From interior designers to electricians to home builders, a common design after-thought in a new home, or unique to your home, is lighting. How do you choose a fixture that will fit your specifications: excellent lighting, energy efficiency, and aesthetically pleasing? Lighting experts are sharing their tricks of the trades in the three simple steps below.
Lighting, Safety and Decorating Goals
- Decide on Lighting Goals: Tasks vary from room to room, so should your lighting. Direct, also referred to as task lighting, focuses explicitly on the particular space you are working in. Consider counter lighting in the kitchen, down-lighting and vanity lights in your bathroom, and floor lighting for reading nooks or offices. Indirect, or ambient lighting, describes your home’s overall lighting. Installing dimmer lighting can quickly change the mood of a room, and save energy with the flick of a switch. Accent lighting can be used to showcase architectural highlights or illuminate decorative pieces like paintings, wall hangings or sculptures. Combining different types of light adds to the functionality of your home. Once you decide on the objective of each space throughout your home, you can begin to choose your lighting.
- Decide on Safety Goals: While most homeowners want a home with beautiful curb appeal, it is recommended to place indoor and outdoor lighting for safety purposes. By strategically putting more soft lighting throughout the interior and exterior of your home, you create fewer dark areas there are to hide intruders while also easily exposing any unwanted movement on your property. Safety experts agree, extremely bright lights create deep shadows, which can create hazards. Walkways, hallways, and staircases should be given particular attention and always remain adequately illuminated. Using uplights, highlighting trees, and varying your fixtures will combine style and function. If you want to add an energy efficient element to safety lighting, timers can be used to control lighting based on the time of day.
- Decide on Decorating Goals: Functionality does not have to interfere with your interior design goals. Light fixtures can be an integral element in the design. While the number of accessories available today may seem overwhelming, design experts suggest using the following fixtures to achieve a particular look.
- Chandeliers. Chandeliers tend to be a statement piece in and of themselves. We are naturally drawn to a chandelier because of their overall size, and sometimes grand design.
- Pendants. While pendants are smaller, hanging fixtures, they can be perfect individually or in groups. If you’re looking for more lighting combined with a big statement, interior designer suggests sticking to groups hung at eye level. However, for small spaces in need of direct lighting, a single pendant can do the trick.
- Ceiling-mounts. More subtle in design, ceiling-mount light fixtures offer a smooth, decorative element that can be carried throughout your home.
- Sconces. Sconces are one of the easiest ways to enhance task lighting. Whether it be in a bathroom or hallway, they add enough light to increase safety and add a decorative touch.
- Portable Lighting. Lamps accessorize spaces from floors to tables. With easily interchangeable shades, lamps are affordable when giving your room a makeover.