You might think you don’t pay much attention to lighting, but you do, we all do. Lighting affects our mood and how we interpret space. Think about some of the establishments you have visited. In your memory, does the lighting look the same? Probably not.
Let’s use a gambling casino and fast food chain restaurant as an example. Casinos are generally dark with some large, hanging overhead lights. There is no natural light to speak of. Why? Because if you aren’t able to decipher the time of day, you’ll sit in your chair and continue to gamble. What you thought was gambling for an hour was actually six, but because the light never changed, you weren’t able to tell.
Fast food restaurants work in the opposite way. Restaurants such as McDonald’s and Taco Bell are often brightly lit and usually feature an architectural design with large gable windows. By lighting the space with bright and natural light, they are hoping to get you in and out of the restaurant so they can serve more customers without sacrificing table space. Now that we have a better sense of how light is used in the public sphere, let’s learn how we can create a mood in our private homes.
It’s All About the Lighting
You’re not going to want your house so dimly lit that you’ll sit in the living room like a hermit, but you’re also not going to want it so bright that you feel like you can’t lie down on the sofa and relax. To create a mood of comfort and hospitality, you are going to need to layer your light sources.
There are three different types of lighting: ambient, accent and task. Each lighting type satisfies a specific function in the home.
Ambient: The general lighting in the room. This includes overhead lights such as from a pendant light or chandelier.
Accent: This type of lighting highlights specific areas you want lit in your space. Accent lighting brings a lovely contrast to your interiors through its play with light and shadow, creating depth and intrigue. Accent lighting can be crafted by using table and floor lamps.
Task: Task lighting is just as it sounds; it’s used for performing and completing tasks such as reading, drawing, coloring or painting. Using table lamps, you can shine a bright beam of light down on whatever you’re doing.
Now that we’re a little more informed, we know how to bring accent lighting into our home, and that’s through layering ambient, accent and task lighting.
What’s wonderful about table and floor lamps in particular is that they’re transportable. If you’re unhappy with where you have arranged them, you can move them to another area! And to our greatest pleasure, designers have created adjustable table and floor lamps that allows us to set it at the level we want it. This gives us more room to experiment and play with the lighting design in our interiors.
In a space such as the living room, you’ll want an overhead light (ambient), table lamp (task) and a floor lamp (accent). In adjusting these light sources at different levels (e.g. the chandelier overhead, the floor lamp to eye level and the table lamp to seating level) you’ll have designed a space of layered light. This will make your living room appealing to you and your guests while also making it attractive and user friendly.
Too often we just come home and plop on the couch; televisions and smart screens our only source of light. When you have a room with layered light, it changes your behavior; you’ll feel more awake and motivated.