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A Brief Guide On: Mission Style Lighting

Like the inspired interior design style that grew out of the arts and crafts era (1900-1930), mission style lighting is similar in its definitive lines and edges, dark wood coloring, and a relatively simple appearance. The rustic look of the dark woods is offset by the patterns and colors of the crackled or stained glass. The overall impression of mission lighting, with their flared quality and dark woods, typically resembles natural elements such as spreading roots, angled branches, or broad tree trunks.

An example of mission style lighting.  Lamp from Universal Lighting and Decor

Mission Lighting Design

What sets mission light fixtures apart is their distinctive shape. Usually they are found as a four sided, pyramid base (without the pointed top). Rectangular shapes are also common.  Designers of mission style lighting fixtures stay away from the highly decorated styles of previous eras, opting for a cleaner and simpler look. Often inspired by the mission architecture and landscape of the western and southwestern United States, the straight edges mimic the panoramic views that are prevalent in these regions.

Darkly stained oak is often used along with various metals and stained, frosted, or textured glass to create the elegant lighting fixture. The leathered appearance of the wood artfully enhances the delicateness of the glass elements, which creates lighting sources that blend easily with several interior design styles. Far from being limiting, mission lighting may be used to enhance existing décor styles, allowing for spaces to be decorated in a more rustic, traditional and authentic way.

The clean cut lines are what make mission light fixtures stand out. Lamp from Warehouse of Tiffany.

Interior Design Styles That Collaborate Well With Mission Lighting

Mission styled lighting mixes well with Native American patterns and structural elements, and may be easily paired with handcrafted woven rugs, clay pottery, and similar room accessories. Decorating enthusiasts who prefer American traditional styling may especially appreciate the dark woods of these light sources, and enjoy mixing in richly hued wall paint, seating, and toss pillows. Traditional seating with dark wood accents or dark leather furniture may be greatly enhanced by adding Mission style room elements. Even casual looks can sustain Mission styled lights.

Top Mission Style Lighting Brands

A range of lighting designers offer Mission styled ceiling fans, chandeliers, pendants and sconces with a casual elegance that highlights the best of this architectural style. Top companies such as Arroyo Craftsman, Franklin Iron Works, and Murray Feiss produce quality Mission style outdoor lighting. These manufacturers, along with the Framburg, Kichler, and Quoizel lighting companies, also provide interior and exterior lighting options.

An example of a mission styled outdoor ceiling light, from Vaxcel.

A ceiling fan integrated with a mission style light, from Hunter.

An example of an outdoor bollard in the mission style, by Kichler.

A Homeowners Guide To Driveway Lighting: The 3 Areas To Light and Choosing Between Low Voltage or Solar Lighting.

Outdoor driveway lighting is important for a number of reasons. Safety – proper lighting makes it easier to navigate the driveway at night avoiding hazards along the way. Exterior lighting of your home also helps deter possible intruders. There is also the curb appeal, helping increase the value of your home.  When it comes to driveway lighting there are 3 areas to light: the entrance of the drive way, the path/driveway itself, and the end destination (garage/front door). You will then have the choice of low voltage or solar driveway lighting.

The Entrance

This is where your driveway meets the street. Lighting is important here as it guides drivers out, will help drivers on the street see you coming out of the driveway, and you will be able to see if there are any pedestrians crossing the path.

The most common lighting solution for driveway entrance lighting is to have 1 or 2 lamp post/tall pole lights installed. If you have a gate or a wall of some sort you can have lanterns placed on top of them. Or it is fairly easy to have short brick or stone pillars built on both sides of the entrance which then can have these lanterns installed on top of them – these piers can also act as a mailbox and address signage.

The Driveway Path

When planning on installing light fixtures on the driveway path, look for areas that pose as obstacles or areas where there is a change in direction. Most driveways are straight, so this should be quite simple. But some obstacles to highlight with lighting would be any slopes, trees, walls, flower beds, or curves in the path. A curved driveway will need to have the edges lighted as to be able to guide drivers at night.

