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Brightening up a closet

If you're like most of us, your clothes closet isn't lighted. And even if you do have a ceiling light we'll bet dimes for dollars that you still have to take your wardrobe choices out into the sunlight to be sure that you have selected colors that don't clash.

By the way, as you get older, the problem of differentiating between colors in low light becomes even more significant. Furthermore, the condition is exacerbated as your closet becomes more crowded. A top shelf filled with old socks and hat boxes can obliterate even the brightest light bulb.

How do we know about all of this, you ask? Simple, as often as not we have shown up for an important meeting with socks that don't match our outfit or each other or worse yet, we discover a large obtrusive stain and/or tattered area that went completely unnoticed until moments AFTER our presentation had been given (at the front of the room no less) how embarrassing.

Any kind of lighting in a clothes closet is better than none at all, but a lot is left to be desired when the shadow from the boxes on the top shelf prevent the light from doing its job to help you select just the right colors for that day's special business meeting. We have fluorescent lighting in one of our closets the spans almost its entire length. The problem is that we have two levels of hanging and we can't differentiate color on the clothes hanging on the second tier because they reside in the shadow of the clothes hanging above. Since the light is mounted at the ceiling to wall connection over the door there isn't much we can do to locate it to a more advantageous position.

Sound familiar? If you find yourself struggling to make color choices because the level of light in your dressing area isn't sufficient, then we have some information that should really excite you.

We just discovered lighted clothing rods. What a country. Morris' wife, Carol, is the designer for the remodeling company and she helps us stay on top of the game when it comes to the new and unusual in home remodeling and what it is that folks want. She walked into the office carrying a printout from a website called "Lightology." Deep within the site she discovered a lighted clothes pole. We have since done some homework and discovered a bit more about what she found:

Apparently, an Italian manufacturer named Orizzonte has created a light fixture that mounts to the underside of a closet shelf that can be used as a clothes pole. Wait a minute! No, it's a clothes pole with a light in it. Well, whichever way you decide to refer to it, we are sure of several things:

It is a hanging rod that holds a lamp that uses a fluorescent light tube to illuminate the clothing hanging thereon.

The wattage of the fluorescent light varies from 8 to 21 watts depending on the fixture length.

It comes with a clear diffuser, which is a clear light lens to protect you and the bulb.

It comes with an anodized aluminum finish, which means it's aluminum gray in color.

It will hold up to 50 pounds of clothes.

It is available in four lengths: 23, 35, 46, and 59 inches.

The fixture weighs about 4 pounds.

It is not dimmable, but who cares! Were trying to get more light not less. Anyway, we haven't met anyone yet who has expressed an interest in "mood lighting" their underwear.

The fixture is self-contained and has its own onboard switch. Want to get fancy? Wire the fixture into a door-actuated switch and when you open your closet door to show off your handiwork (or underwear), folks will beam at a lighted clothes pole that is on when the door opens.

The fixture requires 110-volt power that can be taken from a nearby wall receptacle. The wattage is low in the largest of the units and should put little or no strain on most existing circuits. However, we strongly recommend that you consult your local electrician if you aren't knowledgeable in this area.

The wire comes directly out of the wall (no junction box necessary) and travels directly into the fixture where the actual connection is made (the fixture acts as the j-box). Although the fixture itself has a contemporary sort of Space Age look, we think its presence will disappear into the background.

By the way, even though there are only four lengths available, the units can be placed end to end to satisfy a multitude of closet sizes.

And, that's all there is to it.

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James Carey and Morris Carey are nationally recognized experts on home building and renovation.

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