When it comes time to decorate a home, owners think long and hard about furniture, paint colors and rugs. But lighting? That’s a subject often kept in the dark.
It shouldn’t be: Without the proper lighting, none of these other elements will shine.
“Light is a powerful thing,” Theo Richardson, director of development for a Brooklyn-based design studio, told the New York Times. “The right light lifts the mood, inspires productivity and motivates us. At home, light enlivens the little things – our morning routines, or the moments we spend with friends.”
The Times’ offers these tips:
Create layers of light: The goal is to “create contrast between the light at the center of the room and around the perimeter, and the darker spaces in between,” one designer explained to the Times. This means using light from many sources: overhead, accent and task lights. Think table lamps, lights trained toward the walls to accent art, and, says the designer, “a candle never hurt.”
Keep the kitchen bright: Think of recessed lights along the ceiling’s edge, pendants over a kitchen island and under-cabinet light. “Running LED light strips on the bottom of your upper cabinets is the easiest way to create an evenly lighted counter space for food prep and cooking,” notes the article.
Pay particular attention to north-facing rooms without sunlight: These need a little more TLC. In a dark bedroom, for example, you might install a central chandelier, up-lights in the corner of the room, bedside lamps for reading and more.
Use different techniques in the bathroom: Recessed lighting over a sink is a bad approach, notes one lighting expert. “[I]t casts shadows that are not flattering.” Instead, think of installing wall-mounted sconces. Also, consider adding motion lighting at the cabinet base, she notes. This creates “a very subtle glow” that can act light a night light if you wake up in the middle of the night.
Add light to corners: “When you have an empty and awkward corner, one trick of the trade is to transform that space with an oversized floor lamp,” notes a lighting store owner. This way “an otherwise lost corner instantly becomes an intentional, polished part of the overall room design.”
Use dimmers: Dimmers allow you to adjust the light according to the mood you’re seeking. Put dimmers on all the lights, rather than a wall switch that adjusts all the lights at one time. This allows greater flexibility.
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