Proper lighting is tantamount to the overall enjoyment of a space, whether a home or business. Not only can lighting be functional, allowing you to work and complete tasks and to appreciate the overall design of the room, it also goes a long way towards creating a unique, personal ambiance and can be a design focal point in and of itself.
When you’re planning a space, lighting is one of the most important elements to think about. You get to decide what you want to illuminate and the way in which you want to. Creating a mixture of light sources gives you much more flexibility in controlling the look and mood of the environment. Using overhead fixtures, sconces, and decorative lamps at different heights can provide wonderful variety.
The first thing to think about is the functionality of the space itself, how many fixtures you’ll need, and of what type. For example, if you are illuminating a breakfast bar in a kitchen, 2-3 pendant fixtures might be sufficient, depending on the size of the bar.
Always take a look at the wattage and bulb type of the fixture to get a sense of how bright or dim the output will be. It’s crucial to note the maximum wattage of a fixture and decide if it is high enough for your needs. Some fixtures can easily be down lamped to lower wattage bulbs if you need to soften the output, but to avoid safety issues you can never exceed the maximum wattage listed.
Overhead- We’ve come a long way from the chunky recessed can lighting and bulky track lighting of past decades. If you have a large space to light, a mixture of small aperture recessed fixtures can be paired with a show-stopping chandelier or precisely placed pendant groupings to cover both practical and aesthetic needs.
Dimmable recessed lighting can go a long way towards creating lighting level flexibility from day to night. If you have art you want to highlight, whether on the walls, in alcoves, or as freestanding pieces, directional recessed lighting can allow you to put the focus exactly where it should be.
Chandeliers and Pendants-Not every space can be outfitted with recessed lighting. Perhaps you’re working with a space that only has a single ceiling junction box or limited electrical. No matter if you are using a decorative overhead fixture as your main light source, or more as adornment within an already well-lit space, these types of fixtures can really enhance a room.
We love using a sculptural chandelier or pendant as a centerpiece, which truly becomes a piece of art within the room. For smaller spaces, consider a pairing of interesting pendants, which can be quite eye catching when suspended low over a dining table. Don’t be afraid to let your ceiling fixtures express a point of view- consider color, texture, shape, and impact. If your space is not equipped for hard wired ceiling fixtures, you might create a cozy reading nook in a corner, where you can suspend a swag type fixture near a wall outlet.
Sconces- Another fixture type that can bring drama to a space is the wall sconce. If you have existing sconces that don’t make your heart sing, it can be a simple matter to replace them with something new and fresh. We love sconces over a fireplace mantle or headboard, or framing a doorway, bathroom mirror, or other architectural feature. Again, even if you don’t have the ability to bring hard wired fixtures into the mix, you can select from a growing number of sconces that have a decorative cord cover integrated into the fixture design so you can access wall outlets as your power source.
Lamps- We often think of lighting as a room’s jewelry and lamps are a perfect example. Lamps can be put almost anywhere your heart desires. They can be used as task lighting at desks or reading lights near seating areas and bedsides. Floor lamps with arcing elements can ever provide a fair amount of area lighting when placed correctly. One of the benefits of lamps is that they are easily updatable. You can often rotate them through different spaces to get a new look. You can also switch out a shade shape or color for an inexpensive refresh or replace lamps entirely when your space needs reinvigorating.
LED Accents-With rapidly changing technology in the area of LED lighting, the possibilities are almost endless when it comes to illuminating specific areas in your home or business. You can place this type of lighting within architectural elements and furniture to create focal lighting, or use it as a framing device behind a mirror or piece of art to create a soft glow. The color, brightness, and overall effect is really up to you.
No matter what types of fixtures you choose, have fun with assembling your customized mixture that suits your needs. It’s always exciting to be able to express your style though lighting. Never underestimate the impact it can have, including how it makes you feel. Now, step into the space you’re placing new fixtures in and start visualizing!