Lighting Glossary: What is Layered Lighting?

Posted on May 13, 2016 by Andrea

A phrase you might encounter in the lighting design world is "layered lighting."

Simply put, layered lighting involves the use of multiple lighting types to create a well-lit and balanced space. Think ambient lighting for overall illumination, task lighting for work areas (e.g. countertops or desks), and accent lighting for areas of interest and/or a particular object of interest (such as a piece of artwork).

Below are some of the hottest trends we're seeing in layered lighting.

LED accent lighting is emerging as a preferred method. We've written about LEDs' many benefits, including longer lifespans and increased energy savings. Plus, when you use LEDs, you no longer need to get into crevices or struggle with tiny bulbs.

LED tape lighting is the perfect multi-purpose tool. Use it for…

  • Cove Lighting. Cove lighting is an indirect form of accent lighting, where lighting is added behind ledges, coves, and so forth in order to hide the fixture. The light is then directed across a wall or towards a ceiling to cast a diffused glow. It can create a powerful, dramatic effect.

  • Toe Kick Lighting. Adding lighting to the bottoms of your cabinets, closets, etc. (the "toe kick") adds a fantastic glow that not only looks good, but also helps with safety. Think about trips to the bathroom in the middle of the night: the toe kick lighting can safely point the way without having to turn on an overhead light.

  • Under Sink/Counter Lighting. More and more people are using this application in bathrooms to create the illusion of a floating sink (as seen in our Waltham bathroom installation). Under counter lighting can also add a fun stretch of lighting under a bar.
  • Above cabinet lighting. Above-cabinet lighting adds ambiance. Try it with RGB (color changing) LEDs to add some fun pops of color and to cast a beautiful overall glow.

Some types of LED tape can be wet-listed, making it appropriate for use in bathrooms and outdoors (e.g. porch railings).


Topics: LED

Lighting Design Tips: Simple Makeovers for the Bathroom

Posted on Feb 08, 2016 by Andrea

A bathroom renovation doesn’t have to be a full-on project—changing a few touches can make a big difference. For example, a simple change in lighting can affect the overall feel of the room—for the better.

The lighting design tips and products below offer ideas for simple makeovers to one of the most trafficked rooms in the house: the bathroom. (And if you need more lighting makeover ideas, download our free brochure).

Make bathroom lighting changes to the sink and vanity areas.

Changing your lighting scheme or the lighting fixtures that you're currently using in the sink/vanity area can spruce up your space with minimal investment (in labor and in dollars).

What to keep in mind as you make your selections…

  • Vanity lights are a great way to add light to your sink. Many manufacturers build fixtures that you can mount up or down, depending on the effect you want to achieve. For example, mounting up will bounce light off the ceiling, which helps create a soft glow below. Mounting down will direct light to where you need it most.
  • Sconces mounted on either side of the mirror can also create fantastic light. Pro tip: Place sconces with glare-free glass diffusers ideally 36" apart for even illumination at eye level.
  • Backlit mirrors are another great option. Many manufacturers are emphasizing backlit mirrors or mirrors that implement lighting within the mirror itself. This makes for easy installation.

Add accent lighting to create interesting visual effects and for increased functionality.

In addition to beautifying your space, accent lighting can support your overall lighting efforts.

Ways to use accent lighting:

  • Decorative sconces or pendants can add elegance or ambience (or both) to your bathroom.
  • Under-sink lighting, cove lighting, and toe kick lighting are so much easier to use and install now, thanks to flexible LED tape. Extrusions and lenses will diffuse light and protect the tape from moisture.
  • LED tape can also backlight mirrors, and micro spotlights can pinpoint light on beautiful sinks.

Here are a few of our favorite bathroom lighting products:


Topics: LED, Renovation

Staff Picks: LED Bathroom Fixtures

Posted on Jan 08, 2016 by Andrea

Are you thinking about new LED bathroom fixtures to kick off 2016? Here are some tips for choosing the right LEDs for your space:

