Better Lighting for Living Spaces

This month I’m sharing lighting tips that may bring transformation to your living spaces where you may be spending more time than ever before, so rather than looking at them in the same old ways, here are tips to transform them in a whole new light, to help define the space for not just how you use it, but for how you want to use it. Transforming the space that you’ve spent so much time in requires looking at it differently, which involves changing both the space and the way you see it, and lighting can profoundly change both.
Transforming the space begins with you, so look at your space in a new way by focusing on what you like most about it. What’s your favorite feature? What about it makes you most comfortable or do you enjoy looking at the most. Brightening that gives a new focus to the room.

Let’s now assess the lighting to adjust it in ways that accentuates that feature. We’re going to break up lighting into 3 categories, ambient lighting, task lighting, and accent lighting, categories that are commonly used but can have many variations.

  1. Ambient or general lighting, consider the space’s lights that fill the space. Perhaps downlights or central lights such as from a ceiling fan or fluorescent tubes or even from windows during the day. If there’s harsh glare, dim the light. Got fluorescent lights? Typically not dimmable, but adding thin colored paper or plastic sheeting above the light diffuser can have the effect of rose colored glasses that all may see.
    Are there dark shadows? You can fill it in with indirect light such as with torchiere uplights or table lamps using up pointing flood lights that reflect off the ceiling.
    Want even more style and control with your ambient lighting? Add wall sconces or indirect lighting near the ceiling such as with crown molding that’s color selectable and dimmable. Indirect, color selectable lighting changes the look, feel, and mood of this room for your tastes.
     Better Lighting for Living Room
  2. Task lighting provides functional light for a limited space such as pendant lights over a counter or table, a table lamp providing reading light near the sofa, or desk lights on your workspace. These functional lights also add much more by giving a focal point even when off that defines a space, especially with pendant lights. While these require ceiling access which as an electrician I provide, a simple work around for many areas are arcing floor lamps. The large high lamps add a defining feature that also provides boundary to spaces that many rooms lack including great rooms. Task lighting allows you to choose from a myriad of colors and styles of pendant lamps or desk lamps that can unite what you like most of your space. So consider your favorite features and choose a color or texture or material (wood, stone, glass etc.) that accentuates it to highlight its best feature.
    Ambient Lighting
  3. Accent lighting, last but not least, can define the mood of a space even upon first look. It draws attention to what you want to draw attention to, a favorite art piece, painting or plant, a bookcase or hutch, or something of the past that rekindles a special memory. Reveal what’s meaningful to you, and it will engage with others that care about you and what interests you. You have more choices with accent lighting because it includes wall sconces, downlights or eyeball spot lights, desk lights properly pointed, even candles or string lighting.Pick lighting that shares characteristics of what you’re highlighting: materials, texture, style, color, theme, something. The accent light itself allows you to highlight not just with light but with matching color or texture or style, revealing to viewers on multiple levels special features of the accent piece.

For those who have followed along, doing so this month is especially valuable to help show someone special in your life what is their special place in your heart in a new light, whether for a special meal, quality time together, or taking the edge off a difficult day or week.

You may not finish for Valentines day, but making the effort to enhance their view of a favorite space in a new light can enhance quality time together long after Valentine’s day is over. If this seems daunting, help is available. Call me. And maybe together we can bring new light on your favorite features of where you live.

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