When electrical subcontractors come onto a job, they usually have two questions for the homeowner: What do you want and where do you want it? Phil Blosser, owner of Blosser Electrical, an electrical company in Blooming Glen, Pa., has many more questions than that. He says educating clients to the ways lighting can enhance their new space -- by suggesting options -- can mean a substantial uptick in what they're willing to spend.

Often, for instance, clients will ask for a single ceiling light, unaware, says Blosser, of options such as recessed or accent lighting, where "instead of looking at the bulb, you're looking at the effect of the bulb."

Typically, invited onto remodeling jobs as a lighting designer who also installs, Blosser meets with homeowners, quizzes them as to how they plan to use the room, suggests options, and integrates his designs -- drawn on Chief Architect -- into already existing plans.

"I e-mail to the general contractor not only my proposal of what we've decided to do but a drawing showing what we will do, so it's part of his packet," Blosser says. "That not only helps the contractor sell the total job, it also lets our crews visually see what we've sold to the homeowner."

While electrical subcontractors often stop at simple, low-end solutions to lighting problems, Blosser says lighting designers -- who often get involved in high-end projects -- many times go for drama over practicality. "They'll put these spiffy recessed lights over the walking area in the kitchen, instead of over the counterspace or the island," he says.

Blosser says he shoots for lighting that's both dramatic and practical. "The function and caliber of a room determine the lighting," he says. But in any event, "you should be able to see if your socks are blue or black."