Indoor and Outdoor Home Lighting, Light Fixtures, Ceiling Fans and Lamps

Listed below you will find our main product categories in alphabetical order. Click a category to see a complete list of items it contains.

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Basic Tips

Decide what to light by analyzing the space in terms of:

Function What activities will the space be used for?

Style Contemporary? Traditional? Eclectic?

Tasks What jobs are to be done in the space?

Special Objects What do you most want people to see?

Seating Areas Where will people sit?

Mood What atmosphere is desired?

Architectural Features What points are to be emphasized?

Once you've thought about what type of lighting effects you would like to create for a particular room, you will need to find the right assortment of lighting products to create that effect. top of page

About Us

We have teamed up with one of the largest Internet lighting suppliers to help you select the perfect light, lamp, fixture, ceiling fan medallion or electrical lighting accessory for your specific project and budget. Whether it's a simple purchase, such as replacing a desk lamp or upgrading your lamp shade, to major projects, such as installing track type lighting and landscape lighting, we have high-quality suggestions for your specific application -- all at an affordable price with superb after-sale customer support.

Glossary of Lighting Terms You May Find Useful

- A -

A Lamps
The most common incandescent household lamp; a standard general service lamp.

Accent Lighting
Localized and directional lighting used to highlight, focus attention or dramatize a room or outdoor space. As part of a decorating scheme, it is used to spotlight paintings, houseplants and other possessions, or to highlight the texture of a wall, drapery or outside landscaping. Accent lighting requires at least three times as much light on the focal point as the general lighting around it.

ADA Wall Brackets
Wall-mounted fixtures that extend less than 4” from the wall comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act and are usually called ADA brackets.

Adjustables are accent lights that can be aimed. The professional term is “adjustable accent light.” In practice, most of the fixtures used for accent lighting are adjustable in some fashion.

Aiming Angle
How you point or direct an adjustable light. The aiming angle is calculated from vertical or nadir. An aiming angle of 30 degrees is effective for paintings and/or sculptures.

Shades can be made of either alabaster stone or alabaster glass. Alabaster stone is much like marble in that it is quarried, cut and made into shades and bowls. It creates a warm, rich look, with each piece being completely unique. Stone is very expensive, however, so many lighting pieces recreate the look with more affordable alabaster glass.

The trade name used for a method of anodizing. Now a generic term for brightened, anodized aluminum.

Alternating Current (AC)
Flow of electricity which cycles or alternates direction many times per second. The number of cycles is referred to as frequency. Most common frequency used in this country is 60 Hertz (cycles per second).

A pure metal, aluminum can be shaped and finished easily. It can be dyed to a brass-like finish, but without the depth and luster of real brass. Aluminum is usually sealed through painting or anodizing to avoid oxidation.

Ambient Lighting
Also known as general lighting, ambient lighting provides an area with overall, non-specific illumination. Ambient lighting radiates a comfortable level of brightness, enabling one to see and walk about safely. It can be accomplished with chandeliers, ceiling or wall-mounted fixtures, recessed or track lighting or with outdoor fixtures. A basic form of lighting that replaces sunlight, ambient lighting is fundamental to lighting a home.

Amperes / amps
The unit of measurement of electrical current.

Antique Finish
A finish that simulates aging, often accomplished by wiping dark pigment across a metal or wooden part.

Opening of a fixture through which light exists.

Architectural Lighting
This broad term generally refers to built-in fixtures, such as downlighting, valance lighting or a luminous ceiling. Some people also include functional lighting, such as track or simple fluorescent, which has an architectural appearance.

Inert gas used in incandescent and fluorescent lamps. In incandescents, argon helps retard the evaporation of the tungsten filament.

Art Deco
A mainstream design style that reached its heyday in the 1920s. Typified by streamlined design shapes, geometric patterns, bold outlines and the artistic use of industrial materials, such as stainless steel, plastic and pressed glass.

Art Nouveau
A decorative art movement that emerged in the late nineteenth century. Characterized by dense asymmetrical ornamentation in sinuous forms.

Average Rated Life
The number of hours required for half of a large group of lamps to fail or burn out. The actual life of any lamp or small group of lamps will typically be different from the average rated life.

- B -

Part of the fixture that blocks light to prevent glare and control brightness. Baffles may be integral blades, plates or grooves or an accessory. Baffles are often painted black to absorb light.

Electrical or electronic component required for fluorescent (and HID) lamps. Ballasts provide enough voltage to start the lamp and then limit the current for continuing operation.

Banker Lamp
A desk or table lamp, usually in a traditional style, that has a rectangular cased glass or metal shade. So-called because they were common fixtures in banks in the first half of the 20th century.

The end of the lamp that inserts into a lamp socket. The end or ends of a lamp that makes electrical and mounting connections.

Bath or vanity lighting refers to fixtures used to light the mirror in a bathroom. A bath strip is a long fixture that mounts along the top or sides of the mirror. Also see “bathbar lighting.”

Bathbar Lighting
These fixtures supply task lighting, while supplementing the general lighting provided by ceiling fixtures. Similar to lighting in theater dressing rooms, these softly glowing lights are most often arranged in a row / bar fashion to provide excellent lighting for shaving and grooming.

