with a couple of properly placed soft white lamps will help to light up all areas of your room while not making you look overly bright on the video screen.

GET COLOURFUL

If you’re already the proud owner of our LED colour changing lights, you’ve got the perfect video lighting literally at your fingertips! Just select the colour to fit the mood – the spectrums of orange or red are great choices for high-energy party calls, yellow and blue spectrums are terrific for keeping you calm and concentrated during quiz nights, and the spectrums of green and pink will add a tranquil, comforting ambience when you just want to sit down with your loved ones and have a good chat. Stay tuned, because we might tell you more about the connection between colour and mood in a future blog!

GET DISCO!

If you’re holding a friends n’ family dance party, add to the fun by using LED colour changing bulbs and strip lights, LED string lights, or even rotating LED disco ball lights. If you don’t have any of those available (don’t worry, you’ll be able to get them when our shop reopens!) how about making a handmade disco ball by gluing some coloured sequins or cardboard silver squares to a paper lantern or some Styrofoam crafting balls? You’ll find plenty of How To’s online and it’s a great project for an afternoon when the sun isn’t shining. Plus, when you hang the disco ball up and it catches the light, you’ll be a video-call talking point!

A FEW DON’TS

Avoid using bare bulbs when you’re table-lighting a video call. Instead, use a lampshade or diffuser to soften the lighting so you don’t look harsh and ‘blown out.’

Choose your background carefully. You want your friends to be looking at you, not checking out what’s on the shelf or the bookcase behind you! Keep your background plain and simple, like a blank wall or a wall with just a single picture on it.

Avoid backlights because a) you’ll just be a silhouette on the screen, b) it will be really uncomfortable for other people to look at.

Don’t get too close. The cameras on smartphones and webcams are wide-angle so if you’re too close to them you’ll look distorted. Besides which, all the work you’ve put into carefully re-arranging your lights will have all gone to waste. Just sit back far enough for people to see your head and shoulders, but not so far away that you look like you’re in the next room!

And there you have it – our top tips for the perfect video-call get-together!

And the really good news is, when our shop eventually reopens, you’ll find a lot more exciting ways to light up your video chats and take them to the next level! In the meantime, here’s a story that made us smile and proves how lighting can cheer us up even in the grimmest of times…

Here’s a thought: why not take their example, bring your Christmas lights down from the loft, and use them in your video calls as well?!

Until next time, take very good care of yourselves, and each other. We’ll see you again very soon!  

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WHAT COLOUR IS YOUR MOOD TODAY?

colour lighting mood

It’s easy to take lighting and colour for granted, but have you ever stopped to consider how much lighting and colour both affect our mood?

Let’s take an obvious example.

While we’ve all been in lockdown, which days have you found the easiest to cope with?

We’d guess it’s the days when the sun’s been shining. When the day has been grey and gloomy, the chances are that your mood has been grey and gloomy too.

That’s because, even though lockdown prevented us from going outdoors and enjoying the sunshine as much as we’d like, just seeing and feeling that golden light streaming through our window makes us feel so much better.

Light affects us in all kinds of unexpected ways, both physically and mentally.

HOW LIGHT AFFECTS US

Bright light can make us feel more active and energetic, while lower intensity light can make us feel more relaxed and able to focus. If the colour of light is particularly intense (saturated), it can amplify our emotions. If the light is more muted, our emotions will feel more muted too.

Light also sets our circadian rhythm, which is our internal body clock.

Our circadian rhythm follows the natural course of daylight. When we do this successfully, waking up with the light and going to bed when it gets dark, we’re able to concentrate much more efficiently during the day, we feel healthier and happier, and we enjoy much better high-quality sleep.

But if our circadian rhythm is disrupted (which can happen when we watch late night TV or read our tablet or smartphone just before going to bed) we can feel sluggish and fuzzy the whole of the next day. It can even have a negative impact on our mood and appetite. Why? Because electronic devices like TV’s, smartphones and tablets emit a high-energy blue light that acts as a stimulus to the brain. In fact, a lot of research has been done on the similarities between blue light and caffeine, and Swedish scientists have said that blue light can keep you more awake than coffee!

Finally, the hue (i.e. colour or shade) of light can have a massive effect on our mood and wellbeing too. Want to know a little bit more about colour? Here are some of the basics!

THE PSYCHOLOGY OF COLOUR

Green is a colour that has strong associations with nature and the natural world. It has a calming, soothing effect that aids concentration and can even help to relieve pain. It’s no surprise that, when people are about to appear on a TV show, they’re usually taken to a green room before the programme starts so they can calm their nerves. In lighting and interior design, green represents health, harmony, and ambition.

