Interior Design Lighting: Functional and Stylish
When you use combinations of lighting in your home, you can change the mood of a room and the perceived size of the room too. The best combinations will give you a functional and stylish room.
The placement and types of lighting in every room in your home work in conjunction with all the aspects of the room, such as your color selections, the room size, the availability of natural light and your furniture. These items all work together with your lighting to achieve a room in a seamless combination of all the aspects.
Interior Lighting and Color Management
The manner in which you use interior lighting can either add to or subtract from the overall color scheme of a room or from the surfaces that the light is meant to enhance. Darker colors make a room seem smaller and cramped, while lighter colors make a room feel more spacious. The illusion of space is defined by light reflecting off the surfaces of the walls. Some types of lighting can help this illusion by further illuminating the walls. Directional lighting, such as a track light can soften wall colors and recessed canned lights will have a soft, downward glow to illuminate the floors and not the walls. Lights that hang down from the center of a room, provide ambient lighting or wall lighting can affect how light or dark a colored section of a room may be.
Interior Lighting in Directional Lighting
Your lighting in a room can either light a portion of the room or the entire room. Track lighting is positional lighting to light one area. When you use track lighting, you can point the adjustable necks or lamps at specific elements, such as a painting on the wall, a vase of flowers on a table or the bar top or kitchen island. You can also mount track lighting on your walls for highlighting specific areas on your walls. Some special picture frames and mirror frames even have built-in lights to display your favorite items on the walls of a room. Recessed lighting is another source of directional lighting that can be used in ceilings and floors to create vertical beams of light rather than an overall glow from a central lighting fixture that hangs from a ceiling.
Interior Lighting and Functionality
Your lighting in a room should always be functional to serve a purpose or otherwise it would just waste electricity. Chandeliers are very functional when hung in large, open foyers, entryways and rooms because they work well in the central area of a room and provide bright, excellent illumination. Wall lights add both length and size to your walls as they light the way down a pathway. Task lighting is a great idea for your desks or other work areas and reading areas where you need it to be functional more importantly that just overall room illumination.
Interior Lighting and Space
Natural lighting and man made lighting both help with the illusion of space. If you have a darker room, let the natural full spectrum light in through the windows by opening window treatments or using a light fabric that is open weave to allow outdoor lighting inside your home. If you have furniture arrangements that are in close proximity to each other, or insufficient light in a space, it makes the space seem cramped. The use of corner lamps, centrally hanging lights on the ceilings and wall sconces help brighten an interior room of your home without windows to let in natural light, which is turn helps to create a visually larger space. Natural light is always preferred in any room because it shows off your colors better and adds to the visual space of a room by reflecting off surfaces. Consider adding skylights or larger windows in your home to take full advantage of your spaces.
The Three Layers of Light: Ambient, Task and Accent
Learning how to mix the three layers of light in each room will provide you with the best illumination.
Ambient lighting is also called general lighting, as it is the most basic of the three layers of lights. It includes the natural sunlight from your windows and any lighting that substitutes for natural lighting. The fixtures that provide ambient light are chandeliers and any other ceiling fixtures, lighting kits on ceiling fans, track lighting, recessed ceiling lights, torchieres and wall sconces that provide more light than a spot light does. This area of lighting is pretty simple and most people understand it, however to complete a room that is great and not just adequate, you will need to add the other two layers of light.
Task lighting is named appropriately for exactly the function it serves. It’s the lighting you need to perform any task at hand, such as reading, studying, cooking or applying makeup. There are many different task lighting fixtures from which to choose. Some popular types are table lamps, desk lamps, swing arm lamps, under-counter lights, pendant lights, directed track or recessed lights, adjustable floor lamps and vanity lights.
Many times accent lighting is thought of as mood lighting, and it actually is, but it’s much more than setting the mood in a room for a date night. It provides atmosphere and influences a room, but it also is useful to highlight your best architectural items in a space. It will draw the eye to important objects that you want to be seen in any space and in doing so, it serves to draw attention away from the less pleasing objects. This type of lighting can disguise a decorating blunder, such as slight color differences in textures that were not intentional. Some examples of accent lighting are can lights and up lights, picture lights, candlelight, directed recessed or track lights, niche lighting, wall sconces, lights inside glass or wire doors in cabinets, light bridges on media furniture and chandeliers with dimmer switches.
Chandeliers and wall sconces can be both ambient lights and accent lights, depending on the manner in which you use them. Adding dimmer switches allows you to use them for accent lighting. Recessed lighting and track lights can function in any of the three layers of light depending on how you direct them in a room.
Plan you lighting in a room starting from the ambient light and then adding the next two layers. Think about how your want your room perceived and how you want to make the room feel and think about what you want to display or hide.