Beveled Glass
Clear glass, often with a high lead content, with edges that are cut on an angle to add depth and glitter.

Move the airflow in a ceiling or desktop fan. Blades are made of plywood, laminated woods or plastic.

Blade Holders
Irons that hold a ceiling fan’s blades.

Blade Pitch
Angle of the blade iron or blade holder on a ceiling fan. Fans with a higher degree of blade pitch will move more air.

Blown Glass
Hand blown glass is created by artisans who blow air into a molten balloon of glass. The artisan’s skill determines the shape and texture of the finished piece.

The saucer at the base of a candle originally designed to catch the molten wax drippings of the candle. Used on chandeliers, sconces, etc.

Lights mounted on short, heavy piers or posts. They are used mostly for larger residences and campus settings.

Bound Glass
Glass elements held together by metal strips, typically brass or copper; includes Leaded Glass, which has a heavier look.

An alloy of zinc and copper, brass forms and polishes easily. Solid brass means the fixture is made entirely of brass, rather than a brass-plated material.

Harder than brass, bronze is used for its durability, especially in high-grade outdoor lighting.

Brushed Finish
Satin or lightly textured finish, usually on metal, produced by brushing with a wire wheel or buffing with a fine abrasive.

Built-In Lighting
Built-in lighting generally refers to lighting equipment mounted into coves and cornices, behind valences, or integrated into furnituire and bookcases.

The everyday term for an incandescent lamp. Also refers to the outer glass envelope of the lamp.

- C -

Multiple wires arranged in a common covering of insulating plastic or other materials, used as an electrical conductor.

Cased Glass
Glass consisting of a layer of clear glass fused to a layer of opal or other tinted glass. Cased glass transmits light more efficiently than opal, with more luster and better diffusion. Cased glass can be blown or molded.

Candlea (cd)
The unit of measurement of luminous intensity of a light source in a given direction.

Luminous intensity of a particular light source expressed in candlea.

Candlestick Lamp
A fixture that has a tall, slim column, taken after traditional candlestick lighting. Also known as a console lamp.

Fixture part that covers an outlet box.

Another term for recessed downlights.

Pouring or forcing metal or glass into a prepared mold or any part manufactured in this manner.

Ceiling Fixtures
Provide general lighting. They are practical in busy areas such as foyers, hallways, bedrooms, kitchens, baths, laundry rooms and dens. They are available with incandescent, fluorescent and energy-efficient compact fluorescent bulbs.

Ceiling Fans
Ceiling fans consist of (from top to bottom) a canopy with hanger ball, a down rod, the motor, blades, and light kit.

Chain Pliers
Tool with jaws that open as you squeeze the handles together. Used to pry open links of chain to change the suspension height of a chandelier or other fixture.

General lighting fixtures that can provide sparkle and style to rooms and entryways. They are also used in bedrooms, foyers, over a living room furniture grouping, or over a piano. Some are designed with downlights or use shades to provide task lighting for homework, reading or cooking. Chandeliers are available in both incandescent and tungsten-halogen models. The addition of a dimmer control allows you to alter the intensity of the light to suit your mood or time of day.

In dimming controls, a group of fixtures that are operated together, generally of the same type or for the same function.

A blown glass tube of various shapes placed around flame to protect it against wind. In today’s usage, it is for ornamentation and light diffusion.

Chrome takes a high, lustrous finish. A softly brushed chrome finish simulates stainless steel, but without the durability and depth.

Wiring path for electricity, including conductors, load and circuit protection.

Circuit Breaker
Resettable safety device to prevent current flow or prevent excess current flow.

Piece that is used to clip a shade onto a light bulb.

Colonial Style
Reminiscent of pre-revolutionary America, this style emphasizes clean, simple lines, though it may also refer to a more ornate style which relies on curving lines and scroll work.

Color Temperature
The appearance of white light in terms of warmth or coolness.

Compact Downlight
Small recessed incandescent fixtures generally five inches deep.

Compact Fluorescent
A small fluorescent lamp that is often used as an alternative to incandescent lighting. The lamp life is about ten times longer than incandescent lamps and is 3 to 4 times brighter. Also referred to as PLI DL, CFL or BIAX lamps.

Contemporary Style
Lighting derived from the industrial styling of Modernism, blending function and form. Brushed metal surfaces, the use of plastic materials, sleek, streamlined forms, and geometrically shaped glass shades and bowls predominate.

A soft, pure metal, usually used for accent detailing. It oxidizes to a distinctive green color when exposed to the air.

Cove Lighting
Light built into a cove, a shelf or ledge at the upper part of a wall, to illuminate the ceiling. Typically fluorescent, cold cathode or low voltage strip.

Crystal Glass
Fine quality transparent glass. May be used in table lamps, chandeliers and floor lamps in a variety of styles and cuts. See also Lead Crystal.

Cylinder Downlights
Outdoor fixture, which can be mounted to a wall or an overhang to aim light directly on paths and porches.

- D -

Damp Location
UL listing for fixtures used in a moist unexposed area, such as a bathroom or porch area.

