by Jenni Barnett
on Friday, November 12th, 2021 at 2:36pm.
Perhaps nothing within a space affects our perception and mood so much as lighting. From intensity to direction and hue, lighting greatly influences our ability to relax and feel welcome. Even so, it’s not uncommon for homeowners to invest a great deal of effort into furniture selection and arrangement, object placement, and paint colors – yet hardly spend any time deliberately choosing a lighting scheme.
Today, let’s talk about the nitty-gritty of overhauling or just installing a lighting system. As you read through our guide, jot down ideas as they speak to you. These rough notes can form a great foundation around which you’ll create a cohesive lighting plan.
1.) Why You Should Install Smart Controls
Once upon a time, only dimmer switches gave homeowners any control over the level of light they’d have from room to room. Now, though, smart switches and smart home lighting control panels are key to selecting the exact lighting scheme you’d like to use! Don't waste time going from light to light, adjusting settings directly; just install smart controls, and call up your dream lighting in a flash.
2.) Hard vs. Soft Lighting
In photography, filmmaking, and interior design, hard and soft light describe different approaches to light arrangement. Hard light is bright and direct, illuminating without softening or shading. Soft lighting illuminates indirectly, emanating from multiple sources, therefore wrapping around objects. Only fuzzy, diffused shadows can be produced by this kind of gentle lighting.
In a clinical setting like a surgeon’s theater or a manufacturing facility, hard lighting makes sense; we require it to see as well as humanly possible. In our homes, a kitchen is a zone that often works well with hard lighting, too! There’s a great benefit in being able to see into our pots and kettles with clarity.
Throughout the rest of your home, though, you’ll likely want to include options for soft, flattering lighting. By casting gentle illumination from multiple sources, your skin, furniture, and even walls will all look smoother—even more inviting.
3.) Your Home’s Texture, Finish, Scale, and Shape
As you design your home’s lighting plan, consider the texture, finish, scale, and shape of each room. For example, high-gloss paint on smooth walls and metallic finishes on fixtures are always reflective. Soft lighting will help you avoid eye-watering reflections from a room’s walls or furnishings.
Similarly, you’ll need to weigh a room’s overall scale while you’re shopping for lamps, shades, sconces, or chandeliers. Large, dramatic fixtures work well within expansive, vibrant interiors. It will always look strange to us when we see a massive fixture within a petite room—but no more out of place than a tiny table lamp within a vast great room.
Finally, shape. Whether due to the furniture you possess, the shape of the room in question, or your home’s overall shape, there may be special considerations that must be taken to ensure even, welcoming lighting. Do your best to avoid dark corners, hallways, and alcoves; the human mind will usually find that such zones invoke a sense of foreboding.
4.) Avoid Single-Source Lighting
Speaking of even lighting, we highly recommend that you install multi-source lighting from a variety of heights. In this way, you may be able to create multiple “levels” of lighting for each room within your home.
“Level 1” can be your softest, most diffuse, and coziest lighting mode. “Level 2” will be your average lighting scheme, best used for work, eating meals, board games, and socializing with friends and family. “Level 3” can be your daylight style lights, ideal for house cleaning, cooking, hand-crafting goods, and makeup application.
You may not need “level 3” in every room of your home, but it’s convenient to have in any large space, bathroom, and kitchen.
5.) Why You Should Choose Beautiful Fixtures
Sometimes, homeowners forget the difference it can make when lighting fixtures themselves are gorgeous. While crystal chandeliers aren’t practical in most modern homes, there’s something about choosing eye-catching fixtures that match your personal style that creates a sense of elegance and coherence in each room.
Think of it like this: if your light fixtures could be installed in any generic home without changing the space, it’s time to consider investing in pieces that you find personally appealing.
6.) The Ins and Outs of LEDs
In days gone by, the incandescent bulb, with its warm, unwavering glow, represented the pinnacle of modernity. Now, this spot at the top is occupied by LED bulbs.
LED bulbs are available in nearly any size, intensity, color, and style. From dimmable Edison bulbs to crisp and clear daylight bulbs, you can use LEDs to light rooms throughout your entire home. LED bulbs last far longer, cost less to operate, and are far more environmentally friendly than either incandescent or CFLs.
Once you have your cohesive lighting plan for your home, it’s time to create a list of the color, intensity, and style of bulb you’ll install in each spot.
7.) Furniture Lighting
One final consideration is furniture lighting. With LED strips, it’s possible to add lighting on top of shelving, under your kitchen cabinets, beneath your hutch, around your closet, and through your hallways.
You don’t have to settle for dim and dingy lighting anywhere within your home—and make no mistake, warm and cozy does not mean dingy!
Are you looking for your ideal home, and dreaming of the lighting scheme you’ll create when you find it? Reach out to Parks Realty! We are Middle Tennessee’s premier (and entirely local) resource for all things Real Estate.
If you would like to work with a professional on your home’s lighting, we’re happy to help! Get in touch, and we’ll recommend a skilled lighting expert to transform your space.
Alternatively, have you worked with an interior decorator whose skill with lighting is outstanding? Leave us a comment below! We would love to hear all about your experience.