Renos - Where to Start #5 Create Effective Lighting

During my latest trip to the eye doctor, my optometrist recommended that I "perhaps pick up some of those reading glasses at the pharmacy".

I was like, 

"I'm only 38!" 

I do have my fair share of grey hair but I was less than impressed.

But his point was picking up a pair of low powered reading glasses, not that I need them, would simply take any strain off my eyes. They would simply make it easier for my eyes to work while reading. Less fatiguing and more enjoyable.

That, in essence, is effective lighting design within a room. You won't notice effective lighting. You will simply enjoy the room to its fullest. Poor lighting however, you most definitely notice. Rooms are too dark, its difficult to read, too hard to do detailed tasks or its over powering. 

I love lights! I know, that's weird, but it's the key aspect of a rooms design that highlights all the money and hard work you have put into a new renovation. It can bring out the colors within the flooring, highlight key design features or artwork and sets the tone/mood of the room. 

Think of an old Irish pub. 

I think of a warm environment defined by dark wood and warm low lighting. 

Think of an art gallery. 

I think of beautiful canvases silhouetted on the wall by spot lights. 

Lighting is how we show the room as we intended it to be. So how do you create the lighting design you desire? Today we will focus on the general aspects and get more specific as we move along. Lighting falls into basically three categories: Ambient, Task, and Accent. 

In any room you want at least two of the three as a minimum. Trying to light a room using only one will simply lower the overall quality and enjoyment of an area.

1. Ambient - General Lighting. 
    • If you think of an entrance area, these are often lite by ambient lighting. Usually a ceiling pendant or flush mount fixture of some sort.
    • These types of fixtures usually have a substantial shade, designed to diffuse the light creating ambiance and to highlight the fixture itself. This Gwen pendent is designed to bring attention to fixture itself while giving you some functional light.
    • Gwen Pendant
      • This type of lighting allows you to navigate the room with general lighting but adds to the style and decor of the room 
      • Ambient lighting is suitable for: 
        • ceiling lights in bedrooms, boot rooms, entrances
        • outdoor lighting
        • dinning rooms chandeliers/pendants
        • general kitchen lighting
        • hallways
    2. Task Lighting - as implied. 
      • Task lighting purpose is to provided specific lighting to one location for a specific task.
      • Depending on the room and your needs, you will often have multiple sources of task lighting in the form of floor lamps, table lamps, spot lights, over head lights, pendants and chandeliers. Having a floor lamp, such as this Gode Floor Lamp behind your favorite chair can provide the needed light to sit and relax for hours on end.
      • Gode Tiffany Floor Lamp
      • This can be a bedside table light, under cabinet lighting, office desk lamp etc. in order to give you the light needed to read, work etc.
      • Pendants and chandeliers, depending on the design, can provide a certain amount of task lighting for a kitchen/dining room table. In our small house, the kitchen table is home to homework, crafts, fine dinning, etc so the light fixture of choice is important for us to consider. 

      • A strictly ambient light fixture will limit the use of this area. So a fixture such as this can provide multiple roles. The down shades will cast light directly below for task lighting but also provides ambient light with the opaque glass shades.
    Belle Tiffany Mini Chandelier

    3. Accent Lighting - Highlights.

      • Accent lights are where you get to have some fun and highlight the unique nature of your rooms. 
      • Accent lighting most often is in the form of spot lights, track lighting, in cabinet lighting, back lighting and wall sconces. 
      • Some of the easiest ways to create a beautiful accent light is with wall sconces. These can flank a seating area or hearth and can cast light upward along the wall and the ceiling creating a beautiful indirect light that adds shape and form in the room.
      • Track lighting or spot lights can focus on pieces of artwork or unique features in the room such as a fireplace. 
      • This is where you can truly define a rooms purpose and feel. 
    So where do you start? Task lighting and accent lighting. In a large room such as below, it would be difficult to light the entire space with ambient lighting. The pot lights are trying to do just that. Focus on how and where the space will be used, start there. Remember, the larger the room, the more watts you will need to illuminate it adequately. Tough job for one light.
    Do you need the room to be flexible? Than lamps are a better starting point. If not then you can commit to installing wall sconces and ceiling lights. Otherwise in a large room such as this consider having floor outlets installed so task lighting can be used where it is needed, such as by the sofa.

    Take time to consider how you want the space to be used. Revisit Renos - Where to Start #4 It's Gotta Function, and ensure you have thought through this step. Then decided on what type of lighting will allow you to have the room you desire.

    Thanks for stopping by!

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