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The Importance of Lighting

March 14, 2024
Casia Home Living Room

Great lighting makes great design. If we don’t focus on lighting in a design the details, decor, furniture and overall feel can be lost in a cloud of shadow or poor light. It’s so important to me as I work on my projects that lighting be addressed as a main part of every project. Whether it be new ceiling lighting, spot lighting, lamps, or sconces; adding specific lighting adds style, functionality and ambience.

As I work on a lighting plan my key is always layers. Each light fixture is a layer that can be turned on or off based on the client’s needs that day. From task lamp on a desk, to can lights in the ceiling, they all have important function.  The basics are: Overall Bright Light, Centralized Room Light, Ambiance Light, Natural Light and Task Light. 

Overall bright light is used to bring the maximum functional purpose to the room. When you’re doing a task that requires you to see really well, or having a get together with friends or family, this lighting plays an important role. It keeps people from bumping into things, allows for small print readying, makes sure that you don’t have to squint across the room at something or someone, and gives the fullest feeling to the space. This lighting is often accomplished by recessed lights and/or ceiling lights.

Centralized room lighting is about the design and decor of the room as well as giving the room a focal point and lighting up the desired general area without being too bright. The light fixture is important because it coordinates with the overall style of the room be it Modern Farmhouse, Glam, Contemporary, etc. It also offers a chance to display the predominant or coordinate metal used in the room - gold, nickel, copper, etc. Whether the light bulbs chosen are warm or cool depends on the style of the design as well. 

Ambiance lighting is most often accomplished with lamps. Floor lamps and table lamps offer so much to each space, and while they are not necessary in every room, rooms in which you spend a lot of time need this lighting layer to allow you to feel cozy and at home. This lighting also allows you to have a rest from the Overall Bright Light and the Centralized Light giving you light only where you need it! This is probably my favorite kind of lighting because it gives such individuality and creativity to the space. From metal color choice to style of the fixture it should be designed to fit into the space seamlessly. 

Natural light is tremendously important to our mental health and the way that we subconsciously view a room. We humans need the sun, it provides warmth, light and vitamin D. And while we don't want our furniture to fade too quickly if we don't focus on what natural light the room can give us we cheat ourselves of out of the serotonin our bodies need to feel happy. Window treatments are how we tackle this in design - from blinds and shutters to curtains and shades. Treat each room's light according to what the user needs; sometimes black out shades for the bedroom, and sheers for the dining room. Layers of window treatments, for example blinds and curtains on one window, can offer the maximum availability of natural light too, allowing us to control how much comes in during different parts of the day.

Task lighting is somewhat self explanatory, but oh so important. Task lighting can be anything from a directed lamp on a desk to pendants in the kitchen. If it provides directed light to what you need to do, then it’s task. And whether it’s writing notes, crocheting a blanket, or cooking dinner, a task light is always what you want if you don’t have it and always there when you need it if you do! 

One more kind of lighting that I didn’t touch on in the paragraphs above is dual purpose lighting. For my designs this most often involves a ceiling fan. Designing in the South means heat, and if you want to spend less on your energy bill and you’ve already got good windows, good sealing around openings and LED light bulbs you’re definitely going to want ceiling fans to circulate your air and provide you with the most comfort. In my designs these can be used in almost any room, but especially bedrooms and living room spaces. 

I love lighting design and I love getting clients excited about their lighting design! When the room is coming together and the lights come on, it really does feel like Showtime, This is it!