Wednesday, February 23, 2011


Lighting planning is often overlooked, or left to the last minute and then unfortunately, hasty decisions are made. Lighting your interiors should be considered along with the space planning and furniture planing as it relates directly to how each space is perceived and used. You could have the best interior design in the world but unless you have made provisions to light it properly, it could disappear into oblivion.

Poor lighting selection can wash out colour and texture, and make the room look less than ordinary. Even more of a problem is when the lighting is just not working efficiently in your space.

However, carefully considered interior lighting can greatly enhance even the simplest of interior design features.

This issue provides some simple advice for lighting your home.
When planning your lighting here are the first things you need to think about:

Take a look around your home. What d├ęcor makes you the most comfortable? Look through magazines and find pictures of rooms that appeal to you. If possible, have color chips or fabric samples ready for when you make your lighting purchase.

Know what the area is used for
You will need different lighting for doing homework or food preparation then you will need for dining, entertaining or just passing through. Some areas will serve multiple purposes so you may need different types of lighting in a single location.

How big is it?
Scale is important. Take a look at the size of the room. You have to keep the fixtures in proportion to the room.

If you have a 10’ ceiling in your dining room,-a-3 tier 21-light chandelier will not work. Likewise, if you have a double sink vanity in the bathroom with 3 mirrors one 18” vanity bar will not be adequate.

Where does the sun shine?
That’s right! Natural light plays a large role in the type of lighting you need. It is always important to consider both daytime and night-time lighting when choosing lights for your room or home. Even the same paint colour used in opposite facing rooms will appear different.

Finding the perfect light is not going to solve all of your problems. The light you use to cut vegetables won’t be the right light for a cocktail party just as the light you use for reading the newspaper is unlikely to be the right one for watching movies on the big screen T.V. You need to look at what activities actually happen in a room and design layers of light using General, Accent and Task lighting accordingly. The idea is to give the lighting in your home as much flexibility as possible. 

Take the kitchen for example. You will need a top layer of general lighting provided by overhead lighting. This will make the day to day, activities possible. You will also need a middle layer of task lighting, utilizing under-counter or other types of lights to highlight your work areas, and you should try adding a bottom layer of accent lighting to add sparkle to a china cabinet or for an ambience glow under the toe kick. Using all three layers creates a flexibility with your lighting design to create just the right atmosphere, whether it is for preparing a seven course dinner, grabbing a quick cerveza from the fridge or enjoying appetizers at a dinner party, and pay attention to the switches.  Make sure you can operate the different layers independently as well as having the ability to light just certain areas of the room so that multiple environments can be created. Adding dimmer switches on lights gives you an even wider range of possibilities.

Find our more in the next blog when we cover the basic types of lighting:
There are three basic types of lighting - general lighting, task lighting and accent lighting.
A good lighting plan will incorporate all three.

Use the basics to create layers of light to provide illumination, make tasks easier and highlight key design features. Learn how next time....

General considerations when selecting interior lighting for new or existing spaces:-
Light in the room needs contrast and/or shadow. If it is too even, then it will become
bland and give little stimulation and feel like a cold, soul-less room.

Consider texture in the light effect. A strong direct light focused on a heavily
textured wall of stone or stucco will flatten it, so you lose the night-time beauty of
the textured wall. Enhance architectural elements with lighting —don’t ignore

Remember that the lighting is there as the accent to your interior design. It is not
just function, it shows the form.
General Considerations for a Lighting Plan