Brighten your space with updated lighting

When thinking about the flow of space, ambience and atmosphere in your home, lighting can be one of the most fundamental elements. 

Brighter lights can make you feel alert and awake, whereas dimmer, softer lights can be relaxing and sleep-inducing. Before starting your search for new lighting, you should consider your decorating style.

Different designs lend themselves to different décor elements, including the type of light fixtures in your room. So, whether your style is more midcentury, contemporary, farmhouse or modern, you want to find lighting that enhances the look rather than detract from it. While it is possible to mix different design and lighting styles, you want to be careful that they don’t clash. 

  1. Make a lighting plan

If you’re starting from scratch or redecorating a room, create a mini brief or lighting plan that tackles the essentials. Think about what activities take place in each room (eating, relaxing, working), key features of a room you want to highlight and what architectural boundaries you may need to take into account. Consider style, scale, output and even color temperature of lights before you go rushing into design decisions. Early planning makes for less headaches and rushed last-minute decisions. 

  1. Layer your lighting

 Take a layered approach to lighting with different light sources across different levels to create ambience and interest in a room. Use lighting to make the most of a room’s size and shape –uplighting makes a room feel larger, low hung pendants will create an illusion of height and clusters of lighting make large rooms seem cozier.

  1. Make sure the lighting is helpful

Consider what tasks you may be undertaking in each room where lighting can affect or aid you. Cooking requires more concentrated lighting, therefore a combination of bright down-lights and recess lighting in cabinets and above stove tops is useful. For reading, flexible and directional lighting aimed away from you is better. Powder rooms require a combination of sidelights and down-lights. Dimmers will quickly become your new best friend, providing an energy-efficient and effective way to quickly change the atmosphere and warmth of a room.

  1. Choose the bulb carefully

The bulbs you choose should be more than an afterthought, racing through the supermarket when you realize they’ve blown. You should consider the following: • How bright do you need your space (watts)? • What atmosphere are you trying to achieve (color temperature, e.g., lower temp is more similar to candlelight, while higher temps are more akin to a blue sky outside)? • Should energy efficiency be considered (for more frequently used lights)? • Are you trying to make a design or focal statement (with scale, shape or colors)? 

  1. Use spotlights to highlight your favorites

Use lighting to subtly (or not so subtly) focus on a feature wall, architectural element or key possession (like your mahogany leather sofa or winged armchair). Wall-mounted lights symmetrically arranged on either side of a statement mirror above the mantelpiece of a fireplace will add warmth, sophistication and elegance to a room.

  1. Make your guests feel welcome

Spotlights work well pointed at the center of a dining table to draw people in.

  1. Light the way at night 

Midnight bathroom breaks are made worse with harsh lighting that causes temporary blindness upon flicking a switch. Invest in directional floor-level lighting in hallways, staircases and the bathroom to create subtle warmth and a guide. 

  1. Less is more

 Keep theme, color schemes and material finish consistent throughout the home, especially when it comes to lighting. Too many different styles in a sordid array throughout the home can be confusing on the eye and will cause uneasiness. Neutral, lighter tones will open up a space and make it appear larger, statement pops of color (e.g., through lampshades) will add interest, while darker hues add a touch of luxury and coziness. Keep it simple and consistent.

In the end, even if you have varying aesthetics in different rooms in your home, there should still be a connection between your spaces. Whether you opt to paint all your walls the same color or utilize similar accent colors throughout your home, a common thread creates harmony and unity within your spaces, which ultimately leads to a well-designed home. Similarly, you want to have some level of coordination among your lights. There are numerous ways to do this, including through the color or finish of the metal, the type of glass globe or shade and the bulbs that you use. You don’t have to have the same fixtures in every area of your home, but it’s important to coordinate in some way so your rooms don’t feel disconnected from one another. 

Jeanette Gaskill is the lead designer for Coastal Cottage of Amelia. She loves being able to work hand-in-hand with her customers to design the spaces they dream of. Gaskill knows that interior design is very personal so she considers it an honor to be invited into her customer’s homes. As part of the process, she takes time to get to know her customer’s personality and tastes, which is always reflected in the final result — she can make magic.