Lighting isn’t talked about much. We know what we like when we see it (or how it makes us feel comfortable) but until I sought out information, I hadn’t been taught about scale, heights, what’s most flattering. It’s very personal as well. One universal truth: light from windows is better than any man made source. It’s real, it turns on at sunrise and dims at dusk. I, for example, am not a huge fan of overhead lighting. I like lamps, spots on art and have always had homes with lots of windows. The house we’re in now was remodeled about 8 years ago and has recessed lighting in every room (yes, EVERY room). I’ve grown to like it only because each room has a dimmer and we use them constantly to create the amount of light we need as well as the mood we want to set.
When I got interested in lighting I did some research – I’m a bit of a research geek. We’ll start with the “rules”, then you can adopt or not. 1. The first is having multiple sources of lighting, fixture placement, overhead and at eye-level. 2. A chandelier above a dining table should be 30-36″ (usually 30) above the table surface. 3. Lamps on end tables next to sofas or beds need to be 54″ tall when you add the height of the table and lamp. 4. Use “warm” light gives a slightly yellow cast and is considered calming, good for residences. 5. Entry halls, dining rooms and powder rooms are places for “statement:” pieces. Note that when hanging a chandelier in a foyer, allow for at least 7 ft clearance.
What I love about light in the picture below is that it doesn’t eat up the room and can be directed toward the bed for reading or stay over the table to highlight the end table. There are zillions of sconces on the market and many are fixed in one position, which I find limiting.
This is a new take on an older, classic look – having two lamps on a table behind a couch to give light to both sides. In this instance, they used floor lamps. If you have the room for these, great, but the bases take up much too much room for me. Note: referring back to “rules”….can you imagine this fixture being set at 54” above floor? It would ruin the look!
This is the new classic – the floor lamp with the long, graceful arch that hangs above the conversation area and is useful yet not too intrusive. In addition to that, there’s a table lamp to cover what might otherwise be a dark spot. LOVE or HATE? I love it!
Where to go bright? Where you work: the kitchen, the utility room, possibly a sewing room. These are places we’re active, so daylight bulbs that give off white/blue light is in order. That kind of light energizes us, moves us more. If we used those same lights in other areas of our home, they would cause us anxiety. Lighting done right gives you all the options you need without even realizing its happening. Often, it’s the light that causes us to call a room beautiful, and we aren’t even aware of it. (Architectural Digest)
This kitchen has both pendant lighting over the island and under cabinet lighting to illuminate the work space. Running LED light strips on the bottom of your upper cabinets is the easiest way to create an evenly lighted counter space for food prep and cooking. (Nathan Orsman, lighting designer based in NY) Another place to use LED light strips is under floating cabinets in bathrooms, my new favorite thing is cabinets that don’t go all the way to the floor as it creates more visual space in already small-ish rooms like bathrooms. On dimmers, these lights create a luxury look for a very small price
There are areas of speciality lighting that are both useful and beautiful…..in particular I like staircase lighting as my eyesight isn’t what it used to be.
“Today we don’t need to hire an interior designer to tell us what is capital-S stylish – we have Instagram for that – but the lack of personality that results from interiors group-think can be draining.” – Curbed.
Until next time…..be kind to each other!