By Beth Armijo
Have you ever walked into a nicely designed home and somehow still felt a bit like you were in an interrogation room? Have you ever gone for coffee at an open air, naturally lit cafe and felt like you could comfortably sit there all day, maybe even find a corner and nap?
Both scenes are controlled by one of designs most transformative elements: lighting.
Lighting is often an afterthought or worse, completely ignored when it comes to designing a space. In an effort to help you prevent making one of designs most common mistakes we have broken down lighting and how to approach finding the right light for you, into approachable steps.
Lighting can be broken down into three layers, each serving a different function in the overall purpose of creating a warm and serene environment. The layers of lighting are ambient, accent and task. Each layer provides a central component in depth and texture.
Prior to bringing light into a space and energizing it with luminosity, we must experience the darkness of the room. Once we have identified where the most light is needed, we can team functionality with simple strategies to accomplish this design duty.
To achieve tranquil lighting follow these practical guidelines of your three layers of light:
Ambient lighting is the lighting we described in the café scene. It is natural light, or light that exists in a space before adding bulbs and switches into the equation. If you spend time in a space with wonderful natural lighting you know the illuminating effects it can have. If your space is lacking natural, ambient light you can use fixtures, pendants, chandeliers and mirrors to brighten up your space. These larger essentials should brighten larger spaces and make for a well lit room.
Accent lighting, or mood lighting is just that. It can create a tone to each space and is decorative in nature. Accent lighting can be as simple as adding a dimmer switch to already available ambient lighting, giving the option of softly lit larger spaces. Accent lighting is string lights draping a mantle, muted spotlights showcasing your favorite piece of art, or a vintage table side lamp you use to curl up next to and read. Its purpose is to create a vibe in your space and to bring an artful feel to the presence of light in your environment.
Task lighting is purposeful lighting brought into your space to illuminate everyday jobs at hand. Task lighting can be track lighting in your laundry room or cooking area, your desk lamp or a nice overhead bathroom dome lamp providing light to your showers. Task lighting is dutiful by nature and can be beautiful and thoughtful just the same. When adding task lighting remember it should be supportive of ambient lighting and not our main source of light in the room.
When working with adding light to a room, in each layer consider your style and what you want to achieve with the lighting. In today’s world of lighting design we are blessed with a plethora of light bulb choices. Remember to pay attention to the type of bulb and its luminosity. A good rule is to stay in between 2700k and 3000k.
In using these guidelines, think of the balance and depth of your space, consider the functionality of the room and decide how you want your environment to feel. Move forward from there with these simple steps and you will find yourself in a setting of serenity.