  • Pay attention to damp or wet-location listings. These certify that your fixture can withstand your bathroom's wet environment. Keep in mind there's a distinction between fixtures that are made specifically for steam showers/saunas and those that are made for your typical shower setup.
  • Understand what the Lighting Facts label is telling you. This is a summary of a light's performance data. Sponsored by the Department of Energy, the label resembles the nutrition facts label you see on food packaging. Its goal is to protect consumers from exaggerated claims, ensuring a satisfactory buying experience.
  • Pay attention to Kelvin temperature (K). A temperature of 2700K provides a warm light while 3000K provides a brighter, whiter (resembling halogen) light source. Another important note: different LED bulbs may have the same Kelvin temperature listed on the box, but Kelvin temperature can vary from one manufacturer to another.
  • Look at the Color Rendering Index (CRI). CRI is the measurement of how well a light source presents colors of materials, surfaces, and objects authentically. A CRI of 90+ will beautifully highlight your paint colors and even skin tone.
  • Review the warranty. What does the warranty cover? Who is the manufacturer? How long is the warranty? (It should be at least five years.) And if the warranty is for five-plus years, how likely will the manufacturer/supplier still be in business? It's important to consider where you're buying your products.
  • Confirm that the fixture is UL or ETL listed. UL stands for Underwriters Laboratories, Inc. and ETL is a mark for Intertek Testing Services. Essentially, these certifications assure you that the fixture and bulb have gone through rigorous testing. Consider it a seal of approval. Note: most electricians will not install non-listed fixtures. 

And below, you'll find some of our staff's favorite LED bathroom lighting fixtures.


Topics: LED

LED Lighting: See It, Touch It, Take It Home!

Posted on Dec 18, 2015 by Kate

LED Lighting: See It, Touch It, Take It Home!

There are so many good reasons to embrace LED technology. For example, today’s LED bulbs can be six to seven times more energy efficient than conventional incandescent lights and cut energy use by more than 80 percent.

This month, we're ALL about LEDs in our "See it, touch it, take it home" promotion. Below are just some of the featured selections you can expect to see when you stop by one of our lighting showrooms.

  1. SlimSurface LED Downlight from Philips Lightolier. Philips is a brand name that's synonymous with quality lighting. Its SlimSurface LED Downlight can work in a variety of situations where recessed would not be cost effective or even possible.


This versatile LED mounts directly to a junction box, is 5/8” thick, and looks like a recessed light. Use it for a wide variety if indoor/outdoor applications, including kitchens, bathrooms, offices, and more...

Fantastic Benefits:

  • The thinnest available solution with an integral driver for existing J-Boxes or new construction
  • Surface mounting fits any ceiling and solves the problem of limited plenum space
  • Easy to install on standard j-boxes
  • Architecturally pleasing due to its narrow profile
  • Provides an affordable alternative to Air-Seal IC recessed housings or Fire-Rated boxes
  • Choice of design with square and round apertures
  • Glare controlling lens for comfortable light distribution
  • Wet location listing allows for use in showers and bathrooms

Topics: LED

Need LED Bathroom Lighting Tips? Download our Newest Guide!

Posted on Nov 20, 2015 by Andrea

Over the last year, we've released a couple of guides to help you understand the ins and outs of LED technology as well as tips for lighting your kitchen.

We're thrilled to announce the release of, the perfect accompaniment to the other two. You'll find plenty of LED bathroom lighting tips and more.

Like all of our guides, it's free to download. Click here or on the cover to get the guide.



Topics: LED

Wondering if You Should Retrofit with LED Lights?

Posted on Nov 13, 2015 by admin

There are many Retrofit LED Lights available now.

More and more people are making the move to LEDs, and for good reason. After all, LED technology offers numerous benefits:

  • LEDs last longer than incandescent, halogen, and CFL light bulbs.
  • LEDs produce much less heat than the standard light sources in the marketplace.
  • LEDs offer much more versatility in design, thanks to their small size and color temperature options.
  • LEDs are far more efficient, saving on energy costs.
  • Gas and electric utilities in Massachusetts offer rebates and incentives on certain LED bulbs and fixtures, offsetting the higher price in comparison to incandescent.

In fact, according to, "Today’s LED bulbs can be six to seven times more energy efficient than conventional incandescent lights and cut energy use by more than 80 percent." And this: "Switching entirely to LED lights over the next two decades could save the U.S. $250 billion in energy costs, reduce electricity consumption for lighting by nearly 50 percent, and avoid 1,800 million metric tons of carbon emissions."

But what happens if you want to take advantage of all this LED goodness, but you can’t afford to replace all your fixtures? What should you do?”

Good news! You can often retrofit LED lights into many existing fixtures. Here are the pros and cons to keep in mind…


Topics: LED

LED Lighting Products: Your Qs Answered at our Breakfast Seminar

Posted on Sep 02, 2015 by Andrea

In conjunction with the Builders and Remodelers Association of Greater Boston (BRAGB), we're thrilled to host a seminar on LED lighting products as part of BRAGB's "Breakfast with the Expert" series.


