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Lighting Matters in Interior Design

When you’re designing your home, you spend so much time and effort to get everything just

right. There are a million decisions, from color palettes to cabinet pulls.

But one thing that’s often overlooked is the importance of good lighting for creating the right ambiance. A well-lit room feels inviting and spacious, while poorly lit spaces can feel cramped and uncomfortable.

But a room with lighting that is too bright and harsh also feels uncomfortable. It's essential to consider the overall lighting plan when designing a room. This week I’ll dive into the reasons lighting is so important for creating a space that’s both beautiful and functional.

Functionality and Practicality

Lighting is perhaps the most important part of your design, so you need to think about it at the very start of the design process to ensure your designer, contractor and electrician have the time to plan for everything you want and need. Without proper lighting, even the most beautifully designed room can become a frustrating and impractical space.

Good lighting also helps balance our circadian rhythms and can help elevate our mood during the dark, winter months. The kitchen, for example, is a room where task lighting is crucial. No one wants to work in a dark kitchen. Recessed lights in the ceiling can really brighten the room while you’re cooking and cleaning. Under-cabinet lighting illuminates the countertops, which makes food preparation easier and more efficient. Using pendant lights above the island creates an attractive focal point in the room, while also providing light for cooking, eating, or casual conversation.

The living room typically requires a combination of ambient, task, and accent lighting. Overhead fixtures, like a chandelier or recessed lights, provide lighting for general use, but you’ll still want floor lamps, table lamps and/or sconces placed strategically around the room for activities like reading or working on a laptop. Accent lighting, such as track lighting or picture lights, can be used to highlight artwork or architectural details.

Setting the Mood

dimly lit room with warm incandescent light bulbs

In addition to its functionality, lighting can also set the mood and create a specific atmosphere in your space. The intensity and placement of light fixtures contribute to the overall feel of the room.

Warm, soft lighting can evoke feelings of coziness and relaxation. Think of a dimly lit bedroom with soft bedside table lamps – it creates a tranquil and inviting atmosphere.

On the other hand, bright, white lighting can energize and invigorate, making it ideal for spaces like home offices or fitness areas. Even in rooms where you don’t want bright lights all the time, it might be a good idea to install overhead lighting for those times when you need it for cleaning or working on home projects.

Architectural Emphasis

As an interior designer, I can show you how use lighting to accentuate architectural features in your home. Whether it's a beautiful, vaulted ceiling, an exposed brick wall, or an intricate

staircase, the right lighting can draw attention to these elements and make them the focal point of the room. Cove lighting, for instance, can be installed in the ceiling or along the base of walls to wash light upwards and create a soft, indirect glow that highlights architectural details. Recessed spotlights can be strategically placed to illuminate your favorite art, turning them into stunning centerpieces in your rooms.

Versatility in Lighting Makes Your Interior Design Plan

industrial styled pendant lights

Lighting fixtures come in a stunning array of styles, shapes, and sizes, which gives you plenty of options for every design style. However, too many choices can often be overwhelming. I can help you define your style and navigate the choices so that you feel less overwhelmed.

For example, if your style is minimalist and modern, you’ll probably want sleek and understated fixtures to blend into your design while providing the light you need. On the other hand, if you prefer a vintage or rustic design, you probably prefer options that create a charming, nostalgic atmosphere. I can help you narrow your choices by presenting you with a few options at a time to keep you from feeling overwhelmed.

Lighting is not just a functional aspect of interior design; it can transform spaces, influence

emotions, and enhance the beauty of a room. By carefully considering the type, placement, and intensity of lighting fixtures, you can create a space that is both beautiful and highly functional. So, the next time you're redesigning a room, remember the illuminating importance of lighting—it can truly make or break your interior design vision.


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