Of all of the design elements, lighting is one of, it not the most important ones yet it is easily and often overlooked. You can have a fabulous room that looks a lot less than fabulous if it is not lit properly. The same holds true in the opposite direction. You can have an average looking space that looks phenomenal if the lighting is done right. The key is layering the light in each room; overhead, task, accent, ambient.
Below are five ways to properly light the spaces in your home to create a wonderful looking space. Whatever the space, always try to put the lights on dimmer switches.
- Lighting an entry area to your home makes the difference between a warm welcome and a chilly reception. Overhead options include chandeliers, pendant lights, or properly placed recessed can lighting. Layer the light in the entry area by placing a buffet style lamp on a console table, or place wall mounted sconces flanking the door.
- Lighting for a family room should always have a layered plan approach. Too often this room in the house will only have an overhead ceiling fan with a light kit, or recessed cans. You must have ‘eye level’ lighting. Is there a chair that you like to read in? If so, make sure there is a floor or table lamp nearby to give you proper task lighting. Ambient lighting is also important when you are using the room to entertain in.
- Lighting Dining rooms often call for a chandelier or pendant lights above the dining table. If you have artwork on the walls, installing track or recessed directional spot lights to call attention to the artwork is a good idea. This is probably the most important place to have the lighting dimmable. A soft glow can create a wonderful room to entertain in. If you have a buffet, use the surface for one or two table lamps. Buffet lamps are often taller and thinner than a table lamp you would use in a bedroom or living room.
- Lighting a kitchen is one of the most complex spaces to do properly. So many diverse activities occur on a daily basis that need specific lighting to support them. Layer one is the general overhead lighting for which properly placed recessed cans work well. Layer two is task lighting above the sink area. While a recessed can style light can work here, a decorative pendant light can work as well. Under cabinet lighting is crucial to light the counter top work areas. If you have a kitchen island, pendant lights, a chandelier, or even multiple chandeliers, depending on the size of the island are a good idea. Of course you need lighting above the kitchen eating area too.
- Proper bathroom lighting will make the difference between cutting yourself shaving or getting just the right amount of blush on your cheeks in the morning. A common mistake is to only have recessed overhead lights or a light bar above the mirror in a bathroom. Wall mounted sconces and overhead light mini-pendants or ‘bars’ above the mirror(s) should be in place. Sconces should be placed on either side of the mirror at approximate face height for the most flattering illumination.
Of course the single most important and mood altering lighting source is natural light. Leverage the natural light opportunities in your home by using light filtering versus light blocking window treatments and sky lights or Solatubes. Sky lights and Solatubes are very important resources to bring natural light into a room when there are no windows, or the windows need light blocking window treatments for sun/temperature control or privacy.
Suzanne Lasky, Allied ASID is the owner of S Interior Design. S Interior Design makes homes and offices harmonious, functional and beautiful. Suzanne has an M.B.A. and an A.A.S. degree in Interior Design. Suzanne offers years of real world experience, giving her clients the peace of mind to know that their projects will be professionally handled from start to finish. She is an experienced residential and small commercial interior designer and is the exclusive provider of Pawprint Design Services – Stunning Interiors with Pets in Mind.