Deck Lights
Deck lights typically mount to the outside of a home or to the railing of a wooden deck. Since they are located near where people sit, good shielding and proper mounting height are important to reduce glare.

Decorative Bulbs (D)
General service bulbs available in a variety of wattages and shapes. Decorative bulbs include flame, teardrop and candelabra shapes, among many others.

Decorative Fixtures
Decorative fixtures help establish the tone and style of a room. Decorative fixtures are meant to be seen, which means their brightness should be kept low enough to avoid glare.

Dichroic Coating
Film that reflects visible light and transmits infrared light. Reflector lamps with dichroic coatings, such as most MR16s provide a cooler beam because most of the heat goes out the back. Dichroic PAR lamps are often called “cool beam.”

Die Casting
Casting in a reusable mold (the die). Die-casting are generally precisely manufactured parts requiring a high initial investment in the die.

Light control device that spreads light by scattering it. Opal glass and plastic, etched glass, fabric and paper shades act as diffusers.

Control that varies the output of the light source by reducing the voltage or current to the lamp.

Direct Lighting
Lighting that casts all, or at least 90%, of its light downward. The term can also refer to the distribution of light or the fixtures that produce this type of lighting. With intense beams, direct lighting is very dramatic, rendering forms and textures well. Typical fixtures include recessed lights, track lights, some pendant lights and task lights.

Direct-Indirect Lighting
Light comes from up and down. This light is well balanced and pleasing. Light that is predominately direct is also called”semi-direct.” Typical fixtures include most pendant lights, wall brackets and wall valances. Uses include task/ambient lighting over tables and in hallways.

Downlights usually refer to recessed downlights. However, some designers use the term to describe any fixture aiming straight down.

Direct Mounted
Direct-mounted fixtures are typically bowls that are fastened to a ceiling holder. Most use diffusers of glass or acrylic. Beveled glass is also popular. These fixtures work best for low to moderate light levels.

Dual Mounting System
On ceiling fan units. This system enables you to mount a fan on a down-rod or flush to the ceiling.

- E -

Eclectic Design
A style of interior decorating that mixes different styles and period of lighting and furniture.

Entry Lights
Lights at the entry of a home that help guide visitors and provide security. These pieces can also be used to light breezeways.

ER Lamp
Ellipsoidal reflector lamp is a soft glass lamp that focuses the beam about two inches in front of the bulb. It is designed to improve the efficiency of deep baffle recessed downlights, but is often misused in residential applications, where it may stick down from the fixture.

Etched Glass
Glass treated by an acid bath, producing a satiny, diffused surface or design.

Extended Life Lamp
Incandescent lamp with 2500+ hours of rated average life and reduced output; uses a stronger filament.

A recessed, adjustable accent light that protrudes slightly below the ceiling.

Extension Pole
Used to adapt a fan to high ceilings, lowering the fan from the ceiling.

Piece used to make height adjustments for the shade on the harp.

- F -

Side of a prism, seen most often in crystal glass chandeliers and other wall fixtures.

Fan Blade Screws
On a ceiling fan, screws that hold the blade irons to the blades.

Faux Stone
Plaster and other material can be molded and textured or finished to look like real stone. Genuine stone is usually too heavy for the body of a light fixture, but is popular for the bases of portable lamps, where weight is an advantage.

Figure Lamps
A staple of Art Deco design and lighting. From this period most figure lamps portray a female figure, often holding a globe shade. Victorian figure lamps often involve cherubs or young maidens. Animal and Cartoon figures in children’s lighting are more modern examples.

The tightly coiled tungsten wire of an incandescent lamp; glows to produce light when electricity flows through it.

Fill Gas
In incandescent lamps, usually argon or krypton with trace nitrogen. In fluorescent lamps may be argon. Halogen is used in halogen incandescent lamps.

Screws in the top of the harp to keep a shade secure on a lamp, and also serves a decorative purpose.

Part of a fixture that accepts a glass or plastic globe. The diameter of the fitter determines the size of the neck or opening in the globe.

Fixture Types
Fixtures are described by their mounting and lighting qualities. Types include chandeliers and lanterns, diffusing and shaded pendants, wall-mounted lighting, close-to-ceiling fixtures, outdoor fixtures, portables and ceiling fans.

The wide distribution of a reflectorized lamp, abbreviated FL. Also a fixture with a widespread light throw.

Floodlights create a widespread distribution of light, perfect for illuminating a wall, sign or large object. A floodlight should be well shielded with an accessory louver or shield to avoid stray light and glare. You can also use
plants to block unwanted light.

Fluorescent Lamps
Lamps which operate by creating an electric arc inside a gas-filled tube. The color of the light is determined by the type of phosphor coating used in the lamp.

Fluorescent Troffers
Recessed fluorescent fixtures for 2 foot and 4 foot lamps, generally in modular sizes; used commercially.

A type of ceiling fan that mounts directly to a junction box, and do not have a down-rod to maintain maximum clearance from the floor.

Unit of illuminance (light falling on a surface). One lumen falling on one square foot equals one-foot candle. Also, a measurement of the amount of light reaching a subject.