Some of the driveway lighting ideas for types of fixtures to light up the path itself include:

  • Pole lights
  • Post lights (can be tall or short): these are shorter than pole lights so they are closer to the ground and will light the edges of the driveway.
  • Lanterns on posts – modern metal or traditional stone work
  • Recessed driveway lighting that are embedded into the path
  • Wall sconces if you have a wall on either side of your driveway
  • Downlights can be used to wash the floor with light

Be careful not to make the common mistake of over-lighting your driveway. This can create a runway effect. To avoid this, the lights should be spaced well out, on alternating sides.

Creating Focal Points And Adding Ambient Driveway Lighting

All the above has mentioned task lighting – lighting used specifically to help a driver see the path. You can also add some ambient lighting that will add light to the driveway. Trees, shrubs or flower beds close to the driveway can have an up-light or two highlighting them (possibly creating a focal point in the garden). This light will add to the driveway lighting.

Straight Lines In Landscape Design

Driveway lighting will also add to your curb appeal and property value. Driveways, especially straight ones, will create a focal point at the end of the drive way. This is because the eye will be drawn down the lines and lighting of the driveway. This effect also makes smaller spaces appear larger.

So a garage or front door will be the focal point as most driveways lead the eye here. If this is the case you will want to make sure that you have elegant front doors or garage doors, and these should also be well lit.

End Destination

The end point of the driveway will be a focal point as the lights of your driveway will lead people’s eyes down to this point. Here you will want to use warm colored lighting. You will want to make sure that your garage and or front door has elegant lighting by using either:

  • Wall sconces
  • Wall lanterns
  • Up-lights pointed at the walls (side of the door or garage)

These lights will also provide light for the parking area of the driveway.

Security Motion Sensor Lighting / Outdoor Flood Lighting:

These lights are not as elegant and appealing as having enough ambient/task lighting (lanterns, pole lights, etc.) But it will save money as they only come on when something is in the driveway. They also add to peace of mind being a security light that will deter potential intruders. Outdoor flood lights can also light the driveway path itself, if the distance from the house wall they are installed and driveway path is short enough for the light to reach.

Installing Low Voltage or Solar Driveway Lights

When it comes to choosing your driveway lighting fixtures you will have the choice between solar powered or low voltage. Each comes with their own benefits and draw backs.

Solar driveway lighting: These are easy to install as there are no wires. Most will just require you to stake them into the ground. There is also no added expense to your electrical bill. These lights will need enough sunlight in the day otherwise they won’t shine as bright as they could at night. So the light performance can be hampered in the winter months or during bad weather. If you do decide on solar driveway lights, it is best to find the highest quality possible. Cheap light fixtures will have lower quality solar cells that will not convert the suns energy as efficiently, therefore the lights will not shine bright or long.

Low voltage driveway lighting: Choosing to go down this route you will have more reliable, durable and effective lighting. But they are much more expensive to buy and install, due to the added wiring. They will need to be connected to a timer or motion sensors. They are low voltage so they are cheaper to run than your standard household lights but not as cheap as solar lights. The most beneficial part of low voltage lighting is that they shine bright in all conditions. Also they add more value to a home as they are permanent driveway lighting fixtures that a homeowner has invested in.

Cheap Lighting Ideas For The Home: Indoors and Outdoors

With the right placement, cheap lighting ideas can bring sophistication and a warm ambiance into any room. The right light can bring out the best in any room and can provide the exact atmosphere and ambiance that fits a particular space. However, these lighting fixtures need not break the bank. There are affordable options that provide the right light and are energy efficient at the same time.

Cheap Lighting Ideas for the Indoors

There are more options for inexpensive indoor lighting since there are different lightning needs of specific parts of the house such as the kitchen, the living room, or the bedroom. The most important thing to keep in mind when providing lighting in various rooms, is looking for the optimal placement to get the most illumination in the room without using excessive lamps and bulbs. However, it is also important to consider the ambiance that one wants to achieve in the room. For example, kitchens need to be well lit so that cooking can be done with the best possible light. The living room can be lighted by conventional bulbs wrapped in colored transparent paper to give the desired color for the room. This is a fun tip when preparing the room for a Christmas party or some other gathering where a change in the lighting of the room can help set the mood.

Compact fluorescent bulbs produce a warm, soft glow that will be perfect for bedrooms and living rooms that need warm and soft illumination. They are also more energy efficient compared to incandescent bulbs and last ten times longer, making them one of the most affordable options for indoor and cheap kitchen lighting. These are also great for cheap bathroom lighting.

