Lighting Guide: Tips for choosing the right lighting for your space
When it comes to design, whether you're updating an existing space or designing a new build, it's important to not underestimate the impact that lighting can have on your space.
Lighting allows us to influence the perception of mood, space and color, which makes it an essential part of every design endeavor. For example, the contrast of light and shadow can create the perfect focal point, even businesses use lighting and its effects to boost sales.
The placement and type of lighting are important aspects of design as they work in conjunction with color, for that reason, it's necessary to consider the effects of light on color, mood and space in order to achieve the desired interior design effect.
Let's talk natural light vs artificial light.
Natural lighting is the use of sunlight, and the room's position, to achieve the desired mood and ambiance. Designers often use large windows to enhance the perception of space and make a room appear larger than it actually is. This effect can also be achieved by placing mirrors directly in the path of the natural light so that the light reflects in to the room.
Natural light should always be considered when choosing paint colors for a project, not only because the color changes as the light moves around the room but also because color will affect the mood of the room. For example, if you have a north facing room with little light, you'll want to use livelier more cheerful paint colors to brighten the mood. On the other hand, if you have a south facing room with lots of light, you may want to use cool or neutral colors to achieve balance.
Artificial lighting is the use of bulbs and other fixtures to achieve a desired effect and amplify an experience.
There are typically two types of bulbs to choose from depending on your objective, they are fluorescent or LED. If your objective is to create a cool ambiance, then fluorescent is your best option, however, if you desire to warm the room up, then LED bulbs can do the trick.
Now let's break it down into the 3 major types of lighting to help determine which style of light to use for each purpose.
Ambient light provides even, overall illumination to a room, such as recessed, chandeliers and sconces.
The beauty of ambient fixtures is that you can have instant versatility with a dimmer switch. A dimmer allows you to control the light so that if you want bright cheery light for, say dinner with family and friends, it's easily achieved with the turn of a switch, and when you prefer lower light, you can easily convert the same space to accommodate a romantic dinner.
Pro Tip: For multi-tasking families, it's always a good idea to wire your rooms with multiple circuits - this will allow you to dim some lights while keeping others brighter in the same space.
This lighting is important when performing specific tasks such as homework, crafts, cooking or daily preparation in the bathroom.
Popular options for the kitchen are pendant lights and under cabinet lighting, whereas in bedrooms and living areas we may choose stylish table and floor lamps.
In the bathroom some good options are light bars, sconces and pendants.
Pro Tip: For bathroom lighting you'll want to ensure that even lighting comes from all directions, for example, use a lightbar or sconces for lighting in front of the vanity and recessed or pendant lighting above to eliminate any shadows and provide the perfect lighting for shaving and makeup application.
And now to my favorite lighting of all!
Accent lighting provides you the opportunity to let your creativity shine (pun intended!) This type of lighting is typically a down light, spot light or track lighting used to highlight artwork, bookcases or an object, but there are so many ways to make accent lighting really special.
Use up or down lights to accent a textured wall or indoor tree/plant - backlight a wall panel or mirror to create a dramatic effect. You can add rope light to a nook between a fireplace and wall to draw attention to the fireplace. Stairways are another area that can be enhanced with accent lighting and it can help keep your family safe when traveling up and down the staircase. The possibilities are endless and this is where you are able to truly make your space unique and memorable.
The intended ambiance of the room determines the aesthetic of lighting or lack thereof. It is, however, important to ensure that the colors, lighting mood and atmosphere are aligned in order to achieve balance and harmony.
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