By Chad D. Collins, AMB, MCGP, CAPS, NAHB’s Certified Green Builder of the Year
The days are slowly getting shorter and the lights in your home are gradually getting more use. Lighting is an afterthought for many home owners, but it can completely change the look and feel of any room. The style of fixtures you choose, where you place them and the type of bulbs you use can all affect the mood and functionality of your home.
By applying a few simple concepts, you can light up your home in a way that is useful, stylish and efficient, all at once! Think of lighting in layers:
- Ambient lighting creates a base layer to establish the tone of the whole room.
- Task lighting illuminates a certain area to address the room’s specific function.
- Accent lighting draws attention to the decorative features that you love most.
For an inconspicuous, minimalist approach to ambient light, consider recessed ceiling lights. The number of lights, their direction and a dimmer switch make it easy to customize the amount and intensity of light.
Pendant lighting comes in many different shapes and sizes and is a great way to create ambient light with fixtures that make a statement. You can suspend multiple light fixtures from the ceiling at varying heights, which adds dimension and visual interest to the room.
In a living area, this lighting layer might include a table lamp as a focal point to establish an inviting conversation area. A floor lamp next to a comfy chair is just the thing for curling up with a magazine or book.
One of the hottest lighting trends uses long-lasting, energy-efficient LED light strips to softly illuminate rooms from hidden sources. By placing an LED light strip under each overhead cabinet in your kitchen, you can brighten up the countertops where you chop vegetables or make a sandwich.
Use accent lighting to draw focus to details in a room. Try placing simple, uncomplicated wall sconces around your favorite piece of wall art and watch as it suddenly becomes a brilliant focal point. To highlight wall textures or architectural details you love, consider more atypical sconces in interesting shapes that can both show off the elements of your home and stand alone as eye-catching pieces.
By taking these lighting tips, layering them together and infusing them with your own special style, you can completely transform your space and fully accomplish your unique vision for your home.