Led candles mimic the real thing but are easy and safe to light a room

led candles

Led candles can be controlled with a remote control

There are nifty and unconventional ways to light up the bedroom or the living room to get that ambiance that works to make living rooms and bedrooms cozy and relaxing. Candles are the traditional way of adding an instant glow to any room but they can be dangerous, high maintainable and costly. A cheap alternative is eternity flameless candles. These led candles which look like real candles but are powered by small coin batteries. They do not melt, so there is not clean-up of molten wax required after every use.

Cheap Lighting Ideas for the Outdoors

Elegant and inexpensive globe solar string lights

There are various ways to illuminate the outdoors on a budget. Solar lighting, the use of reflector lamps, and the use of standard incandescent bulbs are great cheap outdoor lighting options. Solar lighting can be achieved using solar panels, or the more common battery powered light fixtures. Panels are a more complex option but can be bought from hardware stores and even online and they are very easy to maintain. Outdoor solar lighting can easily be bought online at such places as Amazon. There is a whole range of outdoor solar lighting, from decorative outdoor sting lights, outdoor lanterns, tiki torches, to recessed deck lighting. The only disadvantage to using solar lighting is that there may not be enough stored energy during overcast days so the bulb may not be as bright compared to conventional lighting. The light given by solar power can be used as a warm accent to the backyard for short evening parties or barbecues.

Tiki torches are a cheap outdoor lighting idea

Reflector lamps are great alternative of cheap lighting fixtures to solar lamps. These are designed to disperse light beams over a large area, making it perfect light sources for patios and backyards. Bulbs for these lamps are also inexpensive and they offer great color rendition. Another cheap option is low-pressure sodium lighting. This is one of the cheapest types of lighting because it is very energy efficient. Up to 90 percent more efficient than the standard incandescent bulbs, this is suited for outdoor lighting since it can stay on for several hours before heating up.

There are various ways to light a room or a space up using these cheap lighting ideas. Compact fluorescent lamps, solar lights, and other unconventional lighting fixtures can help illuminate the room without costing a fortune. Knowing the right kind of lights and where to place them can help homeowners take advantage of the space they have and the lighting options available to them in order to set the mood of the room without breaking the bank.


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Home Lighting Ideas: From The Living Room To The Bedroom, The Kitchen To The Outdoors


Tiki Torches: Landscape Design Guide

When it comes to landscape lighting ideas and design, outdoor tiki torches provide a simple and inexpensive way of adding light to your garden.  They will create a warm and tropical atmosphere that invites people to enjoy the space in your garden. When it comes to tiki torches there are a few areas to know about that will help make the planning and design of your landscape what you wish it to be.


  • Choosing Between Kerosene or Gas Fueled Tiki Torches
  • What is Citronella Oil
  • Garden Landscaping and The Different Styles of Tiki Torches
  • The Placement of Tiki Torches Around The Garden
  • Tiki Torch Safety
  • Prices of Tiki Torches

Choosing Between Kerosene or Gas Fueled Tiki Torches

The average tiki torch stands at 5 feet and comes as kerosene or gas fueled versions. Both have their advantages and disadvantages.

Kerosene Tiki Torches

The most common outdoor tiki torches are the kerosene-fueled torches, which can easily be found in hardware stores and even large supermarkets. For fuel you will have the choice of kerosene, citronella oil, or the cleanest burning fuel is paraffin oil.

Kerosene torches are generally made of bamboo or the more expensive kinds are made out of aluminum.   They will have a shaft that is used to press into dirt or a bucket of sand to hold it upright. The top part of the torch is usually made out of straw or bamboo that holds the plastic fuel container. Each torch has a metal top that exposes one end of the wick, and the other end is submerged into the plastic bottle. The cord (wick) is lit and it draws fuel from the oil in the plastic bottle.

These can burn for a few hours at a time before you will need to refuel and adjust the wick to expose more of it.

The advantages of kerosene, oil tiki torches are that they are inexpensive, flexible and you do not require any complex installation. You are able to place the tiki torch wherever you like, as you do not require underground gas piping.

