Interior lighting is the unsung hero of your home. It sets the tone for any purpose, from a soft, ambient mood glow to task lighting for productivity.
You don't need a degree in design or engineering to create a great atmosphere. It's easy! Lighting can be simple or complex, budget-friendly, or an investment. It's all up to you! Setup only requires common sense and personal preference.
Lighting lets you become an artist who paints a room with shade and contrast. Anything goes when there's a blank canvas in front of you. In no time, you'll become a skilled master.
In order to understand how lamps can work for you, first you need to understand what they do. Colors and tones provide different moods. Lower-temperature bulbs create a soft and warm glow for a welcoming feeling of peace and relaxation. Optimistic yellows and oranges are an ideal enhancement to living rooms and cozy alcoves where you want to unwind. Adding a neutral-colored shade to any lamp will further emphasize this atmosphere.
Cool colors are energizing and invigorating. They're what you'd expect to find in a commercial building, but also play a part in the home office and other busy areas. Workshops are prime locations for this type of lighting. Bulbs with higher temperatures create a smooth blue or white hue, which is associated with cleanliness and purity. Brightness also stimulates the ability to focus and see things clearly.
Now that you understand the basics, it's time to identify what you already have.
Examine the foundation. What type of lighting is already in your home? Do you like it? Does it fit the environment? Ask yourself these and similar questions. This is like priming your canvas. Once you gain an understanding of your current setup, you can figure out if you want to change anything about it. Then you can take things to the next level and begin to build upon your initial ideas.
Ambient lighting, also known as mood lighting, often mimics natural light, but with a slightly warmer tone. This is where lamps add an element of fun. If there are dark corners or spaces you want to bring out a bit more, add a lamp. Depending on your personal tastes and decor, you can go with simple minimalism, bold glam, or anything in between. Mix and match!
Set up two matching lamps for a clean look. Add a dozen in different areas and rotate their use so the room takes on different characteristics and unique shadows on a daily basis. Vary heights through styles and with tables. All this doesn't have to cost a fortune, either. For the budget-minded, secondhand shops offer unlimited potential.
Areas of specific concentration call for task lighting. This is where cooler colors play a key role.
Activities such as cooking, reading, and drawing all benefit from this type of light. Not only does it stimulate alertness, but increased visibility means better results. Task lighting does need to be carefully considered, though. Where ambient light provides leeway with its setup, task lighting is for a specific use.
The intensity of task lights works best in contrasting elements, meaning that a warm room with a cool desk or floor lamp is the best way to reduce glare. Also take placement into consideration to ensure you won't be casting a shadow over your project!
If you want to draw attention to a specific part of your home, accent lighting is essential. It's the detail-oriented part of your artistic endeavor.
Fundamentally, accent lighting serves as a spotlight or backlight that adds sophistication and depth, concentrating on a focal point while casting shadows around it, enhancing its prominence and importance. Decor such as paintings or a trinket shelf are prime candidates for accent lighting.
Light from above radiates an array of lively vibes. Chandeliers spice up any room and cast amazing shadow art for an effortless boost in style. Pendent lamps are extremely versatile, providing ambient lighting with neutral shades, task lighting with dark shades, and even accent lighting when hung over a special space. Recessed, canister, and track lights are equally adaptable, affording a range of uses.
Wall lighting is all about presenting a clean look. Ideal for people who don't care for cords, sconces and fixtures are art unto themselves. Nevertheless, they can easily pull their weight when it comes to a multitude of lighting purposes. From highlighting architecture to illuminating a hallway, wall lighting is all about flexible and classy utility.
When decorating with light, it's important not to overlook furniture. Desks need lamps. Sofas benefit from a bookend-style of lighting for balance. A floor lamp placed to the left of a comfy chair adds style and function. Nightstands with complementing bedside lamps are a classic go-to for an instant change in mood. Overhead lighting improves dining tables.
Make sure to use lamps that fit well with their purpose. Blending styles is perfectly okay, but consider the risks you're willing to take. A large lamp on a small table will appear awkward and is a potential tipping hazard, for example.
Stick with what's both aesthetically appealing and functional for its location and purpose. If you have children or pets, security should be a top priority. You want to keep your home as safe as possible while still creating an artistic atmosphere that will last until you decide to refresh your canvas and paint another picture.