Just recently my daughter, Sammi and I began a large project with new clients. The space is a beautiful high-rise condo overlooking Uptown Charlotte. Each room has an expanse of windows that are the length of the room. The view from these windows is spectacular to say the least. In fact, if you’re a football fan, you can see the Carolina Panthers’ Stadium as well as the gorgeous cityscape.
Because I’m all about natural light filtering into interior spaces, I love these windows for more than just the incredible view. With all the light that can come in on a daily basis, I know the psychological benefits my clients will derive from this. But aside from the natural light that comes into the condo, Sammi and I have a blank canvas to work with for other lighting choices. In fact, the entire space is a blank canvas for us, as we’ll be completely furnishing the new digs for our clients. Talk about fun!
A few days ago we sat down with the couple and discussed lighting options. I found myself explaining to them my philosophy about lighting and why lighting was a crucial element in home décor. While talking to them I told them a story about a client we had several years ago – a pro football player. We furnished his new home from top to bottom and of course we also paid much attention to the lighting detail in his home. After our work was complete, he had a house-warming party. Much to my amusement, when he hosted this first big party in his home he called me early the morning of and asked me to come over an hour before the party (we were attending the party) to turn on all the lights for the party. Clearly, he was still learning about all the lighting options we had created for him but at the same time, he understood the important WOW! Factor the lighting would make for his guests and so he wanted to make sure the mood was set when his guests began to arrive. I watched our two clients listen to this story and chuckle over it and yet; it was clear they, too were beginning to understand the importance of proper lighting in their own new home.
After leaving this meeting with our new clients I realized a simple lesson on lighting would be a great Blog post. So I hope you garner new insight on the impact lighting has in your own personal space. You see lighting plays a key role in creating beauty in your space. As an “armchair psychologist of the home” I believe that Living Beautifully = Living Well. Lighting, like every other choice you make in your home décor ultimately has psychological affects on you and anyone that spends time in your home. So, for the best feel good vibes you can get from your lighting, illuminate in layers.
Three “must have” layers of Lighting in your home
There are three layers of lighting you should use in your home lighting décor. When combined together they create a mood for your space. They are:
- Task Lighting
- Ambient Lighting
- Interest Lighting
Task Lighting – This type of lighting is what I call “general lighting” as it is the lighting that is used to identify spaces and allow for the rooms to be lit for safety, etc. This type of lighting is usually the overhead lighting in each room be it a chandelier in the center of the room, can lights spaced evenly on the ceiling of the room or a ceiling fan with an attached light.
Ambient Lighting – This type of lighting is what I call the “personalized lighting” as it is the lighting that is specifically chosen by the homeowners to be a part of the décor. This lighting can make or break the feel good vibes of your space and should be carefully planned out. Table lamps, floor lamps and wall sconces are all forms of ambient lighting.
Interest Lighting – This type of lighting is what I call “surprise lighting” as it’s the lighting that goes the extra mile to create atmosphere thereby adding to the warm fuzzies you get from being in the space. Picture lights, accent floor lights and yes, undermount cabinet lighting are all forms of interest lighting. (You may think undermount cabinet lighting is task lighting but it is so much more than that. It allows for added impact.)
All three of these forms of lighting should be part of your design plan for your home décor. Each of these layers creates a focal point of some kind in your space, regardless of its location in the room. Remember this and be cognizant of the impact each of these layers of lighting has on your space, particularly with how they combine for an overall affect. Also, be aware of what I call “the brightness factor” of lighting and understand that increasing OR decreasing the brightness of each form of lighting changes the space. For that reason in every home I work in, I make sure every single light can have flexible brightness. I drive my electricians crazy at times when doing ceiling and wall lighting because I require dimmer switches on E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G. I even put dimmers on undermount cabinet lighting in kitchens and bar areas. (Believe you me, when entertaining in your home or wanting to have simple low lighting on in the evening, undermount cabinet lighting in the kitchen sets the mood for relaxation!)
Minute Details of Lighting – Do’s and Don’ts
Pay attention to the minute details of your lighting. Here are some simple do’s and don’ts:
- Do use three way bulbs for your table lamps and dimmers for all other lighting.
- Do dust regularly ALL your lampshades and ceiling fans. (Obvious dust on ceiling fans is the worst of the worst.)
- Do hide all the electrical cords of your lighting as best and as safely as you can. (Visible cords take away from the beauty of your lighting.)
- Don’t use lampshades that are the wrong size or style for your lamps.
- Don’t leave the plastic protective wrappers on your lampshades.
I’m looking forward to all the ways the lighting for this new project will “brighten” the space and create real beauty within. I also look forward to the “ah-ha” moment our clients will have when they see the impact that these three layers of lighting creates! Most importantly, I look forward to how the lighting will make them feel, as I know their lighting is an important part of the décor that Sammi and I are intentionally adding to their space for living beautifully in order to live well. And for you, my hope is that the lighting in your space brings beauty and wellness to you and yours as well!
To lighting up life…