|General Illumination can be simple or sublime!|
Task Lighting reinforces general illumination. Their purpose is to focus light in a specific direction to illuminate activities. They are used in kitchens for food preparation, in living rooms, bedrooms, and any room for reading, and bathrooms for shaving or putting on make-up. Although task lighting is deemed utilitarian, fixtures can be very decorative, and enhance a room’s overall decor. Decorative task lighting can be pendants in kitchens that illuminate islands, cooking areas, and dining tables. Desk lamps and floor lamps for reading come in a variety of styles, sizes, shapes, and colors to complement any décor. Bathrooms require task lighting over mirrors, and there is a fixture to match any style. Track lighting adds a contemporary look to task lighting, and is very versatile. You’d be amazed by the variety that is currently available. Accessory fixtures can be attached to the track to focus light in any direction.
Decorative Lighting creates the mood and atmosphere of a room as well as adding beauty and comfort. The character of a fixture’s design, shape and size can make or break an entire decorative scheme. Table lamps offer the greatest flexibility. They can be placed wherever they are needed, and the selection is limitless. Floor lamps work well in tight spaces where there is not enough room to comfortably fit a table. Swing arm lamps are wonderfully effective space savers. They can be used bedside, on the ends of couches, next to a corner chair for reading. Decorative lighting fixtures can provide direct downward light, indirect light that spreads light upward, or both to create different and interesting effects. Highly ornamental lighting including those with colored glass (Tiffany style) and glazes are not truly functional, and should be used as accents. They fit into the next category.
|This wall mounted sconce |
enhances the entire decorative scheme
|A pair of sconces in an entry|
adds a welcoming touch
Specialty Lighting consist of accent pieces that are used to highlight, provide drama and effect. Wall mounted sconces fall into this category. They can change the entire atmosphere of a room. By adding a pair to an entry hall, entering a home feels more inviting than just being greeted by harsh light from an overhead fixture. You see sconces most often flanking fireplaces to add interest to the focal point. Cove lighting is very effective in dining and living rooms. Lights are placed behind ceiling molding that runs around the perimeter of a room. Cove lighting is a good substitute for recessed lighting if you are unable to have recessed lighting installed. Decorative lights built into glass front cabinetry in kitchens add a feeling of spaciousness to the room. Illuminated library shelving highlights books and accessories. Lights that draw attention to alcoves and niches add dimension to a room. Picture lights, those mounted directly over a painting, spotlight the work of art, and adds sparkle. Uplights behind plants add drama. Ornamental lights are works of art by themselves can be placed strategically in a room for dramatic effect.
Since most rooms perform a variety of functions, rooms must have a variety of fixtures. The most effective way to use lighting is layering where several functional types are used in combination. Choices may be limited by the height of your ceiling, your design scheme, and the style of your home.
Living room lighting plans begin by selecting fixtures for general illumination, usually recessed lighting with appropriate spots to focus on art and sculpture, and floods for overall soft illumination. Table and floor lamps are added to define conversation areas, then task lighting is added to cozy reading corners or to desks. Specialty fixtures, used selectively, add a unique quality to the ambience of the room.
Kitchens need overhead light for general illumination, task lighting for food preparation like under counter lights, pendants, or close to the ceiling track lighting with directional fixtures.
Bathrooms with only overhead lighting are a decorating disaster. Even with task lighting above the mirror, the result is still unflattering. The addition of sconces on either side of the mirror provides more flattering and focused lighting. An adjustable wall mounted magnifying mirror with its own lighting is a great accessory for those of us needing glasses.
|Cove lighting is a wonderful alternative|
to recessed lighting, giving additinal
|A beautiful Specialty Light|
still serves as my nightlight.
All lighting should be adjustable, whether you use 3-way bulbs or dimmers to control the amount of light. Exposed bulbs, like those in some chandeliers, should be frosted to cut glare. Tinted bulbs can achieve a variety of effects. Experiment with them. I use pink bulbs in some of my living room lamps when I entertain. Pink light is very flattering to me and my guests.
The entire decorative scheme of a room is influenced by lighting. Begin by assessing your needs and making a plan. Consider the amount of lighting each room needs, where it should be placed, and the type of illumination. Find the balance between gloom and glare. In most rooms you’ll find that a balance of general illumination, task, and decorative lighting accomplishes great results. Good lighting not only beautifies a room, it also considers the people in it.
Need help with your lighting and decorating needs? Hire a decorator. You’ll save time, energy, and money!
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