Flame-In Kit
Part of a recessed downlight connected to the electrical circuit and generally installed when the ceiling is open. The electrified mounting form or housing which supports the optical assembly of a recessed fixture. Frame-In Kits are of various types according to the nature of the construction and the lamp.

Framing Projector
Fixture with lens and shutters, creating an adjustable, sharp-edged beam to outline pictures and other objects.

French Country
The French country style relies on the warm tones of the Provencal countryside, golden yellows, pure blues and deep reds. Lamp materials can be in wrought iron or antique finishes and the rooster theme is seen frequently.

- G -

G Lamp
Globe-shaped incandescent, generally for exposed use.

General Lighting
Also known as ambient lighting, general lighting provides an area with overall, non-specific illumination. General lighting radiates a comfortable level of brightness, enabling one to see and walk about safely. It can be accomplished with chandeliers, ceiling or wall-mounted fixtures, recessed or track lighting or with outdoor fixtures. A basic form of lighting that replaces sunlight, general lighting is fundamental to lighting a home.

General Diffuse Lighting
General illumination from light cast evenly in all directions. Typical fixtures include pendant globes, chandeliers, and some table lamps.

General Service (A) Bulbs
General service bulbs are inexpensive and are readily available in a variety of wattages and shapes. They produce a yellowish white light that is emitted in all directions. Available in either clear or frosted versions.

Gimbal Lighting
An adjustable ring that holds the PAR or MR lamp by its rim. A gimbal ring track fixture has no housing.

Bright lighting that causes discomfort and impairs good visibility. Possible causes may be light sources that are too bright for the application, or fixtures that may not conceal bulbs sufficiently, among many others.

Grazing Light
Directional light at an acute angle, which emphasized texture. The sources of grazing light must be close to the surface. See also Wall Grazing.

On a ceiling fan, the lower part of the housing, which has many different designs.

Connecting electrical components to earth for safety.

- H -

Hall / Foyer Fixtures
Can create a welcoming atmosphere, while providing you with general ambient lighting. Use ceiling, chain-hung or close to ceiling flush-mount fixtures for lighting in hallways, stairways and entrance halls.

Halogen Lamp
Incandescent lamp with halogen gas fill and a quartz glass capsule. The quartz capsule requires a separate glass shield or enclosure. Due to the halogen cycle, halogen lamps operate at higher internal temperatures, producing more lumens per watt and brighter light than ordinary incandescent; lamp life is also extended. Halogen lamps include A, MB, T, PAR and MR types.

Hammered Glass
Glass seen most commonly on outdoor fixtures that has a rippled, pitted “hammered” antique look.

Hand-Blown Glass
Individually produced glass made by artisans who blow molten glass into different decorative shapes.

Used to attach a shade onto a lamp.

A shade that is lined with plastic.

Heat Ratings
Like recessed downlights, surface mounted fixtures must pass heat tests to assure they do not affect combustible ceiling materials. This limits the maximum wattage in these fixtures, and sometimes necessitates the installation of high-temperature wiring. Always follow the labeled lamping; never use higher wattages or different lamps.

A threaded pipe coupling with a side opening used in wiring a luminarie and for attaching a fixture to an outlet box.

Main body of a ceiling fan that connects the motor and other components.

On a ceiling fan, another name for “Switch Housing.”

Hub Cap
Lower part of the switch housing on a ceiling fan hub. On some fans this part is removable.

Hurricane Lamp
A lamp having a distinctive globe glass housing for its bulb. Patterned after 19th century oil and candlestick lamps.

- I -

IC Fixture
Insulated Ceiling Fixture. Recessed downlight suitable for direct burial in thermal insulation. Called type IC.

In-Ground Uplights
These outdoor accent lights provide maximum concealment because the source is recessed into the ground. Both line and low voltage sources are available.

Light produced by heating material so it glows. Incandescent filament lamps, candle flames and glowing coals are all examples.

Incandescent Lamp
Produces light with a wire filament, which create light as it is heated by electric current.

Indirect Lighting
Lighting that directs all or most light upward for ambient or general illumination; comfortable illumination with few shadows. Typical fixtures include uplight cans, fluorescent lighting aimed up, track lights aimed up and torchieres.

Inside Frosted Lamp
Incandescent A lamp with a light etching or sprayed on diffusing coating on the inside of the bulb. Designated as IF.

Insulated Ceiling Fixture
Recessed down-lighting suitable for direct burial in ceiling thermal insulation. Called Type IC.

Integrated Dimming Systems
A dimming switch that allows you to create multiple preset lighting scenes within a room. Scenes can be recalled at the touch of a button from a single wall box or with a hand held remote control.

On ceiling fans, a two-wire computerized system with wall control convenience that gives independent control of lights and fan. It has a silent multi-speed operation for the fan and provides variable light intensity.

IR Lamp
Infrared-Reflecting Halogen Lamp. A special interior coating redirects infrared energy onto the filament, which increases output without added power.

A strong metal, iron imparts a natural quality to a lighting fixture. Wrought Iron is heated and hammered into shape, and can be formed into pleasingly fluid forms.

- J -

Plug-in stem used in low voltage fixtures.

