For Fun Friday // Lighting

Today we're talking all about lighting and we cannot express enough how important it is.  It can completely transform a space; from the colors, textures, functionality and the overall design.  When designing your lighting plan, it is best to think about it in three different layers.  Your first layer is ambient lighting, second is task lighting and third being your accent lighting.  This will help you create a cohesive look for your space.

1. Ambient Lighting

Ambient lighting is the most important layer of lighting.  Though, visually, it is not always the most exciting, it is essential for the function of your space.  Think of ambient lighting as general lighting, such as the recessed cans in your ceiling.  Its purpose is to evenly illuminate your room so you don't trip over the shoes left in the hallway or knock your knees into that pesky bed frame. 

Design: Studio McGee / Photo: Travis J Photography

Design: Studio McGee / Photo: Travis J Photography

Some things to keep in mind:

  • Out with the old, in with the new. Lighting is always evolving and we must evolve with it.  Be gone with the incandescent, hello LED.  There are so many benefits when switching to LED.  They are energy efficient, they have a longer lifespan and are much more cost efficient in the long run.  Don't worry about missing the warm color of your old incandescent because LED's can pretty much emulate any color that you desire!
  • Just say no to Swiss cheese.  Don't get us wrong, we love cheese, just not when it comes to our ceilings.  The last thing you want to see are a bunch of holes in your ceiling, hence the Swiss cheese reference.  We suggest scaling down from a 6" can to a 4-5" recessed can.  One light for every four square feet is a good place to start.
  • Don't overdo it.  It's okay to have a lower lumen when it comes to ambient lighting.  You want enough light to be comfortable for your eyes but nothing too harsh.  Let your task light do the job when more light is required.

2. Task Lighting

Task lighting comes in many different shapes and forms.  This is where you can get a little creative with fun fixtures while giving the task light a sole purpose.  Task lighting is to spotlight a specific area.  Some common areas that require a task light are, kitchen counter tops and islands, desks, bathroom vanities, bedroom side tables and over the arm of a living room sofa.

Design: House of Jade

Design: House of Jade

Source: Decor Pad / Design: Allard Ward Architects

Source: Decor Pad / Design: Allard Ward Architects

Some things to keep in mind:

  • Light it up. Unlike your ambient lighting, you want your task light to be bold and bright but only in a small area.  If you're having trouble and feel as though your space may be too dim or too bright, you can measure your area 's square footage and multiply it by 50 to get the minimum lumen level for your space.
  • Placement is key.  Your placement is very important when it comes to task lighting.  You want to avoid heavy shadows and blinding glares.
  • Make it adjustable.  Different levels of light allows you to use your light and work space for different functions.  This also goes for the movement of the fixture.  Moveable arms and shades allow for more detailed work to get done.
  • Don't forget about your Kelvins.  Color temperature is so important, especially when it comes to certain tasks such as sewing or reading.  When doing certain tasks like painting or sewing a cooler "daylight" tone, 4000K, is ideal for true color and precision.  When doing something more relaxing, like reading, a warmer color, 2700K, will be easier on your eyes.

3. Accent Lighting

You've heard it before but we'll say it again, accent lighting is the jewelry of your design.  Think chandeliers hanging above your dining room table or those funky pendants over your kitchen island.  It really is that extra layer that will make your space pop!  When it comes to accent lighting there really are no rules.  With that said, there are somethings to keep in mind.  Find out below!

Design: Pure Salt Interiors / Photo: Stephanie Anderson

Design: Pure Salt Interiors / Photo: Stephanie Anderson

Design: Becki Owens

Design: Becki Owens

Somethings to keep in mind:

  • Scale! Depending on the size of your space should indicate the size of your lighting fixture.  We're not saying to not go big, but just don't go too big or things will start to feel off-balanced.  That goes for using fixtures that are too small as well.
  • Fashion over function.  We are a firm believer of using products that both are functional and pretty to look at but accent lighting is one of the rare times you can get away with using a product for its form rather than its function.  If you can find a fixture that does both, then great!  But you can leave that job to your ambient and task lighting.
  • Highlight it up!  Accent lighting isn't only the pretty fixtures but it can also be light to highlight your prized artwork on the wall or to bring the attention to an architectural element in your space.