Red is a colour that’s associated with warmth and comfort. It’s also a vibrant, intense colour that can make you feel powerful and confident. Using red light in the evening can make us feel happier and lead to a better night’s sleep because it encourages our pineal gland to release melatonin. In lighting and interior design, red represents warmth, romance, passion, and friendship.

Blue is a colour that’s tranquil and peaceful. In a workplace, blue décor and blue-hued lighting can increase productivity, and make people feel more calm and secure. Blue is also a very grounding and spiritual colour that’s been shown to lower blood pressure and body temperature. Intense blue can lift our spirits and fill us with emotional energy. In lighting and interior design, blue demonstrates confidence, tranquillity, and good health.

Yellow is a colour with a lot of different characteristics. It’s bright and cheerful, and it can make people feel happy and energised. It’s great for social situations, or brainstorming sessions when you need everyone to feel wide awake and stimulated. However, over-exposure to yellow can make people more aggressive and ill-tempered. Research has shown that babies tend to cry more in yellow rooms. In lighting and interior design, yellow alleviates depression (when it’s used carefully!), promotes warmth and happiness, and it’s a great attention-getter.

Purple is a soothing, mysterious colour that’s linked to wealth, wisdom and spirituality. Light purple can inspire us and make us more creative as well as reduce emotional and mental stress, but dark purple can lower our mood. In lighting and interior design, purple represents ambition, creativity, and free-thinking.

Orange is a warming colour that’s great for creativity. If you want to feel enthusiastic about a new idea or need to put your imagination to work, orange is a great colour to choose for your lighting and decor. It’s also a colour that’s linked with change, so orange-hued lighting is fantastic for lifting your mood or helping you think and feel differently about a situation. In lighting and interior design, orange portrays warmth, prosperity, energy, and happiness.

Pink is a confusing colour. Although it’s traditionally associated with love, romance, and femininity, and can have quite a nurturing, calming effect, some people can become agitated by pink if they’re exposed to it for too long. Of all colours, pink is the one that draws the most varied responses. It can be considered vibrant and creative, or cloying and childish. Some sports teams even paint the rival team’s locker room pink to make them less aggressive, so it could be an excellent colour to use if you want to win an argument!

White is a colour that’s linked to purity, innocence, and cleanliness. White lighting is often used to add highlights in a room or to make an interior seem more spacious. It’s also a popular colour to use in home and office design, because it gives off a feeling of freshness, and can create the perfect ‘clean slate’ so you can gradually layer other colours on top of it. It’s a great colour for starting on a new project, or for conveying a sense of new beginnings.

Black is a colour that a lot of people associate with darkness and depression. However, the Chinese art of feng shui – which has grown increasingly popular among architects and interior designers – believes that black represents power and prosperity and can also bring calm and creativity. In lighting and interior design, black portrays strength, elegance, prestige, and mystery.

Which of these is your favourite colour?

Which of these colours represents how you’re feeling right now?

If you could change the lighting colour in your home (which is easy once you’ve installed our fabulous LED colour-changing light bulbs), what colour or shade would you choose next?

Not sure? Not a problem!

One of the many benefits of smart LED colour-changing lightbulbs is that you’ve got 16 million different colours to choose from, so you’ll never run out of options! You can control their brightness, colour, and transition settings via an app on your smartphone or tablet, or merely by instructing your home-office assistant to do it for you. Just imagine that; all the colours of the rainbow available to you every moment of every day, always ready to lift your mood and create the perfect ambience whenever you need it! Think about how much easier lockdown could be, if you had smart LED colour-changing bulbs installed in your home right now.

But if you’re not that lucky, here’s the really good news…

OUR SHOP IS REOPENING ON JULY 1ST!

We can’t wait to see you and assist you with all your home or office lighting and lighting accessory needs. So, if you’d like to know more about LED colour-changing light bulbs or any of the other home lighting or Smart tech innovations we’ve talked about over the last few months, please come in and say hello and we’ll be delighted to personally show you all the incredible deals and options we’ve got available.

We’ll feature more details about our reopening in our next blog. If anything changes because the government alters its plans, we’ll post the information as early as possible on our website and social media. However, all being well, we’re looking forward to welcoming you back to Oliver Lamps from the 1st of July onwards! In the meantime, if you’ve got any questions, please don’t hesitate to give our friendly team a call on 01328 855028 or drop us an email at [email protected]

Take care, keep safe, and we’ll see you very soon!