insights on creating innovative spaces

Are You Dull or Bright?

IMG_0004The Right Lighting

“She may very well pass for forty-three, in the dusk with the light behind her.”

W.S. Gilbert “Trial by Jury”

I think we all know how important the right lighting can be. Your home, the restaurant in which you dine, stores, you name it. Lighting can make or break the experience and mood, it can make you appear to be more attractive or not, showcase your artwork and furniture or not…well, you get the picture.

There are so many things to consider when selecting the right lighting for your space that it is difficult to know where to begin, but for starters, here are a few “general” considerations that you must take into account when selecting lighting for your rooms. (To make things just a wee bit more complicated is the fact that EACH room is different. Please give me a call for specific ideas and tips.)

First off, let’s establish the fundamentals. There are really two main types of lighting: task lighting and ambient lighting. Task lighting (the desk lamp, light above the stove etc.) is clearly different from the ambient lighting that lights the room and truly sets the stage.

And a couple of other “facts” to keep in mind as you ponder the all-important issue of lighting:

1.  Incandescent bulbs give out soft natural light.  They are considered the standard and inexpensive choice that we all go to.

2. Those “curly” bulbs that have become all the rage, well, they’re efficient but they also give off a bluish cast making their usage in certain rooms and spaces awfully problematic. (Who wants to shave or apply make-up with a light that makes them look cold and, well, dead.)

3. LED lights are also very popular and although they are expensive, they last a long time (as much as 15 years). The thing to remember with LEDs is that they simply get more and more dim without completely going out and so many folks think they are having problems with their eyes when it is, in fact, a case of diminishing light emanating from the bulb. When you purchase LED lights, make certain to look for a Kelvin reading of 3000K. This reading will provide you with a light quality that is most comparable to natural light.

4. And my favorite, halogen lights. They can showcase your art in an extremely effective manner but they come with a negative as well, that being the bulb can get very hot so be careful when changing the bulb and NO fabrics nearby. And it is important when changing the bulb, that you do not touch the surface of the bulb; the oils from your fingers heat up and cause the bulb to break.
So with all of this in mind:

• It’s always best to place your lighting at different levels in the room and to integrate lamps that have a downward glow with those that have an upward glow. This helps to spread out the light and showcase your art, furniture and the room itself in the most attractive manner.

• Determine the focal point of each room and direct the lighting accordingly. Don’t place that amazing piece of furniture, artwork, antique or table in the shadows if that is the exact item that you wish to be prominent.

• In rooms that require bright lighting (ex. kitchen, bathroom), be certain to have the lighting on a dimmer. Bright light may be necessary when cooking or applying makeup, however, there are certainly times when the brightest light might not be desired or necessary.

• Make your bedroom your sanctuary and light it accordingly remembering, however, that although soft lighting might create a warm ambiance, it might not work when you wish to read in bed. Make certain that your lighting can provide the appropriate illumination for nighttime reading yet can be adjusted for when a more subdued light is desired.

When designing your space or simply renovating, lighting is one of the most important aspects of the job. Fantastic furniture and beautiful art will only look better if lit properly. This is definitely one place in which you don’t want to scrimp.