The right lighting can completely transform the mood in a room, creating a sense of freshness, intimacy, or drama. Yet many of us only pay attention to lighting when it’s going wrong! By learning a few fundamentals of lighting design, you can make choices that enhance the dramatic potential of your home. A spectacular array of emotional and atmospheric effects can be produced by clever lighting, so get ready to add lighting design to your personal skillset!
Learn your lighting types
There are three types of lighting – ambient, task and accent. Ambient lighting is the uniform light that fills the whole room. During the day, that role is probably filled by sunlight, while in the evenings anything from subtle recessed ceiling lights to chandeliers can be used to produce ambient lighting. Accent lighting highlights specific areas or features; downlights on paintings are one example, while floor lamps are another. Finally, task lighting is brighter and more focused than the surrounding lights; think reading lamps in the bedroom and pendant lights in the kitchen.
A good lighting design will combine or ‘layer’ at least two of these lighting types, letting you use the room however you choose and switch up the ambience to suit your mood. Dimmer switches are practically essential if you’re serious about your light plan; they let you take the room from bright to cozy in a heartbeat.
Warm vs. cold light
The temperature, or color, of light has a huge effect on the feel of your room, and changing it is as simple as changing the bulbs in your light fixtures. Warm light is yellower (think of the effect of candlelight, or firelight), while cool light is pure white. Warm light is especially welcome at night, for an intimate feel, while cool light is less romantic but better for task lighting.
Personalized advice on lighting design is easy to find, whether you choose to hire an interior designer or opt for a more casual conversation with staff at your favorite design store. With stylish light fixtures used creatively, your home will soon be dazzling in every sense.