Light Up Your Life – Fabulous Lighting 101
When it comes to design – it really does not matter how much time you take selecting colors, arranging your tablescapes, hanging a beautiful art piece or displaying your family heirlooms if it is not lighted properly. In fact, when you even begin to think about redesigning your home – or even just a room – lighting should be at the very top of your list. If you want to really put the fab in fabulous when you give your big reveal of your new foyer or bedroom – the sure way to leave their jaw dropping is bring to life your room, with light.
In Fabulous Lighting 101 I am going to talk about different types of light – because there are many different ways to approach how you light your room, and you may even want to play and layer the different types of light – but I will only say it once, and I will say it right now. Florescent lighting is NOT, I repeat, is NOT a type of lighting. (whew, I just had to take a deep breath there…)
There are four basic types of lighting that can, and should be used to achieve the best lighting design. They are: ambient lighting, task lighting, accent lighting, and decorative lighting.
Ambient lighting fills the undefined areas of a room with a soft level of general light, enough for someone to navigate through the room.
Task lighting is a bright light that illuminates a particular area where a visual activity, such as food preparation, or reading takes place.
Accent lighting is similar to task lighting in that it consists largely of directed light. Accent lighting is used to focus attention on artwork, or architectural features, to help set a mood or provide drama in decorating your space.
Any of the three previous categories of light can come in the form of Decorative Lighting. Decorative lighting draws attention to itself, and can sometime be the centerpiece or focal point of a room. A Dining Room Chandelier is a perfect example of this. It is very important that you select the proper type of decorative lighting to create the environment you desire.
Now that we have covered the basic types of lighting, we need to remember the “rules of lighting.” Now, I would like to preface before hand that rules do not apply to me – but you may find them helpful (wink wink).
One very basic – but oft forgotten rule of fabulous lighting is to just put the dang light where you need it! However – unfortunately it is as not as simple as that, but at least we have a good starting place. Balancing the light is essential to creative an effective spread of light through each room. Since you will be lighting more than one room, you will want the light to flow effortlessly between rooms. Just think – even Broadway and the movies hires a lighting guy, so there is somewhat of an art to creating your “lighting design.” As you can see in the pictures above – light is naturally layered in a room. What you want o determine is the focal point or points in each room. A focal point is where you want to direct the light. Any room with multiple focal points will have added “fab” to it, as it will be the most visually interesting. The brightest layer of light is on the focal point, the middle layer will offer light in specific areas without detracting from your family heirloom Blue and White Porcelain Collection. The last layer fills in the background.
The first two layers are supplied by task and/or accent lighting, depending on what is being lit. The third and lower-level ambient lighting is usually indirect like that provided by wall sconces. Once the essential layers are in place the decorative pieces can be added.