Set the Mood
When deciding on lighting, ask yourself these questions: What activities take place in the room? What’s the layout? What decorative elements do you want to accentuate? In general, to create an inviting atmosphere, use three to five light sources in every room.
Coordinate Your Look
To simplify your decorating decisions, there are lighting collections available with the same finish and style. Using fixtures from the same collection within a single room creates a unified look.
Brighten Dark Spaces
Because dark colors absorb light, you’ll need to use more lighting in rooms decorated with dark colors than rooms with light colors. Something as simple as a table lamp or a floor lamp can illuminate a dark space.
Show Your Style
Lighting fixtures don’t have to blend into the background. More than ever before, they have become fashion pieces. Try pairing a textured lampshade with a neutral finish base. A new shade can change the whole look of a lighting fixture – and a room.
Control the Intensity
Add dimmer switches or use three-way bulbs in lamps to adjust brightness. To make rooms interesting, vary the height of the light sources in the room. The differing heights add depth and interest by creating separate areas of light and shade.
Attractive, well-lit rooms most often combine four types of lighting:
- Ambient or general lighting provides a safe and comfortable level of light. Such as wall sconces, flush-mounts, pendants and chandeliers.
- Task lighting supplies the intense directed light needed for detailed work. Such as desk lamps, work lights and under cabinet lighting.
- Accent lighting spotlights interesting features in your home's décor. Such as track lighting, recessed lighting and wall sconces.
- Natural lighting includes sunlight, candlelight and firelight. The quality of natural light changes depending on the time of day, weather, season and location of the room:
- A north-facing room receives less direct sunlight than a south-facing room.
- A west-facing room receives strong, warm light in the evening, casting an orange tint.
- An east-facing room receives strong, bright light in the morning, casting a white glow.
If your current lighting scheme employs only ambient lighting, you're missing a tremendous opportunity to add interest and vitality to your décor. Add task and accent lighting to change your ordinary room into one of distinction.
If your lighting design is complete, but the ambiance is a little off try changing the color temperature of your light bulbs. Look for a warm white color temperature for living rooms and bedrooms, bright white for kitchens and workspaces, and daylight for reading nooks and studies.