Junction Box
Enclosure that protects spliced wires and supports surface fixtures, such as wall fixtures or ceiling fans. Also called an outlet box.

- K -

Scientific unit of temperature. Color temperature is measured on the Kelvin scale.

Kilowatt Hour
KWH. A unit of measurement for electrical energy. One kilowatt hour equals 1000 watts of energy used for one hour.

- L -

Clear coating that protects metal fixtures from rusting or tarnishing. May be tinted in various colors by adding colored dye.

A portable lamp consists of a (from bottom to top) a stand, a base, a mount through which the electrical wiring travels, a neck, a socket to hold the bulb, a lamp shade, a harp that connects the top of the shade to the socket, and a decorative finial that holds the harp in place.

Lamp Holder
Socket inside a housing, which holds the lamp in place and connects it to the electrical source.

Equipping a fixture with a lamp.

Unlike chandeliers which are oriented radially, lanterns hang vertically, often with several tiers. Modern pendant lanterns use hanging glass panels or glass rods, often with beveled edges to reflect the light.

Lead Crystal
Fine quality glass having a high content of lead oxide.

Leaded Glass
Small pieces of glass joined at the edges with metal, traditionally lead.

Light Emitting Diode. A small, solid state device used to indicate dimmer or control status; also used in signs and control units.

Lighting Controls
Devices which give you flexibility, decorative effects and multiple uses from your lighting sources. Today’s sophisticated dimming systems enable you to lower the light level to conserve energy and increase bulb life; vary the mood of a room; alter light source intensity; create lighting scene in each room. Types of controls include integrated dimming systems, touch dimmers, slide dimmers and rotary dimmers.

Light Distribution
Pattern of light produced by a fixture, or created in a room.

Light Sources
The performance of any light fixture depends on the light source, or bulb, that’s used. Different sources produce different effects.

Line Voltage Systems
120 volt distribution is used mostly for lighting mounted to the outside of a house or for post-top lanterns along a drive or path. Line voltage landscape lighting can provide more light and handle greater distances than low voltage systems, but the installation is less flexible and more costly.

Low Voltage Fixtures
Recessed track, task, decorative or landscape fixtures for low voltage lamps. A transformer is required for these fixtures and may by integrated, local or remote.

Low Voltage Housing
Recessed housing with an integral, or occasionally, remote transformer.

Low Voltage Lamps
Incandescent lamps that operate at 6, 12 or 24 volts. Low voltage lamps require a step-down transformer to reduce the voltage from the normal household 120 volts.

Low Voltage Lighting System
A type of lighting that operates on 12-volt current rather than the standard 120 volts. Power is supplied by a transformer, which is itself connected to 120-volt power.

Low Voltage Trim
Either a reflector trim with an integral transformer, which installs in a standard housing, or the dedicated trim to a low voltage housing.

Low Voltage Track
Track powered at low voltage by a step-down transformer, which installs in a standard housing; or the dedicated trim to low voltage housing.

The amount of light that a bulb produces. Unit of output; technically “Luminous flux.”

- M -

Machine Blown Glass
Glass shaped by mechanically forcing air into molten glass so that it takes the shape of a mold.

Matte Finish
Lamp or fixture surface finish producing a diffuse, lightly textured dull reflection.

Mission Style
Along with the Arts And Crafts movement, Mission style became popular at the turn of the 20th century. The emphasis is on simplicity, straight lines, geometric shapes and handcrafted pieces. Ornamentation may be from wrought iron, brass and woods, especially oak.

Mogul Base
Base used on high-wattage incandescent and HID lamps.

Motion Detector
Control that uses passive infrared or ultrasonic detection to sense whether someone is present or not, and to turn a light on or off appropriately. Commonly used in outdoor flood or spot fixtures. “Automatic On” sensors turn lights on when presence; “Manual On” sensors require you to press a switch. Both types turn lights off automatically when they no longer sense a presence.

Motor Screw
In a ceiling fan, screws that hold the fan blades and flywheel.

MR Lamp
Multi-facet reflector lamp, of which the most popular is MR16. MR lamps surround a halogen capsule with a computer-designed glass, or metal reflector with many surfaces or facets. These compact lamps require a glass cover, either integral or with the fixture.

- N -

National Electrical Code
Sets out standards for wiring and electrical devices. The NEC requirements are widely followed by local jurisdictions.

National Electrical Manufacturers Association. Includes lamp, electrical device and larger fixture manufacturers. NEMA develops consensus ratings and designations for various products.

Neon Lamp
Low pressure arc discharge lamps that operate at high voltage. Used for decoration and signage purposes.

A system of dimming controls that are wired and programmed to respond together, usually to link controls in several rooms.

Nominal Watts
The power rating of lamps, as published by lamp manufacturers.

- O -

Opal Glass
Milky, translucent glass produced by adding ingredients to clear glass. Used for diffusing light.

Oriental Style
Classic lighting is the popular paper lantern or shade style. Chinese and Japanese motifs may also be used to decorate table and floor lamps.

Outdoor Lighting
Any hard wired, low-voltage or solar powered lighting system that is used in an exterior space. Outdoor lighting can enhance the beauty of your home, making it safer and more secure. Outdoor lighting typically is an investment that pays off in the value it adds to a home.

