Lighting for Décor and functionality
When we think of decorating or designing our homes, we spend endless hours imagining the furniture, colors, and layouts but we may overlook the same amount of effort on lighting. Often lighting is left to the last minute and doing this can make a space look odd, incomplete, or completely impractical.
Here’s what to do when considering the lighting in your décor:
- Use light fixtures that match the style of your interior décor. If you are considering decorating a new space, keep in mind that the light fixtures need to accentuate the design style you choose for the area. Using the wrong type of fixture can confuse the style in the space. Also, keep a flowing theme. For example, if your feature light pendant has a black base, try and get complimentary light fixtures in the room with the same color base.
- Make sure the lighting you choose is the correct size. A general rule of thumb is to use the room size to calculate the average size of the fixture needed for that room by measuring the length and width of the room and using the following formula: length + width = X. Whatever number you get is the size of the fixture in inches. For example, if a room is 12 ft. by 15 ft. the formula is 12 + 15 = 27 therefore, the fixture should be 27 inches wide. If the room is an open plan concept, use the same formula for the separate spaces you will create, for example, the living area, dining area, and nook.
- If you need to know the size of a fixture over a dining table, measure the width of the dining table and minus 12 inches. The remainder is the size of the fixture you should use.
- Along with the point above, if you have the option to install dimmer switches, do so! Light dimmers also give you the opportunity to change the lighting situation easily. Watching a movie in a dark room may not be ideal at home so having the option to dim the lights to your needs will create the atmosphere you need to enjoy a good movie.
- Remember that with light comes a shadow. Light fixtures with opaque shades or spotlights can cause harsh shadows where you may not want them. Consider the height and angle of overhead lights to ensure that the spaces you want to be lit are getting enough illumination. Light and shadow are also very useful in creating artful spaces, so don’t be afraid to play with that and emphasize where you want to.
- Warm, warm, warm light bulbs! I cannot emphasize this more. Cool white and daylight bulbs are fine for working environments but for most rooms in your home they are absolutely a no-no. Cool light provides a very clinical and stark setting for a home but is energetic and vibrant for workplaces. You could opt to use cool or daylight options for your kitchen, laundry, or home office/workshop areas. However, opt for warm/soft light in the other rooms in your home. Here is a guide from CNET.com on the color temperatures and uses:
- Soft white (2,700 to 3,000 Kelvin) is warm and yellow, the typical color range you get from incandescent bulbs. This light gives a warm and cozy feeling and is often best for living rooms, dens and bedrooms.
- Warm white (3,000 to 4,000 Kelvin) is more yellowish-white. These bulbs are best suited for kitchens and bathrooms.
- Bright white (4,000 to 5,000 Kelvin) is between white and blue tones. With a less cozy and more energetic feel, bulbs with this color range are best for workspaces (such as a home office or garage) and kitchens with chrome fixtures.
- Daylight (5,000 to 6,500 Kelvin) has a more bluish tone. This light color will maximize contrast for colors, making it ideal for working, reading or applying makeup.
7. When considering the temperature of lights, also keep in mind the energy use of various light bulbs. We are all responsible for caring for our environment and should ensure that we use bulbs that not only save you costs in electricity but can help in reducing the energy burden for a growing population. LED bulbs are somewhat expensive to buy, but in the long run, they save you money in power costs. However, if using dimmer switches be sure that the bulbs you buy are compatible with such switches.
Go ahead and light up your lives and have fun doing it!