Lighting is one of the easiest and cheapest ways to alter the appearance of a room. Appropriate lighting can highlight an area’s assets and help disguise its own shortcomings, boost function and set a mood.
Good lighting and bright light are not the same thing. An area that’s well lit provides illumination at varying degrees. The combination of shadow and light helps sculpt the room and makes the space more atmospheric and interesting.
To Take Advantage of the light in your home, just follow a few basic rules:
Smith & Vansant Architects PC
Before light a space, consider how you utilize the space. Will the space get most of its use in the day or in the day? What activities occur there, and in what places?
If you plan on using the space for studying, for instance, you’ll want to supply lamps with each reading location. If the room is used for TV viewing, you’ll want overall illumination that can be adjusted to various configurations, with light sources that will not reflect on the TV display.
Where to Set Your wellbeing TV
Webber + Studio, Architects
If the room is used for tasks, flow, or by the elderly, you’re want lighting that’s uniform and bright. If the space is utilized mostly for relaxation, turn down the wattage and turn up the atmosphere.
Tom Stringer Design Partners
Next, consider the room’s style. If the decor is modern, consider fewer lamps and much more built-in lighting, such as overhead cans. If the design is more traditional, lamps, pendant lighting and sconces can offer illumination and enhance the look you are trying to produce.
The Three Principle Types of Lighting
Ambient light: Lighting that provides overall illumination for a space. Ambient light can come from a ceiling fixture, recessed cans, torchieres or sconces.
The light should illuminate the space fairly evenly and be bright enough for vacuuming or other mundane tasks.
Tip: in case you don’t need to install recessed lights or sconces, another choice is to have an electrician hook up a wall switch connected to one or a couple of the room’s outlets, so that if you flip the switch several lamps come on simultaneously.
Lisa Wolfe Design, Ltd
To ascertain the total amount of ambient light you are going to want, a fantastic rule of thumb is to multiply the room’s dimensions to acquire a total square footage, then multiply that number by 1.5. That will provide you the total number of horsepower required.
Instance: A 10-by-12-foot room totals 120 square feet. 120 x 1.5 = 180, so you’ll need 180 watts of surrounding light.
Whatever you do, don’t stop at ambient light. There is nothing drearier than a bedroom, for instance, with one overhead fixture — it’s flat and unflattering, and doesn’t offer adequate illumination for anything but the simplest tasks.
Brad Ford ID
Task light: Lighting that illuminates areas for activities such as reading or cooking. It most often comes from a lamp or hanging fixture.
Task lighting should throw a pool of light that’s at least twice the room’s ambient light, and should normally be put in front of the individual doing the job, to stop his or her body from casting a shadow over the work surface.
Jancy Ervin Interiors
For reading, the light source ought to be located beside the individual.
A three-way bulb that tops out at 150 watts is ideal. If that’s not feasible, look for a fixture that can adapt a 100-watt bulb or 2 60-watt bulbs. The bottom of the shade should be at eye level to prevent glare.
Zack|de Vito Architecture + Construction
Accent light: Lighting that highlights specific attributes in a space, including an architectural component or a work of art. It is usually produced by monitor lights, a directional recessed can or a spotlight. Accent light is the frosting on the cake — it’s not as crucial as the other two, but it adds a nice finishing touch.
Edwina Drummond Interiors
Emphasize a painting by setting a wall-mounted”art” light above it, or spotlight a decorative mantel with a monitor light or directional can light. Showcase the texture of a masonry wall by installing recessed wall tops above it, or put an uplight behind a plant to accentuate its cast or form pleasing shadows.
L K DeFrances & Associates
Ideally, each room should incorporate all three types of light, although you are usually fine with only ambient and task lighting.
Skylark Incandescent Light Dimmer by Lutron – $22.80
Dim and Dimmer
The”people” spaces in your house should have at least 2 light levels: a bright one for parties or tasks, and a dimmer one for relaxing or much more subdued parties. You can achieve that variety by changing the lights you turn on, or with dimmers.
A wall dimmer (rheostat) costs less than $20, and the benefits will far exceed the price, permitting you to adjust built-in lighting to set a mood and even save electricity and bulbs. If your lamps don’t have dimmers on these, you can add you to the electrical cord for only a couple of dollars.
Barnes Vanze Architects, Inc
Location, Location, Location
Hang chandeliers about 30 inches above dining tables for optimum visual comfort. Install wall sconces 51/2 feet above the finished floor or 15-18 inches above a mantel.
Wall-mounted lights flanking a bed ought to be put 21 inches above the top of the mattress or 42 inches above the finished floor, given you’re using a typical 21-inch-high mattress. Set it 45 inches away from the ground with a 24-inch mattress, and 48 inches for a 27-inch mattress.
If light has you stumped, there are resources out there to help you. Architects, interior designerskitchen and bath designers can help with your illumination requirements. Lighting designers are specialists trained in the craft of light; they can be especially useful when dealing with new construction or a major remodel.
More: Find a light designer near you