Posts Tagged ‘decorating with lamps’

Loving Light – how to light your room

Tuesday, August 3rd, 2010

Birds and Branches LampGood lighting, in a home or business, is one of those things that’s invisible – if it’s done well. You only notice the lighting of a room if it’s too bright or too dim, not if it’s just right. When a room is lit well, people notice only that the room feels comfortable, and that they want to come back again.

When thinking about lighting, first consider some guidelines: function, mood, and harmony. You have to think about what the function of each room is, decide what mood you want to create, and consider how the different lighting types will harmonize in any given room.

You need illumination in certain areas of the room for specific tasks, such as reading, writing, or playing a musical instrument. This type of lighting is referred to as task lighting.

In addition, you need sufficient overall illumination so people can simply see where they’re going, and so they don’t trip over that great furniture that you have carefully placed in the rooms. This general lighting is referred to as ambient lighting, which is the overall lighting that permeates the entire room.

Double Table LampMood
In addition to being purely functional, lighting can also influence the mood of a room. A brightly lit room projects a positive, upbeat mood. A darker room is more intimate and romantic. One mistake many people make in lighting their homes is to have only one extreme or the other: so much light that you need sunglasses, or just a dim candle.

Remember that there is an important middle range in lighting: you should try playing with this range to see what works best for different situations. When giving a dinner party, for example, you want light which is bright enough so that your guests can see what’s on the dinner plate, but soft enough so they aren’t blinded from the glare off the silverware. Often, a combination of candlelight and lamps is good in this situation.

Lighting fixtures themselves express a mood. Some fixtures are traditional, some contemporary. Some are lavish and ornate, some are starkly simple. As with the furniture you select, the style of the lighting fixtures should be suitable in mood to the rest of the decor.

You can also provide accents of light in specific parts of a room for no functional reason, but simply because they will add a dramatic touch. For example, you might want to highlight a piece of artwork over your mantle.

Starlight Copper ChandelierHarmony
The importance of harmony in a room cannot be overstated. Just as you want the other elements of a room to harmonize, so too the different lighting elements should act together in harmony to produce an interesting yet unified effect.

Harmony does not mean monotony. You should offer variety in the lighting of a room by using different types of fixtures for different tasks. The illumination can flow in different directions with fixtures located different heights, and by providing different levels of intensity of light.

For example, you may have a living room with two floor lamps, one on either side of the sofa. To make the lighting more interesting and to add some variety, try adding a wall sconce and a desk lamp across the room.

You can always use the simple test of telling if each lighting fixture works by asking yourself how another style of lamp would work in its place. If the answer is “much better,” then you know what you have to do.

And there is plenty of room for creativity. A Chinese lantern style may work perfectly with a room decorated in sleek gray and white; an old-fashioned painted lampshade may be just the thing to pull together a room by bringing in all the colors of the sofa, carpet, and walls.

When you are decorating your room, make sure you pay close attention to your lamps and lighting choices. People will think you hired a professional designer!

Lantern Desk LampFort Hill Pendant

Post to Twitter Post to Yahoo Buzz Post to Delicious Post to Digg Post to Facebook Post to MySpace Post to StumbleUpon

Lighting Sets the Mood in Any Room

Monday, January 18th, 2010

Birds & Branches LampWhat makes an office feel like an office? What makes a room feel cozy or cold? Believe it or not, it’s more than the color of the walls or the decor. Different lighting in the same room can change the feeling of the room entirely.

In general, overhead “can” lights tend to make a room feel industrial. Modern homes usually rely on cans for the primary light source in the room.

In an effort to save money, home owners sometimes put compact fluorescent bulbs in the cans. The light from compact fluorescent bulbs is cold and can make even the warmest room feel like a warehouse. This is mainly because the light from CFL is blue in color. Compact fluorescent bulbs generally don’t work with dimmer switches either, making it impossible to temper the harshness of the light. Additionally, many people can hear the hum of CFL bulbs, and notice the flickering.

Halogen bulbs provide high-output high temperature light, but the light can be very harsh, and many fixtures are not designed to handle the heat.

LED bulbs are becoming more affordable, work with dimmers, and can make the general lighting in the room feel more like sunlight, but incandescent bulbs are still the most widely available warm lighting.

Incandescent bulbs are still the most widely available and least expensive warm lighting. They do not flicker, and they power up immediately.

Bulb-choice aside, the real problem with “can” lights is that they glare down on you from overhead like baleful monster eyes. As much as they try to provide general lighting, they are still spotlights. The best way to make a room feel cozy is to use lamps. The lamps themselves influence the decor since they can be included with the overall design of the room.

For a warm, comfortable, well-lit room, select lamp light for your primary source. Have your outlets wired so that one of the pair of plugs is controlled by a light switch and trade in those “cans” for a decorative chandelier or two.

Read more lighting tips from Sturbridge Yankee Workshop.

Starlight Copper ChandelierDouble Floor Lamp

Post to Twitter Post to Yahoo Buzz Post to Delicious Post to Digg Post to Facebook Post to MySpace Post to StumbleUpon