Perfect Lighting for The Home To Light Up Your Life

As a photographer I understand how important lighting is, not only to create a mood, but also help people look their best.

Many stores, government offices, bars and restaurants employ lighting schemes that are so uncomplimentary they are almost off-putting. When I think about lighting up a room, I regard the room as painting, with light to highlight certain features and details, much like the way I light up a face in photography. I approach the room like I had a paintbrush and I was painting with light.

Think of the lighting in your HomeSpace as a magical layer. I am a big fan of dimmer switches because I love the option to turn those featured light elements lower to create a mood. If a restaurant is overlit I won’t go back, no matter how great the food is. There is nothing more uninviting that an overlit room. Anywhere. You deserve to enjoy a great meal and look good doing it. Would you want to live in a 7-Eleven? Exactly…You want to make your HomeSpace, your guests and yourself look great, and too much light isn’t going to bring sexy back.
Lighting is a three-layer consideration:

  1. The first layer is what I refer to as ambient light. This is a nice, even light that allows you to see the overall space and can be achieved by soft interior lamplight, diffused wall sconces, recessed lighting or a hanging ceiling light source with a soft shade or cover.
  2. The second layer is the accent lighting that highlights architectural details, artwork, wall textures and colors, and any points of interest you want to feature in a room. Think of this as painting the room with light to add dimension, interest and detail. These lights can be recessed or track lights, wall sconces, spotlights, track lighting, LED rope or tape light, up lights set in the floor and certain lamps.
  3. The third light layer is task or work lighting, used for areas that you need to illuminate so you can see what you are doing. Areas like your wardrobe, bathroom mirror, inside closets and cabinets, kitchen preparation areas, pantries, reading areas, your office desk and outside your front door and entryway.

It’s important to note that some lights can serve a dual purpose and act as two layers of lighting at the same time. For instance, downlights can be used for general illumination (ambient) and accent lighting. Similarly a wall sconce can provide accent and task lighting.

Beyond the three-level lighting scheme that you are creating, there’s the option to bring in a fourth layer, achieved with an open flame. Tea-light votives and pillar or scented candles add a magical touch to any room. Lanterns with pillar candles or bulbs offer a beautiful light and interior feature. Another light source, if you are lucky enough to have it, is a fireplace. Much like candlelight, a flickering fire adds a special warm glow to any room.

Lighting is a great way to highlight Anchors in your HomeSpace, and the lighting fixtures themselves may be considered Anchors. In your entryway, for example, a beautiful hanging light or table lamp makes a wonderful first impression. Consider the function as well as the style of the lights you choose for your HomeSpace.

How do you plan to use lighting in your HomeSpace? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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