We are smack dab in the middle of a full home renovation, and are at the electrical stage of the game. I’ve never designed a home from start to finish, so I’m learning and researching like crazy, so I have the most comfortable living environment possible. Here are 5 lighting tips that I have learned that I am trying to implement into my house plans.
The first question one must ask is what the purpose of the room is. You want to think of the tasks you will be performing in the room and first tackle those light needs. Will you be on your computer in that room? Do you want to relax in the room? Will you or the kids be doing homework or reading there? Only after these types of questions are resolved should other lighting effects be brought into the design. Task lighting is direct and bright, and mood lighting is soft and dim. Will you need to switch between the two. Installing a dimmer could actually be the best investment you make in a room.
Have you ever been to a really fancy restaurant only to walk in and be seated in a bright room with fluorescent overhead lights? Probably not…or at least I hope not. Restaurants are great examples of how lighting can affect your mood. Fancy shmancy, expensive restaurants are usually decorated in rich colors with dim lighting. Candle light and soft music abound, and suddenly people become looser with their wallets. These types of restaurants have learned to play on our senses. Sounds silly, but apparently if we spend an hour or so in a romantic and relaxed setting we are more willing to pay too much for our supper. Maybe grocery stores could learn a thing or two from these restaurants
Let’s say you just paid a pretty penny for a large family photo or an original piece of art work. You don’t want those types of things to blend into your wall. Those items should be a focal point in the room. Size alone doesn’t always make something stand out. Add a light from above or below through track lighting and watch as every eye in the room is drawn over and over to that piece.
You can surprise people with lighting that doesn’t showcase art, but itself, is art. Back lighting behind textured glass can become a tapestry. Add light into a water feature and up the wow factor. Add colored bulbs to warm up or cool down the mood. Outdoor string party lights can serve some small functional purpose, but let’s be honest, drama is their middle name! These ideas are drops in the bucket to what creative works of art can be brought about through lighting.
5. The Finishing Touch
Whether your style be modern, traditional, contemporary, eclectic, or a combination of the above, lighting plays a key role in finishing of the room. It is like the accessories you wear with your “little black dress”. At first glance, people think, “Wow, she’s really put together”, but if you stop to look at why, it’s just a little black dress. It doesn’t come together until you add the pops of color or the bling from your jewelry. Only then does it becomes a look, not just a party dress. As does your room.
Custom homes spend thousands on lighting details…but you don’t have to. You just have to focus on the right details to make a huge impact on the look of your space. Now don’t just take my word for it. Go and learn for yourself. Pay attention when you are in others’ homes. Go to museums, get on Pinterest and see what you like. If you want a good read about lighting tips, The Home Lighting Effects Bible: Ideas and Know-How for Better Lighting in Every Part of Your Home is awesome!!!
Also check out a great website called freshome.com for all kinds of tips. Well, what are you waiting for? Go!