WHY LIGHTING MATTERS IN INTERIOR DESIGN
Interior lighting in a home is a must consider feature, as so many home buyers factor in lighting into their home buying decision. Some homes are designed around or luckily are bestowed with vibrant natural light, whereas others offer a little bit less. Regardless though, when either working with your interior designer or reconfiguring your home on your own, lighting not only sets the mood of a room, but it also defines the boundaries and the perceived size of a room as well. The specific placement and different types of light are important aspects of interior design, and they work hand in hand with color palates, room dimensions, availability of natural light and furniture selection. The individual elements that come together when an effective strategy and attention is directed towards the right lighting, transform a room into a breathtaking presentation of functionality and style.
Lighting is a powerful thing, in that lighting alone can both add to or detract from the overall colors within a room, or from only those surfaces that you choose to frame or define. Lighter colors can add drama, and excitement to a room whereas darker colors can sometimes make a room feel smaller and cramped. Sometimes however, darker colors (with a very deliberate strategic approach to lighting) can create a moody or romantic ambiance. Behind this idea is the fact that the illusion of space is defined by the amount of light reflected off of the surfaces of the walls - for instance a room with all mirrored walls looks as though it goes on forever as the light is reflected in an almost 1:1 fashion. Different lighting in lighter or darker rooms can help with this illusion by further illuminating the walls.
Additionally, track lighting, spot lighting, gallery lighting, or other forms of directional lighting, can can soften the wall colors. There is also recessed can lighting that comes in either filament bulb (more traditional look), or LED bulb (more contemporary and eco-friendly option), which has a softer, downward facing glow that brightens the floors of a room or space, not specifically the walls. This is in contrast to lighting hung from the center of the room (usually the ceiling - chandeliers, pendant lights, etc.) or on the walls, which produce ambient illumination. In either case, the strategy you choose to employ can affect how light or dark a colored section of the room or wall can appear.
In addition to creating a sense of mood or space, lighting’s ultimate purpose is to enhance the functionality of a specific room. When performing tasks, we need to see what we are doing. Some may say lighting needs to serve a purpose, or it simply wastes electricity. Whether that purpose is to perform a specific task, or to create a mood or feel is up to the user entirely. For instance, Desk lamps provide illumination for writing, working, reading, and don’t do much else. On the other hand chandeliers in their grand presence are not only used in large open areas, entryways, ball rooms, and dining halls because of their centrally themed placement - they also provide an enchanting sparkle to the room and generate an incredible amount of light. It’s important to consider which style of lighting makes sense for you and your home in order to fit your and your family’s needs.
The types of lighting in a room either provide illumination for an entire space, or they highlight individual, specific elements. One such example of directional lighting is track Lighting. Track lighting is traditionally hung from the ceiling, with adjustable necks that can be pointed in different directions to highlight features and objects within a room such as a sculpture, kitchen range, entryway table, or kitchen island. Directional lighting can also be seen on walls, in the form of gallery or presentation lighting for paintings or mirrors - in some cases the frames themselves may also have built in lighting to brighten a specific area of the wall - increasing the contrast of the surrounding so that a viewers eyes are directed towards the subject. To add a different dimension to a room that is incredibly striking, recessed lighting can be used in floors as well as in ceilings to create vertical beams of light; this looks amazing in front of stacked stone fireplaces, as it brings out all of the definition of the stone and can add a stunning silhouette.
ILLUSION OF SPACE
The illusion of more space does more than just makes a room look better, it reduces anxiety which relieves stress, calms the activity in our brain, and makes our homes just a little bit more enjoyable - this is aided by both natural and man-made light. When dealing with a darker room, it’s important to identify ways in which you can introduce a more full spectrum of natural (or natural-like) light. The cramped feeling that we suggested earlier is worsened by oversized furniture arrangements within close proximity of each other, such as bar cart, coffee table, end table, sectional, chair and love seat combinations in smaller settings. Wall mounted lights, corner floor lights, and ceiling lighting help artificially but convincingly brighten a room if true-natural lighting is not an option. These additions will work together with curated furniture arrangements to create a visually larger space. This concept applies to virtually every setting imaginable - homes, offices, restaurants, retail stores, etc. If the option is available, natural lighting is the much preferred route to go over man-made lighting, because it showcases live in it’s true natural beauty. Additionally, it is a richer sofer light that highlights the features of rooms better by bouncing off all reflective surfaces. We have worked with clients and contractors who go as far as adding skylights or replacing their original windows with stunning floor to ceiling options. If you must cover your windows, we recommend more sheer or transitional options.
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