Utilizing Light As A Design Element

Light has a significant impact on the way we perceive a room. A brightly lit room with long light panels reminds us of a doctor’s office or an office. Sconce lighting is more reminiscent of hallways and bathrooms. Pendant lighting is often used by restaurants to set an exotic, intimate, or opulent mood. All these forms of lighting have their place in home design as well. Jeni Madden, an interior design consultant, explained, “A well designed room will have layers of light to create different moods throughout the day or night, from bright general lighting to pools of light.”

Thus, lighting should not be disregarded as second tier after floor materials or paint. It’s just as integral to the home atmosphere as a piece of artwork or a window. Relying too heavily on the generic dome lights used so frequently in the 80s and 90s creates generic homes with dull, flat light and little visual interest. Madden had several ideas for homeowners interested in making the most of their lighting decisions.

Using Downlighting

“Downlights,” Madden explained, “are particularly useful in kitchens and bathrooms. . . . Advances in technology are now making these much more affordable and they can be specified in warm white or extra warm white to give a consistent light to rival halogens.” Halogens, of course, are those industrial-looking lights of old that created a well-spread, if bland, light. Such lights are useful in rooms where color is important—as in kitchens where cooking is done or bathrooms where makeup is applied. LED lights, a not-so-new but still underrated option for homeowners interested in cutting their electricity bill, can be used in these fixtures.

When To Use Chandeliers

Chandeliers can be great accent or statement pieces, but only when they’re used correctly. They tend to create very bright lighting conditions, sometimes with overlapping shadow and light layers. It’s attractive as an entryway decor piece, but it can play havoc with your eyes during dinner parties. Avoid this effect by having a dimmer switch installed so you can set the mood for every occasion.
Employing directional lighting

Madden said the direction you point your light can have a big difference on how effective it is. She said, “A spotlight will give a directional light . . . whilst a conical shade on a table lamp will direct more light downwards creating a diffused light and a more moody feeling. Similarly, a long-armed floor lamp will be perfect to direct light over a sofa for reading but a tripod drum shade will send light upwards and downwards creating an accent light.”

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