Home Interior Lighting Fundamentals of The Pros

Your home’s Interior Lighting Plan affects the attitude and mood your rooms project.

Lighting can make a space feel playful, welcoming, romantic or cold. It can draw out and showcase other design elements like color, furnishings, art, architectural features and varied material surfaces and textures. It can also overpower and “wash-out” those design choices so that they virtually disappear.

The interior design lighting fundamentals that follow will take you a long way. With a little study, thought and planning, you can come up with a terrific lighting scheme to match and complement your overall interior design plan.

Lighting includes both artificial and natural light.

Most of us love natural light and go out of our way to bring as much as possible into our homes. Thinking about your main sources of natural light is a great place to start your overall interior lighting plan.

If you’re planning a major interior design face-lift and natural light brings you joy, look to where your can add new sources. Installing French doors, skylights, glass block, larger windows and new door units with sidelights (side windows) are all ways to bring more natural light into your home.

An important tip when purchasing new windows or skylights is to make sure they have low E glass…Low E stands for low emissivity and refers to an invisible metallic coating that gives glass insulating properties and really protects against fading.

When laying out a plan for your different fixtures, you’ll be considering the three main types of artificial light. They’re categorized by their functions.

Ambient lighting is overall, general illumination of an otherwise dark space. Besides traditional ceiling fixtures, Ambient lighting can come from flood style lights in recessed ceiling fixtures or surface mounted track lighting. Lamps that provide lighting for smaller room conversation areas and reading nooks near bookshelves are also sources of ambient light as their light combines with and contributes to a room’s overall general lighting. Upward illumination from wall sconces is a popular trend in ambient lighting.

Task lighting, as its name implies, are light sources directed on areas–a bathroom vanity, a kitchen counter, a reading chair–where greater light is needed to perform a specific task. Reading lamps, under-cabinet fixtures, hanging pendant lights and spot lights in recessed ceiling fixtures are all examples of Task lighting.

Accent lighting will be the third source of illumination you include in your plan…Accent lights can be spot lighting that illuminates a painting, an architectural feature or a wall of books. Wall washer lights are floods directed on walls to highlight interesting texture, multiple art pieces, or simply an accent color.

Candles and the light from a fireplace create a special kind of Accent lighting. Sometimes called kinetic lighting, because of the movement of flame, these sources always provide warm, fascinating and original plays of light off painted and reflective surfaces.

Lamps and Decorative Fixtures serve dual design functions being both a source of light and also objects of interest. They can and should be art objects in themselves, contributing to the overall interior design effect. They can even be a room’s focal point, as is often the case with a Dining Room chandelier. Or, they can create a great contrasting accent of color or texture.

As you think about and work out your home interior lighting plan, take time to familiarize yourself with the many styles of fixtures and lamps available. Part of your job is to compile a budget, and lighting cost vary greatly from fixture to fixture and from supplier to supplier. Sometimes quality is reflected in the cost…and sometimes it’s not. Lighting specialty stores and lighting departments in home remodeling centers are usually staffed with knowledgeable salespeople who can help you refine your choices. These stores along with websites of lighting suppliers and online interior design stores are great places to discover fixtures that will suit your needs at your individual budget.