Lighting – The Forgotten Element

19 Dec

Lighting is one of the last things people think about when they are decorating a home but it is a key element in design and should an integral part of any plan.

Home interior lighting includes both artificial and natural light.

Natural Light

Most of us love natural light and go out of our way to bring as much of it as possible into our homes. This comes from doors, windows and skylights. If you are building a custom home, take time to consider where these are placed in your design, how big and what shape they take, and what direction the light is coming from. Installing French doors, skylights, glass block, larger windows and new door units with sidelights are all ways to bring more natural light into your home. An important tip when purchasing new windows or skylights is to make sure they have low E glass. Low E stands for low emissivity and refers to an invisible metallic coating that gives glass insulating properties and really protects against fading.

Artificial Light

When laying out a plan for lighting fixtures in your home, you’ll be considering three main types of artificial light; ambient, task, and accent lighting.

Ambient lighting is overall, general illumination light. It can come from flood style lights in recessed ceiling fixtures, pot lights, or surface mounted lighting. When making your lighting plan, start with your ambient light to give your space the overall light it needs. It’s a nice option to have ambient lighting on dimmer switches so that the lighting can be softened or brightened to set different moods.

Task lighting, as its name implies, refers to light sources directed on certain areas i.e. a bathroom vanity, a kitchen counter, a reading chair–where greater light is needed to perform a specific task. In the kitchen, valence lighting under your cabinets is ideal for working at your counters and hanging pendant lights over an island can give you the light you need. Consider the tasks you will be performing in each room and plan accordingly.

Accent lighting will be the third source of illumination you include in your plan.                Accent lights can be spot lighting that illuminate a painting, an architectural feature or a wall of books. Wall washer lights are flood lights directed on walls to highlight interesting texture, multiple art pieces, or simply an accent color. Accent lights draw attention to objects of interest. Lamps and light fixtures serve dual design functions being both a source of light and also an object of visual interest.

Make lighting a forethought, rather than an afterthought! It will bring a whole new dimension to your space and make the difference between good and GREAT!

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