Outlet Box
Also Junction Box. Enclosure that protects spliced wires and supports surface fixtures.

Over Voltage
Incandescent lamps experience shortened lamp life when operated above their rated voltage.

- P -

Parabolic Reflector Bulbs (PAR)
Bulbs used to control the level of light more precisely. They provide about four times the light of General Service (A) bulbs and are used in recessed and track lighting. Weatherproof casings make them suitable for outdoor spot and flood lighting fixtures.

PAR Lamps
Parabolic Aluminized Reflector Lamp. Constructed of hard glass with a separate back reflector and front legs that are fused together. PAR lamps may be line or low voltage and can be used unprotected outdoors.

Pavers are luminous elements mounted in the ground of a patio or pathway. They act like lighted paving stones, marking a path. Some pavers are designed to replace individual bricks, others are imbedded in concrete.

Pendant Lights
Pendants can provide both general and task lighting. With shades or globes to avoid glare, they can be suspended from the ceiling over dinette table, kitchen counters or work areas. When used over end or night tables they free up space normally occupied by table lamps. The addition of a dimmer control allows you to alter the intensity of the light to suit your mood or time of day.

Pendant Mounted
Pendant mount on a chain, stem, cable or wire, and hand down into space. The word also refers to a style of hanging fixture with a single, central luminous element (like a cone, globe or dish), distinguished from a chandelier, which typically has several arms or luminous elements.

Light-sensitive device used to operate fixtures according to available daylight. They are used in solar lighting and to turn outdoor or security lights on and off at dusk and dawn.

Recessed downlight that includes a faceplate with a small aperture used for inconspicuous accent lights.

The space between the ceiling and the floor or roof above.

Portable Lamps
Portables, typically table or floor lamps, include a cord and plug. They are distinguished from fixtures, which are permanently fastened and electrified. Portables include table lamps, floor lamps and torchieres. Small specialty lamps, such as clip-on lights, can lights, adjustable task lights, desk and piano lights also classify as portable lamps.

Post-Top Fixtures
Outdoor fixtures used to mark the entrance to a property, define a driveway or light a garden pathway.

Power Feed
The connection point that brings electricity to track and other lighting systems. Power feed may be at the end, floating or at a wiring intersection.

Refractor of transparent glass or plastic, with three or more straight sides. Light entering one side of the prism bends and exits the other side.

Pull-Down Fixture
Recessed downlight with a retractable lamp-holder/housing (usually a round-back cylinder or bullet) that pulls down from the ceiling at angles up to 90 degrees from vertical.

- Q -

Quad-Tube Lamp
Single-ended compact fluorescent lamp consisting of two twin tubes on a single base.

Quartz Lamp
Or quartz halogen. Term derives from the quartz glass that encloses the filament and halogen gas. Quartz glass can withstand the high pressure of the halogen lamp, but it transmits more UV radiation than ordinary hard glass. Touching the quartz glass with bare hands leaves an oily residue that greatly reduces lamp life.

- R -

R Lamp
Reflector Lamp. Soft-glass reflectorized lamp with a generally smooth light distribution.

Rated Lamp Life
The point in hours where 50% of a lamp type initially started will still be functioning.

Recessed Fixture
A fixture mounted in the ceiling. With downlights, only the aperture and trim are visible from below. With fluorescent troffers and luminous ceilings, only the light shield is visible. Recessed fixtures provide direct downlighting and are highly effective used as wall washers, to accent painting, or to highlight architectural or home décor points of interest.

Recessed Lighting
Recessed Lighting is installed above the ceiling. Only the aperture or opening of the light shows. Recessed downlights are the most popular form of architectural lighting fixture because they blend into almost any décor and provide a range of lighting effects.

A piece of material with a reflective surface that directs light in a desired direction. Reflectors are frequently specular, but may also be glossy, diffuse or matte.

Reflector Lamps
A light source of incandescent, compact fluorescent or HID source with a built in reflecting surface, usually a silver or aluminum coating on the bulb.

A project where the existing lighting fixtures in a home or office setting are cleaned and new lamps installed.

Electronic control mounted separately from the master or individual dimmer, permitting operation from multiple locations. Full-function remotes set the dimming level, as well as switching on/off.

Upgrading a fixture, room or building by installing new lighting fixtures, parts or equipment.

Reverse Switch
On a ceiling fan, a switch that reverses the blade direction and airflow.

Raises a shade 1/2 inch to 2 inches for decorative appearance. Used instead of a layer harp.

A cable comprised of flexible plastic sheathing inside of which are two or more insulated wires for carrying electricity.

Rotary Dimmers
A dimming control that provides full-range, manual control of a light source. Some are equipped with a push-button operation that allows you to turn the light on and off and return to the previous lighting level.

Process of wiring a home and installing rough-in sections of the fixtures and the back boxes of electrical devices; precedes the finish work.

Rough Service Lamps
Incandescent lamps designed with extra filament supports to withstand bumps, shocks and vibrations.

