By Leanne Mueller | In-House Designer
As a designer here at the Burnsteads, I see that lighting is an incredibly important element when it comes to the design of a home. People often choose a light fixture or lamp because we think it is stylish and interesting, or maybe because it simply gets the job done. However, in the design process homebuyers often forget about the capabilities of lighting like how it can enhance a room, change the mood or setting, highlight artwork or unique features in your home, all while making all of your tasks easier. With a little thought and education you can select lighting that will be aesthetically pleasing, enhancing your room, while at the same time impart plenty of practicality and attitude.
Lamps vs. Overhead Lighting
When you have more than one light source in a room, you can change the mood with the flip of a switch! For example, when I personally entertain at my home, I like to turn off the overhead lights and turn on a few well-placed lamps to create a relaxing and flattering ambiance. On the contrary, when I am cleaning my room I will have the overhead can lights on for brighter more overall light. Placing all lights on a dimmer switch is also an excellent way to give your more flexibility with your light levels and ambiance.
Light Bulb Choices
Even the choice of light bulbs can change the way a room looks. For example, adding a soft white/warm white bulb creates a traditional warm and cozy feel, a more romantic light. Bright white/ cool white bulbs are more energetic, make your room appear white and colors crisp. These are not great for atmosphere, but are excellent for tasks, often used in garages. A daylight or full spectrum bulb is your “go to” when you are not sure which light is right. They provide the greatest contrast between colors, and are excellent for kitchens and bathrooms. Applying makeup, reading and an overall natural light without glare is what you will have with a daylight bulb.
Light bulbs have come a long way and there are numerous bulb styles and options to select from. Check out the attached information from Batteries Plus Bulbs for more detailed information and to see which type of light will work best for you.
Lighting serves three basic functions in a home: general, task and decorative or accent. All rooms benefit by using a combination of lighting types.
- General lighting gives overall background light, basically replicating natural daylight. It is typically a glare free light that bounces off walls and ceilings. Fixtures for general lighting include surface mounted ceiling lights and pendants. When a dimmer control is installed on a general lighting switch it can transform the light into accent lighting by lowering the level and creating a soft glow.
- Task lighting provides light where you need it for specific tasks, like reading, cooking, makeup, or even working on a computer. Examples of task lights are table lamps, under cabinet lights, spotlights and bathroom sconces.
- Accent or decorative lights provide highlights and add a bit of shimmer and color to a room without really lighting in a practical sense. Uplights, decorative wall sconces, picture lamps and candle lights are used as accent fixtures.
By taking the time to select the appropriate fixtures and bulbs and being thoughtful with the use of different light sources in each room, you will have the flexibility or create any interior environment you desire.