Gas Fueled Tiki Torches

Going for gas tiki torches can be a sizable investment. The reason people do so is because of the greater quality in light and lower maintenance.

A gas based tiki torch is fueled by a controllable source, which will allow you to control the flame of the torch. You can make the flame a lot larger and brighter than kerosene or oil tiki torches. The flame will be at a constant height for the duration of the night, whereas a kerosene tiki torch will need attention after a number of hours: refilling and wick extension. You can also light a number of gas tiki torches at the same time from a master control.

The only maintenance needed for gas based tiki torches is that they need to be kept clean of garden debris, leafs, twigs, etc. The added benefits of this type of torch comes from the initial hard work of laying out gas piping under the garden. Trenching will be required, making this a long-term landscape design plan.

What is Citronella Oil

An added benefit of kerosene and oil tiki torches is that you can fuel them with citronella oil. Made from a relative of the lemon grass, citronella oil harvested from citronella grass is a natural insect repellent. This plant based, non-toxic biopesticide burns slowly providing hours of light and insect repellent through the night.

Citronella tiki torches also burn without producing smoke. You will want to place your citronella tiki torches 15 feet apart to provide effective insect repellent.

Garden Landscaping and The Different Styles of Tiki Torches

There is a range of choices when it comes to tiki torches. Choosing among them will be determined by your preference in function (kerosene vs. gas), landscape design style, and budget.

The most common torches used for casual landscape lighting are the simple rattan or bamboo tiki torches. These are inexpensive, simple to use and are easily found online and offline. But these will look out of place in contemporary gardens with outdoor kitchens, wooden or granite patios. There are more modern and high-grade outdoor tiki torches available for these types of gardens.

More modern and permanent torches can be found such as copper tiki torches, brass, aluminum, steel, and glass, and will come as stakes that you can plant into the ground, or will have their own base to stand on.

You can also find tabletop versions, deck torches that can be attached to railings, hanging torches, path torches, wall mounted, and solar tiki torches.

The Placement of Tiki Torches Around The Garden

Kerosene and oil tiki torches can serve a number of functions around the garden. They can be used for ambient lighting, task lighting and accent lighting.

Ambient lighting

Most people will use tiki torches for ambient lighting, placing them around the garden or patio. Depending on the space you are looking to light, the general method is to place the torches 15 feet apart, and 3-4 feet away from chairs or tables.

Task lighting

Task lighting is lighting that helps people do something like walking down a path, finding their car in a driveway. Tiki torches can also be placed around the food area in a garden providing light for people to see the food. When it comes to lighting a path or a driveway with outdoor tiki torches you will want to alternate the sides they are on so not to make your path look like an airport runway.

Accent lighting

Another way of adding light to your landscape is to use accent lighting. Accent lighting is used to highlight a certain area or object in your garden. You can place tiki torches around a swimming pool, above ground deck, or fountain highlighting those areas of your garden.

Tiki Torch Safety

It is important to take precautions when using flame based lighting in gardens.

  • Avoid placing your tiki torches near bushes and low hanging trees.
  • If you have a small garden, trees and bushes need to be kept trimmed
  • Leave ample room between torches and plants, trees, etc.
  • Short wicks on kerosene based torches reduces the chances of flying sparks
  • Look for the taller torches that are out of reach from children

Prices of Tiki Torches

The typical and common rattan and bamboo tiki torches can be found for $5 to $30 at places like Amazon or even local supermarkets. They will come as single torches or in a set. Prices for more modern and permanent fixtures can range from $30 to $100 and even up to $300.

The versatility of outdoor tiki torches provide people with many options when it comes to garden lighting. From inexpensive, flexible options, to more expensive, permanent tiki fixtures. Either way your garden will be transformed into a warm and inviting space to be enjoyed when the sun goes down.


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Using Solar Garden Lights For Landscape Lighting

Solar garden lights use to be quite expensive and would not last long or shine too brightly. But as more and more people are turning to alternative energy sources, the solar power industry has advanced to the point now where solar garden lights are able to capture the suns energy more efficiently, shine brighter, and last longer. They also come in a range of different sizes and styles to fit many different landscaping design needs.