Corrosion of metal, particularly iron and steel, from exposure to moist air and other elements; also called oxidation. Rust is a reddish-brown finish that can be produced by a paint or chemical process.

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Sand Casting
A process where molten metal is poured into a mold of compacted sand. The molds can only be used once. The process is costly, including finishing the fairly rough casting.

Satin Finish
Slightly textured or brushed surface having a fine grain that reflects light with some diffusion.

The arch or scallop-shaped pattern on a light fixture.

Specific setting for a group of dimmers channels or zone. A multi-scene control allows you to select the different setting by pushing a button.

Wall bracket fixture derived from the form of a candelabra, often with exposed or decorative light sources.

An opaque or translucent covering on luminaries and portable lamps to shield the light source. Redirects the light and enhances decoration.

Shade Measurement
Measure in this order: Top across, bottom across, slant of the sides, height.

Accent lighting technique that creates a dramatic outline by back lighting. Also used in landscape lighting.

Slide Dimmers
Slide dimmers operate via a slide toggle, providing a full-range of manual dimming control. Some are equipped with a touch-button that allows you to return to the previous lighting level. Others have an indicator light that glows in the dark for easy location.

Sloped Ceilings
The flexibility of track lighting can be a major help when trying to light from a sloped ceiling. Most recessed fixtures cannot be aimed to light art on an adjacent wall, while track lighting fixtures allow you to do so easily.

In architecture, the underside of an overhead component, such as an arch, cornice, beam or balcony. Often used to describe an area of the ceiling that drops below the primary surface.

Soft or Lined Shade
Shade that is lined with fabric.

Soft-White Lamp
Incandescent lamp with a dense, milky-white silica coating on the inside of the bulb. Diffuses the light and completely conceals the light filament.

Solid Brass
Fixture or parts made entirely of brass, not plated or simulated. Solid brass parts are “solid brass”, not “solid parts.” Often they are hollow castings or tubing.

Solid State
Electronics that use semi-conductor chips and circuitry.

Southwest Style
This style evolved from furnishings used in the rural Southwestern United States, particularly in Santa Fe. Lighting fixtures feature simple forms and lines with terra cotta finishes and animal or regional motifs.

Specialty Lighting
A broad term referring to everything from line and low voltage strip lights to special display or controlled lighting as seen in retail and commercial applications.

Specular Finish
Highly polished and mirror-like. Semi-specular finish is generally bright, but without a well-defined mirror image.

The cross frame near the top of a shade.

The process of shaping a disk of metal by rotating it on a lathe and pushing it with a forming tool. Also, a part made this way.

Spot Lamp
Reflectorized lamp with a narrow light distribution.

Short for recessed square downlights, which are usually shallow fixtures with diffusers or lenses.

Stainless Steel
Stainless steel resists corrosion and has a rich, deep luster. It is particularly used in bathroom and kitchen settings for a clean, contemporary look.

Inexpensive way to form sheet metal by hitting it with a die.

Step Lights
Step Lights are recessed into walls and stairs so they illuminate the treads of stairs or pathways. An eye shield is often used to block direct view of the light source.

Crystal of the ultimate chemical purity, saturated with more than 30% lead oxide, cut and polished with ultimate precision by a machine. This is the finest crystal available and also the most expensive.

Surface Mounted
Surface-mounted fixtures are also know as ceiling mounted fixtures. They attach directly or close to the ceiling. The light distribution is often semi-direct or general diffuse.

Material or chain hanging in a decorative fashion between two points.

Swing Arm
A table or wall mounted lamp that uses a moveable horizontal arm, allowing it to be positioned any number of ways.

Switch Leg
Wiring that connects the switch or dimmer output to the fixture or load being controlled.

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Tubular Lamp; may be incandescent, halogen or fluorescent.

Task Lighting
Lighting directed to a specific area or surface that provides illumination for visual tasks, such as reading, sewing or cooking. It can be provided by recessed and track lighting, portable lighting or pendant lamps. Task lighting should be free of distracting glare and should be bright enough to prevent eyestrain.

Three-Way Dimmer
Dimmer that works with a three-way switch for control from two locations; turns on/off and dims at the dimmer, but only turns on/off at the switch.

Three-Way Lamp
Incandescent lamp with two filaments that provides three levels of light when sequentially switched.

Three-Way Switch
Operates a fixture from two locations. Also called a three-pole switch. Also called a “three-pole switch” because it is connected to three wires; “hot” in, “switched” out and a “traveler” to the other three-way switch.

Tiffany Lighting
Based on original designs by American Louis Comfort Tiffany, Tiffany lighting relies on cut stained glass and ornately detailed bases, often in bronze. Tiffany was heavily influenced by Japanese art forms in which nature was front and center.

The upward inclination of a light source from a level horizontal position.

Device that turns lights on and off at pre-programmed times.

Tinted Glass
Tinted glass is clear glass with a pigment or color added. This produces color throughout the piece, which will not chip or peel. Also clear or opal glass with a thin film of colored glass or plastic coating.

Lever used for control as in the common toggle switch or toggle dimmer.

Indirect floor lamp that sends all, or most, of its light upward.

Track Connector
Part that joins sections of electrified track.

