Lighting is a very important feature of interior design, but there are many ways to get it wrong. Read on for common lighting mistakes to avoid, as well lighting tips to get the right effect in your home.
According to our interior designer Anne McDonald, people tend to over-light rooms these days, because for so long there was inadequate lighting. In the past, a room might have had a florescent box over a kitchen center island, or in a really old house, no overhead lights at all. Now, the pendulum has swung too far in the other direction—toward too many lights in a room. One common error is that people go a bit too crazy with different accent and ambient lighting features, says Anne. People also tend to overuse recessed cans—builders and electricians love these, but they can end up feeling repetitive and plain.
Beyond generic recessed lighting
Working with a designer can help you to identify smarter, more original solutions that provide more textured, efficient, and effective lighting for your home. For one, there are many recessed can lights to choose from besides the generic 6-inch wide builder can. A variety of diameters are possible, as well as a number of light bulb types to choose from, such as halogen and LEDs, and extra functionality like mobile can lights. In short, there are tons of ways to be more interesting and provide better light, rather than using a catchall, standard recessed light.
Reasons for pendant lighting
What’s more, designers are moving to many lighting options beyond the recessed light. Pendant lights have become very popular, adding more directed task lighting and providing a point of visual interest to a room. Pendants and chandeliers can add drama, texture, and mix things up in a room’s design.
Key tips for good lighting design
Here are a few more rules of thumb for creating a more design-friendly lighting scheme.
- Have more than one lighting source in a room. One helpful tip is to use three types of light in each room: task lighting, ambient lighting, and accent lighting. It’s best to start with task lighting, to be sure you have focused light where you need it most. Then decide on ambient lighting, general lighting that helps illuminate a room. Finally, identify accent lighting, something that will highlight a room’s architectural features.
- Use different intensities and heights with your lighting sources—this will help add texture, interest, and utility for the various uses of a room.
- Remember the importance of natural light—use as much natural light as possible, and be careful not to block natural light from entering a room with window dressings that are too heavy or furniture that partially blocks windows. Mirrors can also help to reflect and amplify natural light.
- Respect the dimmer switch—it’s a great tool for helping to calibrate brightness of lighting for different uses, moods, and effects.
- Pay attention to the color of light. Yellow tones are much warmer, while blue tones can feel more at home in work spaces.
Perhaps most important, don’t overdo it. A more selective set of lights that really illuminate specific areas will be more efficient and striking then a whole smattering of can lights or watered down accent lighting that doesn’t provide a true focal point.
Want to discuss the best lighting ideas for your home? Contact us today.
Sources and Further Reading:
Freshome, 10 of the Most Common Interior Design Mistakes to Avoid
Apartment Therapy, Interior Design Rookie Mistakes
Houzz, Get the Lighting Right: 8 Mistakes to Avoid
Snaidero, Kitchen Trends Roundup
Remodelista, How to Choose An Overhead Light Fixture