So many activities, from reading to applying makeup, just aren’t possible without a good source of light. However, lighting isn’t something many people think about when choosing a design for a space. They then end up with a room that could look great, but no one can really see it. When you’re working on a room’s design, don’t forget to think about lighting. The better the lighting in the space is, the more you’ll be able to enjoy it.
Even in design, functionality should matter just as much as form. The right lighting in a space means that you can maximize its use. For example, if you plan on using your living room for watching TV, reading books, and entertaining guests, you’ll want to have a lighting scheme that lets you use the room to its full ability. The light shouldn’t create a glare on the TV screen, for example, nor should it be so dark in the room that it’s difficult to see printed text.
Getting the light right in other rooms of the house increases the functionality of those spaces, too. If you prepare food in the kitchen, it is helpful to have lights that are directly over the workspace, so that you can see what you are doing. If you apply makeup or style your hair in the bathroom, the lights should be towards the sides of the mirror, so that there aren’t awkward shadows on your face and so that you are able to see well enough to blend your makeup.
Different types of light play different roles in a room. Some lights can be used to highlight details of the space. For example, you can place lights inside a bookcase to accent vignettes or decor on the shelves, or you can place a light above large work of art to draw the eye to it. A ceiling light angled over an architectural detail or sculpture will call attention to it.
The type and amount of light in a space can determine what colors work in it and which ones don’t. Hues look different under different sources of light, so it’s important to think about what types of lighting will be in a room before choosing paint colors or furniture colors. What looks to be a vibrant blue under the bright light at the paint store can turn out to be a muddy or dull color in a room with just a single overhead light, for example.
Set the Mood
How a room is lit can influence how people feel when they are in it. Harsh, fluorescent light can make a room feel uncomfortable or can give it an institutional feel. In contrast, soft and warm light can make people feel welcome and relaxed when they are in a space. Think about how the lighting in a fast food restaurant makes you feel, compared to the soft, dim light at a fine dining establishment.
Getting the Light Right
Getting the light right depends on the space and on what you hope to do in that space. Lighting is usually divided into three types: task, general and accent. Task lighting is a must for rooms where you will be doing any type of work, whether you’re reading a book, balancing a checkbook, or dicing vegetables. Task lighting should be placed in the areas where the work will take place, such as next to a reading chair or above the kitchen counter.
The positioning of general lighting, such as a chandelier over a dining table or a row of recessed fixtures on the ceiling, draws focus to one area of the room. You might find that having your general light fixtures attached to a dimmer helps you further set the mood for the room. Accent lighting, such as dim table lamps, candles or wall sconces, add a decorative touch to the space while increasing its warmth and overall ambience.
Lighting can make or break a room. If you want to create a lighting scheme that makes the most out of your space, Michelle Wenitsky Interior Design can help. Contact us today to learn more about the basics of lighting and design.