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Art and Light: How Lighting Influences Interior Design

Posted by Doug Root on March 14, 2019

Interior lighting design involves the clever use of light and shadows to put together a space that conveys tranquility, excitement, or passion. Atlanta Light Bulbs has a variety of tips for home interior accent lighting that can help you create a fresh space without changing the furniture or the flooring.

The Illusion of Space

You know that light hues on the walls create the illusion of ample space, especially in smaller rooms. Mirrors can do the same thing. What you may not realize is that you can use interior lighting design to make your room seem more spacious, as well. You can even brighten and lighten darker paint and wallpaper without changing it.

The key is to light the room from floor to ceiling, but not in the way you think. Color management depends on subtlety. You want the light to reflect off the walls. That's how to attain the illusion of more space. Directional lighting that hugs the walls and shines off their surfaces is the best way to make your room seem not only larger but also cozier.

Start with track lighting. It runs along the top of the room. It's usually installed along the ceiling or crown molding. Recessed lighting glows downward, softly lighting up the floor rather than the wall. With both types of lights, they soften the colors of your walls while reflecting a gentle glow.

Accentuating the Ambiance

In addition to illuminating the walls, you also have to consider ambient lighting. It controls the mood of the room and the people in it. Ambient lighting typically comes from ceiling fixtures, specifically fixtures that hang in the center of the ceiling. Many people assume that ceiling lights require the brightest bulbs, but that only results in garish, over-lit rooms that may leave you and your guests feeling agitated and ill-at-ease.

Your sanctuary should never be too bright. Furthermore, bright white bulbs have too much blue, which can significantly impact your mood and sense of well-being. Soft white or yellow bulbs are best for ambient lighting. However, you can take home interior accent lighting to the next level when you install smart LED lights in your fixtures. Mood lighting takes on a more literal meaning once you have the power to change the color palette in your favorite spaces.

Cozy Corners

Lamps, whether they sit on a coffee table or stand in the corner, don't quite count as ambient light, which should generally come from above, but they unquestionably add to the ambiance of the room. Moreover, they create cozy, welcoming corners that will invite your guests to sit for a spell. They're also necessary as individual lights. By illuminating areas of the room that may otherwise hide in shadows, they not only provide a place to read and relax, but they can also highlight different bric-a-brac and knickknacks, such as flower vases and photo frames.

The Right Direction

Recessed lights, track lights, and ceiling fixtures are all types of directional lighting, an essential aspect of interior lighting design. They each have their own purpose. Ceiling lights give the entire room a glow. They should illuminate most of the room but, again, avoid anything that's bright white. Think about going with a vintage-inspired LED bulb.

To highlight specific areas of the room, turn your attention to recessed and track lighting again. Track lighting effortlessly positions in the direction you want, which allows you to focus on individual items or areas. Once more, you can shine a spotlight on a meaningful picture or memento. However, it doesn't have to be sitting on a table. Track lighting can focus on paintings on the wall, mirrors, candle sconces, and more.

Recessed lighting doesn't necessarily spotlight artwork or decor, but it does result in eye-catching beams of light. At this point, it's worth mentioning that you can technically install recessed lighting at ceiling level as well as along the floor. Whatever the direction, it creates vertical lines along the walls. The play of light and shadows will add another layer of depth to your space.

Combining Function and Form

Home interior accent lighting enhances the appearance and atmosphere of your room, but it has to fulfill a function, as well. The room has to be bright enough to serve a practical purpose for the day-to-day routines of everyone who lives in the home. No one wants to hang out in a dark, dim room with no central illumination, but neither do you want to design a cold, unwelcoming space with no focus.

Some lights don't belong in certain spaces, no matter how much it appeals to you. A chandelier in a smaller space creates a cramped feeling, but there are smaller lights that can work if you're willing to make concessions. Conversely, install a large light in spacious rooms to ensure that there's plenty of illumination.

In the Mood

Let's return to the idea of mood lighting. With today's lighting options, you can get clever with interior lighting design even though you aren't an interior decorator. You don't have to rely on kitschy colored lights, either, although you should feel free to place a lava light or two in the bedroom or basement den.

In addition to shopping for colored LED lights in a variety of shades, you can opt for smart light bulbs. It's up to you to decide whether you want to use a smart bulb in your main ceiling fixture or your lamps, as well. Choose between app-operated lights or a hub that controls everything. Experiment with various palettes in different rooms and for an array of events.

For example, on a night that you have friends over, give the room a red cast to boost creativity and excitement. Red lights ramp up the romance, as well. Warm yellow hues will keep everything mellow. Blue lights, which aren't the same as the mood-destroying cast found in bright white lights and fluorescent bulbs, have a calming, serene effect. Green promotes a similar feeling of tranquility, while also suggesting freshness.

In Praise of Natural Light

Natural light is the best light, although you can't always get it in every room. Whenever possible, make use of your windows. People in a permanent space with the means to do so may consider adding more windows. You could even go a step further and install a skylight. In a pinch, however, your existing windows will do.

Let's say you only have windows on one side of the room. Hang a mirror on the opposite side, then place directional lighting along the remaining two walls. There's a solution for every problem, if not several. Remember that choosing light paint and wallpaper adds to the illusion of space, as well.

Interior lighting design impacts your spaces to an unbelievable degree. As long as you're willing to invest attention, time, and a bit of money, you can change the appearance and feeling of every room in your home. Atlanta Light Bulbs has tips for decorating with light, not to mention the products you need to get started. What room do you want to tackle first? What environment do you want to create there? We can help you discover how to decorate and what you need to do it.

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