Track Lighting
Any lighting system that utilizes individual lamps or lamp housing which operate off a track or strip mounted to the wall or ceiling. Track lighting can provide general, task or accent lighting all at once in a very flexible system. You can move, swivel, rotate and aim the individual fixtures in any direction along the track, giving you the flexibility to change your lighting scheme as the need arises. You can also hang chandelier and pendant lighting fixtures from some types of track.

A device used to raise (step up) or lower (step down) the electric voltage. For example, many halogen ceiling fixtures require a transformer, most commonly hidden in the wall during installation, to function properly. Step down transformers reduce household voltage (120 volts) to low voltage used in accent and landscape lighting. Larger transformers reduce high voltage used for efficient power distribution to safe and flexible household voltage. Input voltage is on the primary tap; output voltage on the secondary tap.

Sometimes the edge or visible part of a recessed downlight; as in “white trim”. Sometimes the finishing section of the recessed fiture; as in “housing and trim.”

Recessed fluorescent fixture for use in a suspended ceiling; derived from the words “trough” and “coffer.”

Tungsten-Halogen Lamp
A gas filled tungsten incandescent lamp containing a certain amount of halogens that intensifies the light source. More commonly referred to as “Halogen” lighting.

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U Lamp
Linear, double-ended fluorescent lamp, usually T8 or T12, bent into a “U” shape.

Undercabinet Fixtures
Fixtures which are placed under a cabinet or room recess to provide task and accent lighting. Under kitchen cabinets they can light a countertop with task lighting. In a display cabinet they can be used to illuminate a prized collection. They include slim, energy-efficient fluorescents, miniature track lighting and strips of low-voltage mini-lights.

Underwriters Laboratory. Commonly referred to as “UL”. An independent organization whose responsibilities include rigorous testing of electrical products. When products pass these tests, they can be labeled and advertised as “UL Listed”. UL tests for product safety only.

Ultraviolet Light (UV)
Light that is shorter in wavelength and higher in frequency than visible violet light.

Common name for a plain track that accepts a wide range of line voltage reflectorized lamps.

Wall bracket light fixture with an uplight distribution and a distinctive urn shape.

Utility Lighting
Commonly refers to ceiling and wall fixture lighting that is plain and durable. Utility fixtures usually feature plastic lenses and and diffusers instead of glass. The housing may also be of molded plastic.

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Valance Lighting
A fixture installed behind a horizontal shielding over a window or along a wall. Light is distributed up and down, usually from a fluorescent source.

Vanity Lights
Fixture used at a mirror or over a vanity bathroom mirror. Ideally a long, well diffused light source.

Vari-flex Flywheel
On a ceiling fan, rubber wheel that holds blade holders.

Thin sheet of material, usually of wood or plastic that is attached, laminated, to a stronger, less costly material.

Victorian Style
A style derived from the late 19th century British period. Typical of Victorian lighting details are candelabras with decorative ornaments, colored glass lanterns, fixtures with brass and cut glass, and dangling crystal fringes.

Unit of electricl force or pressure. Household voltage in the United States, nominally 120 volts, varies between 110 and 125 volts.

Voltage Drop
Difference in voltage along a circuit. Voltage drop becomes a problem with low voltage wiring and small cable, reducing the intensity of the lights at the far end of the cable.

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Wall Bracket
Fixture designed to be mounted on a vertical surface, including sconces, urns and valances.

Wall-mount Fixtures
A broad term which refers to fixtures that provide general, task and accent lighting. Many wall-mount fixtures are designed to match and coordinate with dining room chandeliers or other lighting fixtures. Wall brackets are often used for task lighting at the bathroom mirror. They are available in a choice of incandescent, halogen and energy efficient compact fluorescent bulbs.

Wall Grazing
A lighting technique in which light is aimed down a wall for a grazing effect. For dramatic shadows, especially on textured surfaces such as brick, draperies or stone, mount the lights 6 to 12 inches from the wall, with the fixtures the same distance apart and aimed downward.

Wall Lighting
Lighting directed on a wall or vertical surface to emphasize that plane, enhance the surface texture, or bounce light back into the room. Increasing wall brightness generally makes a room seem more spacious.

Wall Washing
A lighting technique in which a wall is evenly washed with light. For most surfaces, mount the track 2 to 3 feet from the wall on ceiling up to 9 feet high. Mount between 3 and 4 feet on ceilings between 9 and 11 feet high. Space the fixtures the same distance apart for even light distribution.

A unit of electrical power.

The amount of electricity consumed by a bulb.

Distressed finish that simulates aging.

Wire Nut
Also called a solderless connector. Small plastic device that can be fastened over the bare, joined ends of several wires to protect and insulate the connection.

Wrought Iron
Soft iron that is hammered and bent into decorative shapes.

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A heavy, colorless, and relatively inert gaseous element that occurs in air as about one part in 20 million by volume and is used especially in thyratrons and specialized flashtubes.

Yard Lighting
Outdoor lighting fixtures, including hanging pendant lamps, wall lights, security lights and landscape lighting used to beautify and enhance an outdoor space.

Zone Lighting
In dimming, lights that are operated together. Also called Channel Lighting.

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