Landscape Lighting Design
Landscape lighting, or outdoor lighting, is important for a number of reasons: it makes the garden more homely at night, is more attractive to potential buyers, and is beneficial for security reasons. If it is done wrong, it can wash out the colors and features of plants and can also cast imposing shadows across the garden. Many people believe that outdoor landscape lighting is complicated and expensive, but it is not, especially if you use outdoor solar garden lights.

The first thing to consider when thinking of a garden lighting plan is to ensure that there is enough outdoor lighting for safety and security.  This includes lighting for steps, driveways and door entrances. Once this is covered, the next step is to look at ambient lighting, or lighting that enhances the feel, look and style of your landscape. When buying light fixtures for the outdoors, it is key to spend wisely. Cheap, low quality solar equipment won’t last long, shine bright enough and will just add stress and costs to your landscape lighting design.

photo by mistercam

Solar Garden Light

Solar Garden Lights
Many people and landscape lighting designers are turning to outdoor solar garden lights as they are:

–       easy to install

–       can be placed anywhere

–       there is no need for timers or need to switch them on or off

–       cost effective (they are cheap to buy, and don’t cost anything to run)

–       eco-friendly

–       come in range of styles and colors that can fit into any garden design


Solar garden lights are made up of low voltage LED lights, which can last a number of years and are commonly powered by a rechargeable NiCad battery.  Each light has a solar panel on the top and a light sensor to know when to switch on and off. Most LED solar garden lights these days can provide up to 10 hours of light.

Types of Solar Garden Lights
The first thing to think about even before looking at decorative solar garden lights, is how you want the garden to feel. A garden can feel more lively and festive by using colorful and decorative lights, or a garden can feel more romantic and relaxed by using rustic orange and white lights.


Ground Stake Solar Lights: These are the more common solar powered garden lights. They are versatile, and easy to install. They come in short and tall sizes. All you need to do is push them firmly into soil and they will stand upright. Uses for garden stake solar lights include ambient lighting and lighting a drive or walkway. To avoid making your path lighting look like a runway, you need to alternate the side of the path you place the lights.

Solar Powered Recessed Lights: For step or deck lighting, you can install recessed stainless steel solar garden lights, lights that are fitted within the steps or the deck. They are mainly used for safety reasons but also make a landscape more aesthetically pleasing.

Hanging Solar Lights: Can be used for pathway and driveway lighting, doorway lighting and outdoor celebration events. You can get them in a range of different styles such as Japanese lanterns or Victorian lamps.

Solar Spot Lights: These are used for accent lighting as they provide a focused point of light.  They can be used as decorative outdoor lighting to highlight the trunk of a tree, a fountain, a statue, a bush of flowers, a pond or other landscape features you want to showcase.

Solar String Lights: Mainly known as Christmas lights, the more modern versions come in a range of different sizes and styles. They work great on decks and patios as it makes the area look like a European café, and can also be used to outline driveways and walking paths.

Solar Outdoor Rope Lights: Rope lights are made up of LED lights that form of a rope. They can be used to wrap around a tree, hung on fences, or outline flowerbeds. They are very versatile and come in a range of colors.

The Sun Jar

The Sun Jar

Sun Jar: The Sun Jar is a designer, decorative solar garden light. They are vintage style jars that light up at night, easily placed anywhere around the garden or on a table.

Motion Detector Solar Lights: These lights are becoming more popular and are being used as security/intruder spotlights. They are usually installed around the garage, or the front and back door.

Floating Solar Lights: These are ideal for placing in a pond and will highlight the area at night.

The placement of your solar powered garden lights is essential. They need to be in areas where they can get a few hours of sunlight a day. You need to make sure that they are not covered up by plants or tall grass, not only because it will block the sunlight, but when the light comes on at night it will then cast unwanted shadows across the garden. You also don’t people to be able to see the light fixtures, so look to hide them behind rocks or big plants.

One other thing to keep in mind is to keep the color of the light consistent. This is a small but important detail, as different light fixtures can give off different shades of light (white, warm orange, cold blue).

The many advantages of outdoor solar garden lights makes landscape lighting easy and non-expensive. Anyone now can design their landscape lighting just how they want their garden to look and feel.

photo by children of the neon god

Garden Lights