Lighting is so important to achieve the right feel and mood in a room! I know people who always rely on their overhead lighting to light rooms at night (often from those builder gifts called ceiling fans J), when in fact, there are so many other softer options to consider. I’m light sensitive, so when there’s too much of one or the other in a room, I can’t relax and it actually makes me want to avoid the room. I guess this is the reason I have dimmer switches on every overhead light in my house!
Now, I realize there are times when we need bright light…working on a detailed craft project is a perfect example. For that, have a task light on the desk or table where you’re working. It will provide the bright light you need in a focused area, and then the rest of the room can be lit in an ambient way. Then, others can share the room with you without being forced to tolerate more light than they need.
Ambient light is soft, indirect lighting that comes from multiple sources. Table lamps and floor lamps are what I use most for this. Make sure when relying on indirect lighting that your sources are balanced. You can easily do this by triangulating the lamps in the room. (Picture 3 lamps forming an invisible triangle based on their location in the room.) For small rooms where there isn’t enough space for multiple lamps, I use mirrors to trick the eye and duplicate the light source.
Accent lighting is what I refer to as the “cherry on top of the sundae”! It can really make a significant difference in lighting a favorite art piece, illuminating a plant or a statuesque accessory. Perimeter spotlights installed in ceilings or baseboards are really cool; they can transform a dark room to look completely different!
Style of Lighting
Lastly, I always notice artistic lamps and chandeliers in a room. Those are “windows” into the homeowner’s personality, in my opinion. They signify a specific taste and preference in design and oftentimes have a great story behind them. I learn so much about my clients through pieces like these. There are so many options to choose from but Schonbek makes some beautiful colored crystal lights for walls, ceilings, tabletop, etc that are AMAZING! www.schonbek.com Also, if you’re local in Dallas, the Chihuly display is going on at the Arboretum where you can see glass transformed into unbelievable designs.
So, you can easily see that apart from natural light, we have lots of lighting options! We use light to enhance our daily tasks, to highlight features in our homes, to set a romantic or relaxed mood, and reveal insight into our personalities. As with all aspects of design, lighting options can be limitless. But I think once you understand the different ways you can use light, you’re less overwhelmed by the options and can be more focused and specific about what you’re trying to achieve!