Each morning when you wake up and at night when you head to bed chances are you flip a switch. Lighting is a staple in any home that most of us don’t even notice. However if utilized correctly, it can draw the eye to certain elements of design in a room. Lighting can also serve as the focal point by which you base your design. When deciding what lighting to incorporate in your living space, opt for fixtures that add a level of comfort and are energy efficient. Electronics, lighting and other appliances account for 30 percent of a home’s energy use according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. For this reason, more and more people are choosing to go with light bulbs that save energy and last longer.
There are four different types of lighting you can work with when designing a well lit home. The first is ambient lighting which highlights undefined space in your home with a soft level of brightness. Next there is task lighting which is brighter light that illuminates a specific area such as the kitchen counter for food preparation. You also have accent lighting which can be used to feature a piece of art in a room or architectural element. All three of these lighting forms can be utilized as decorative lighting to create the look you are trying to accomplish.
Use a Variety of Lighting Fixtures
To effectively light a room, you want to decorate with a number of different types of lighting fixtures. You want them to be at different heights and locations throughout the room. Mix up your lighting with table lamps, floor lamps, and lamps placed on shelving. This will create an even glow throughout the room. It also gives you more options for which areas to highlight at different times of day.
Identify Focal Points to Balance the Room with Light
Place lighting where you feel it is most needed. The best way to create balance in a room is to layer the light that shines throughout. Identify focal points in the room where you will likely need a light source such as a reading chair. The brightest layer of light should aim for that area of focus. You will then want to add a middle layer of light that is visually attractive but does not take away from your focal point. Lastly, you will want to have a background layer of light to complete the space.
Use Lighting to Create the Illusion of a Larger Space
The direction you point the lighting in your home can impact how spacious rooms appear. If you have low ceilings, bounce light from up light fixtures. This will serve to visually raise the ceiling. Some older homes will have ceilings with unattractive surfaces. The best way to distract the eye from zeroing on these points is to use only down lighting such as a chandelier to hide the unsightly areas. If you want to emphasize the height of the room, you can implement long pendant hanging lighting. It will draw the eye up rather than to the ground if the room is smaller in size. You can also make the room seem bigger by choosing light paint colors and soft colored rugs which don’t absorb light like darker colors.
Install Dimmer Switches
Lighting can dramatize and highlight the room according to the mood of the homeowner. The best way you can exert some control over the level of brightness is by installing dimmers. Dimmers help you avoid the mistake of overlighting a room which can create unattractive glares throughout the room.
Stick with a Consistent Bulb Color
Don’t assume that all bulbs will emit the same color white light. Bulbs come in a spectrum of colors from bluish white to yellow white. Take note of the bulb’s Kelvin Color Temperature and choose bulbs with a similar rating. When you go to purchase a lightbulb, chose either halogen incandescents, compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), or light emitting diodes (LEDs). While they will cost you more upfront, they will save you money in the long term because they are energy efficient.
While lighting your home won’t be the most expensive item on you decor list, you must give it the proper attention so other items such as art and furniture look there best. Lighting can create the overall mood of a room and add to the design aesthetic. If you don’t take note of how light is diffused in your home, you may notice there are unsightly glares or overly bright rooms that detract from your decor.