The ways you choose to light your home, inside and out, affect the overall mood, pace and feeling of your living areas. Here are some top-notch interior design lighting definitions, tips and tricks you can use to create the perfect space you’ve always dreamed of, simply with lighting!
The 1, 2, 3s of Lighting Styles
- Pot lights can be a good source of overall lighting. When incorporating these lights into your interior design, take into account both the ceiling height of the space and the beam spread the housing provides to select the proper fixture.
- Lighting creates mood and affects activity. For ambient lighting, where you want a calming effect, lower the levels with dimmers and use a warmer light. The opposite of this is a strong, overall bright white/blue light (possibly fluorescent) used in places such as Walmart, for example, to create a fast paced environment.
3. Task Lighting
- Pot lights are more versatile on a gimbal (swivel head within a housing to direct light).
- LED (light emitting diode) lighting can be used in areas such as stair treads, both indoors and out.
- Puck lighting is typically used for under-cabinet lighting in kitchens or built-ins.
Outdoor Lighting Affects Interior Design
- Use outdoor lighting to visually expand your interior space at night. Picture a dark evening; you’re enjoying a family dinner at the dining table. You look outside to see a black abyss. If you install ‘up-lights’ at the base of your trees or other outside features, you will expand your interior space to include the outside and create real ambience.
- Light the features of your home, not the windows, which creates glare. Think of highlighting woodwork or other details that are special to your home.
- Light changes in grade. LED lights are especially good for this application.
- Consider ‘up-lighting’ your front porch or entry way, especially if you have woodwork details on the porch ceiling.
- Wall sconces on either side of the front door add atmosphere and style.
- You may have spent thousands on a gorgeous front door, now highlight it with a flood of light so you can truly enjoy it when returning home from a long hard day. Achieve this by installing a pot or floodlight on a gimbal.
Dos and Don’ts for Interior Design with Lighting
Do not, under any circumstance place a pot light directly over a bathroom vanity, as it will make you (and your guests) look very scary. Instant bags under the eyes aren’t a good look for anyone!
Avoid placing lights in direct line with windows to eliminate glare. For example, if you have a dining room chandelier in line with French doors to your backyard, avoid the glare by dimming the chandelier and installing small ‘down-lights’ on either side of the chandelier, mounted flush within the ceiling. This light washes down to your table (for task lighting) and doesn’t reflect, or create a nasty glare off your French doors.
Don’t forget to consider how you will change the bulbs of the fixture you are installing (re-lamping). If you install a vanity light close to the ceiling and the glass can only be removed by sliding it up the fixture, you’ll hit the ceiling and won’t be able to remove the glass or change the bulb! Types of bulbs can make re-lamping easier or more difficult, as well, such as a screw in bulb vs. a pronged bulb. Plan ahead on this one.
Consider your age. Our eyes change as we age and make our environment darker and sometimes more yellow. To counteract this, use higher kelvin (the amount of light emitted through a bulb) bulbs and more white/blue light (typically found in fluorescents).
Practical Interior Design Can Save Money
- Use dimmers and lighting controls such as motion sensors. Auto dimmers are great; they heighten the light level as you enter a room and dim it down again as you leave. Motion sensors (not just for the back porch!) are perfect in pantries, laundry rooms and closets, places where your hands are typically full and you can’t access the switch easily.
- Check the www.bchydro.com website for information on available grants.Finally, the most important thing to consider in utilizing effective and attractive lighting in your home’s interior design is working with a professional, such as an experienced interior designer, to optimize the layout and fixture selection. The results will be well worth it.
Nisha MacNeil is the lead custom home designer at Kerr Construction, award winning renovation company and custom home builder in Vancouver.
Creative Commons Attribution: Permission is granted to repost this article in its entirety with credit to Kerr Construction.