Source: Pioneer Press
Tone Down the Lights and Warm up Your Space
How to Create Warm and Inviting Spaces in Your Home
Fall is upon us and we’re losing our light earlier every day! If the temperature isn’t an indication that the season is changing, the sunlight sure is. Gone is the long, slow, golden light of the late summer afternoon. By six o’clock you need to turn some lights on.
It’s easy to provide sufficient lumens to light up a room with an overhead ceiling fixture or with several recessed cans. This arrangement provides good, general lighting to make a living space functional, however; it will not create a very interesting, warm or inviting place to sit and read, visit or ponder the world. Beyond that, lighting can be used to accent artwork, highlight table top objects such as photographs, or used to set a mood.
Any place where there is an upholstered piece of furniture there is an opportunity to create an inviting vignette for you and other family members to enjoy. The soft, intentional light from a table lamp or a floor lamp cannot be achieved by general down lighting, even with dimmers. Not only does the warm light from a lamp look appealing, this more direct light is much better task lighting for reading, etc. as the light is closer to what you need to see. End tables that sit among furniture groupings are natural locations for lamps. Sofa tables are also good locations for direct lighting.
That same warm lamp light will create a nice effect on a hall or entryway table or on an accent table. This is in part due to the warm glow of incandescent light and its effect on color. Color cannot exist without light but once light is introduced, colors begin to emerge. How bright a color reads depends directly on the brightness or intensity of the light. This is obviously true for wall color but equally true of artwork. There are special lights available to accent artwork on the wall. Most places that frame art will offer appropriate information for lighting a particular piece. Lamps that sit on a table surface just under a piece of art should have a three-way setting which is always a good option where you will want something more than accent or mood lighting.
When light is used as an accent, that is to say when it is not used solely for function or task, it can highlight an adjacent object or the lamp itself can be a highlight. We’ve all seen lamps worthy of being referred to as art, and price tags too. But there is always something in between inexpensive dreck and the sculpted burnished copper lamp available to the trade only.
Lighting is an area a specialty. The dramatic effects created by lighting are amazing. The most effective lighting schemes are those that use a sophisticated combination of a variety of light sources from recessed lighting and pinspots to lamp light, cove lighting and up lighting. Lighting is a required course in design school—a whole semester of calculating lumens taught most of us enough to know where to find a lighting specialist when we needed them.
This article is not an attempt to discuss all lighting options. It is an attempt to get you thinking about what kind of light you use and whether it is as appealing as it can be. If you rely on general lighting, there are ways to improve the lighting in your home. Do an experiment and add a lamp to a sitting area that currently doesn’t have one. It will change the tone of the room. Now you have created the mood that is, “come in, sit down and relax.”