Lighting Made Simple
There is one universal truth in interior design: light is often what separates a good room from a great room. Many homeowners feel that lighting can be an overwhelming task that only paid professionals are capable of mastering. This could not be further from the truth. With a few pointers, some determination and a bit of experimentation, you can create stellar environments that will be the envy of neighbors and decorators alike.
To get started, you should look at lighting like a three-layer cake (but please don’t start eyeing a light bulb like your next tasty snack—this will lead to a trip to the emergency room and you will not be any closer to a well-lit room). A good lighting plan, much like a cake, has layers.
The first layer is the ambient lighting layer, or the base of the cake. Ambient lighting is what we most often see when we flip on the lights. This lighting layer will provide the general, overall lighting for the room. Some of the fixtures in this layer are can lights, ceiling fans and other overhead fixtures.
Next, you need to provide task lighting. This is the filling in the cake. Task lighting is just what it sounds like: it places direct light where you need it so you can better perform certain tasks at hand. Task lighting can be as simple as a lamp by the bed for reading or as elaborate as hanging pendant lights over a kitchen island to better see your food.
Finally, there’s the fun part of the lighting plan. Accent lighting is the frosting on your tasty creation. This lighting layer can be responsible for casting a warm glow over the fireplace mantle, or highlighting other objects and areas in the room to add drama by creating depth and texture through contrast and shadow. This is where you win or lose the bake sale. So be patient, experiment and go wild with creativity!
By following this simple lighting recipe, you should be able to create a unique, personalized environment that is rich in taste and comfort.
Interior stylist Brice Cooper has an eye for style and the ability to make it understandable for the rest of us. His ability is what has made him a standout star on television programs such as HGTV’s Design on a Dime and Fox daytime’s Design Invasion. www.bricecooper.com