Posted on October 06 2017
Don't be in the dark about your lighting options!
When we think of interior design, our thoughts go first to furniture, accessories, wallpaper or artwork. But we often forget about one of the most important design elements – a room’s lighting.
The truth is: A clever use of lighting can transform living spaces. Really, the room’s tone, mood and atmosphere can be enhanced or even created with light.
A few accent lights and a grand chandelier, for example, has the power to turn a dull, uninviting foyer into a warm, welcoming space.
Creating the perfect lighting for a room, though, is no easy task.
Lighting is dependent on a number of factors, like the amount of natural light a room receives, the type of room it is, and the room’s style. But once you’ve learned the most common light fixtures, as well as some techniques for using each element, you’ll be ready to brighten any room in your home.
Interior Lighting 101: A Quick Overview
When you start to think about lighting in your house, there are four main types of light you should consider. They include:
Bright, well-lit rooms tend to have lots of natural light pouring in through the windows. This natural light, though, probably changes at different times of days or in different seasons. Be sure you balance natural and artificial light. Too much artificial light in a well-lit room can create an overly warm, sterile atmosphere.
Ambient light provides general lighting to a room, and ensures the overall brightness of a space while being glare-free. Chandeliers and wall sconces, for instance, are examples of fixtures that provide excellent ambient lighting.
Accent lighting refers to any light that’s used to accentuate a specific element in the home. It might be an architectural detail, like a textured stone-clad wall, artwork, or a stair case. Recessed and track lights are two types of common accent lighting fixtures.
Light that’s used to illuminate spaces for work – like a reading lamp, or pendant lights over your kitchen island – is called task lighting. Task lights are most common in the kitchen, bathroom or home office.
Common Home Lighting Fixtures
Alright, so you have an idea about the types of light you want to create. But how do you create it? Well, it really comes down to the light fixtures that you use.
Specific lighting fixtures are well-suited to provide different kinds of light. So properly layering light requires the right types of fixtures. Some of the most common are:
The most common type of wall light, wall sconces direct light up or down, and they’re surfaced mounted to walls. Wall sconces are versatile and can be used in nearly every room in the home to provide ambient and accent lighting. In the bedroom, sconces can replace bedside lamps, and they’re also popular in bathrooms alongside the mirror.
Pendant lights are overhead lights that hang from the ceiling. Pendants offer design versatility, as they can become a standalone design or décor element. Pendant lights might serve as task lights, i.e. if they’re placed over a table or kitchen island, or as a source of accent lighting. They can be hung low – for instance, taking the place of a bedside lamp – or high to provide ambient light.
Chandeliers -- they can be ornate or minimalistic – and they do double duty. They provide light, while also serving as a design element for the space. Chandeliers work best over tables or in foyers.
Track lights fit into a ceiling-mounted track, and each individual light can be focused. Track lights work great in living rooms, providing a source of light to accent bookcases, artwork or architectural detail.
These are lights that are mounted overhead and that sit flush with the ceiling. Recessed lights are great for providing accent lighting in the kitchen or bathroom.
When you think about interior design – don’t forget about lighting.
The right light fixtures add warmth and character to a space, and they’re just as effective as artwork, furnishing, and accessories at creating a distinctive environment.
Start with ambient light in every room. Then layer on different types of light to accent details, illuminate workspaces, and brighten dimly lit areas.