Lighting design is a key component of any home remodeling project. From task lighting to decorative wall fixtures, lighting creates different moods and a sense of balance by tying together all the elements of a given space. While recessed lighting is great for flooding a room with light, a designer can show you how to use different light fixtures to achieve a harmonious feeling of well-being.
Setting the Stage
Just as it can change a theatre set from boring to dramatic, lighting plays a powerful role in bringing your home to life. Your home’s color palette, furniture, and even its appliances look and function differently when they’re properly lit. There are two distinct categories of home lighting: natural and artificial, with each creating its own distinct effect. Most rooms include both these sources, so it helps to understand the role they play before you start designing your remodeled space.
- Natural lighting is the most pleasing to the eye, but it also more difficult to control. Light enters the room through windows, doors, and skylights and is governed by nature, the time of day, and the direction a room is facing. For example, rooms that receive northern light are the darkest and coolest, but they also have very little glare. East facing rooms get the cheerful morning light with long shadows moving in at the day goes on. Southern lighting is considered the most pleasant, with lots of warm light throughout the year. The west side of the house gets hot light that is brightest during the afternoon and creates a fair amount of glare on artwork and televisions.
- Artificial lighting, on the other hand, is highly controllable and customizable. You get to call the shots on how it will be used to improve your mood, the interior appearance of your home, and your family’s quality of life.
Because it helps reduce power consumption, it certainly pays to use natural light to its fullest extent. Understanding the natural light a room will receive during the day can help you and your designer plan for the artificial lighting that will be needed to supplement it. There are three main categories of artificial lighting:
- Ambient lighting is the most general and is typically located on ceilings to cast an expansive glow of light throughout a room. Floor lamps and recessed lighting are often used to the achieve the same effect. Ambient light is a “wash” of uniform lighting that all other lighting is built upon.
- Task lighting is just what it sounds like, a utilitarian light source that sheds light on areas where it’s needed to perform various tasks. Which task light fixture you choose depends largely on the room you’re using it in. For example, under cabinet lighting in the kitchen lets you see what you’re slicing and dicing and reading lamps in the family room directly illuminate the page for easier reading.
- Accent lighting adds light to once specific section of a room, usually for artistic or decorative reasons. It’s most often used to highlight artwork or photographs on walls and shelves or to add a touch of light in a dark corner.
Types of Light Fixtures
Light fixtures work hand-in-hand with lighting techniques. Task, ambient, and accent lighting fixtures used in their proper place create the perfect lighting design for your home.
- Pendants can be used in both kitchens and bathrooms. They direct light downward, typically over an island in the kitchen, and add a decorative element to any space.
- Wall sconces come in a range of design styles. They typically direct light up or downward and are most often used for accent lighting. The work equally well in kitchens and bathrooms.
- Chandeliers are a stunning focal point that add beautiful light to any room they’re in. Traditionally reserved for formal dining rooms, chandeliers are now used throughout the house, including in master suites. They come in a wide range of sizes, making it easy to choose one that makes the statement you want without overwhelming the room.
- Table and floor lamps enhance dim corners and add a nice cadence and pattern to a room. Two table lamps and a couple wall sconces are all you need to quickly transform a room, especially as the time of day and seasons change.
- Undercabinet LED lighting lets you focus light directly onto the countertop where you do most of your work. In cabinet lighting looks eleegant in glass front cabinets and is great for lighting up pantries and backs of cabinets.
One final word on LED lighting: it’s the ideal choice for places that are hard to reach. Have a high ceiling or chandelier hanging over the staircase? Invest in LEDs to avoid having to change out the bulbs.
Whether you’re remodeling your kitchen, bathroom, or any other room, you’ll usually end up employing all three types of lighting in your design. To learn more about using light to set the mood and make any room more inviting, drop us a line today. We look forward to meeting with you!