 Here's the 411:

  • Topic: What Should I Look for When Purchasing LED?
  • When: Wednesday, September 9, 2015 from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.
  • Where: Our Waltham lighting showroom (1339 Main Street)
  • Who: Susan Arnold, Wolfers Lighting consultant with more than 22 years of experience, will lead the breakfast seminar.
  • How: Space is limited! Please register here to reserve your spot.

At Wolfers, our lighting consultants love working with everyone—answering questions, teaching them about the complex world of LEDs, and providing lighting tips. Our team members have a passion for lighting, and it shows in every conversation they have and seminar they present.

Susan, in particular, loves working with our customers. Here she is in her own words…it's a sneak peek of what you can expect from the breakfast seminar.


Topics: LED

Outdoor Lighting Fixtures: Think Modern Forms

Posted on Aug 20, 2015 by Andrea

Have you noticed it's starting to get darker earlier? (Sigh.) And so it goes, along with the waning days of summer.

That said, we're not ready to pack it in for the year just yet. In fact, there's still plenty of porch-and-patio time to experience straight through October, provided you have good outdoor lighting for those late afternoons and evenings you spend lingering in the great outdoors.

Of course, good outdoor lighting is important year-round. It can…

  • Provide added safety—think lighted walkways and stairs
  • Offer added security—think lights that work on a timer or that have sensors
  • Dress up the exterior of your home (i.e. "curb appeal")
  • Produce the right ambiance for outdoor events and special occasions, such as BBQs, birthday parties, romantic dinners on the backyard deck, and so forth
  • Allow you to bring your unique design aesthetic and POV to the outside of your home
  • Create added effects for things like pools and fountains

Now is a great time to think about your outdoor lighting fixtures, meaning your wall lights, pole mounted lights, and outdoor pendants, which serve as the “jewelry of the home."

Below, you'll find several of our favorites from one of the leaders in the industry: Modern Forms. These LED fixtures are fantastic modern pieces that add glamour and are easy to use/install. 


Topics: LED, Outdoor Lighting

Everything You Need to Know about LED Lighting

Posted on Apr 10, 2015 by Andrea

To celebrate Boston Design Week 2015, we held a home lighting seminar on March 24. The topic? LED lighting


Wolfers' own Susan Arnold demonstrates new trends in LED at our Home Lighting Seminar.

Because LED is an emerging technology, there is a lot of information—and misinformation—out there. Our seminar helped bust some of the LED myths, highlight the benefits of LEDs, and provide helpful insights when shopping for LED bulbs and fixtures. We answered a wide variety of questions, including the following:


How does LED differ from incandescent and halogen light sources?

Answer: Incandescent and halogen bulbs have delicate filaments that are sensitive to vibration and contact, making these lamps less durable than LEDs. Incandescent/halogen sources typically have shorter lifespans (1-3 years) than LED. LED life spans range from 25,000+ hours.


Why is it important to understand color temperature and dimming of LEDs?

Answer: Color temperature can create the palette for your room. A lower color temperature on the Kelvin scale produces a softer feel, ideal for environments with a warmer palette. Moving higher on the Kelvin scale (3000 Kelvin lamps and fixtures) can impart a more halogen-like color. Retail and commercial spaces often utilize 3500+ Kelvin temperatures.


Topics: LED

Spotlight on Philips LED Lighting Products

Posted on Mar 20, 2015 by Andrea


Philips is a brand name that's synonymous with quality lighting. Founded in 1891 in the Netherlands, Philips quickly became the largest producer of light bulbs in the world.

Today, Philips continues to innovate by leading the way in digital lighting technologies. The company says on its website, "We are enhancing people's lives with light by delivering innovative and energy efficient solutions to consumers and professional customers, every day, everywhere."

Of course, one can't talk about energy efficient lighting solutions without talking about LEDs (light-emitting diodes).

 LEDs emit more lumens per watt than incandescent light bulbs, and the size and shape of the LED light fixture doesn't affect its efficiency. In addition to energy efficiency, there are many other reasons to make the switch to LEDs, including the fact that well-made LEDs are more durable, longer lasting, and provide more versatility (not to mention northeast energy supplier Eversource offers incentives and rebates to encourage the use of LEDs). Wolfers has invested in lighting labs in both of our showrooms that cater to educating consumers on LEDs: how they work, how they look, and what your options are.


Topics: LED