How much is the right amount of light?
Certainly, the activity that is at the center of your living space impacts the amount of light needed. If you read before bed, then the amount of light at your reading chair or above your pillow needs to be adequate for the comfort of reading. If you relish cooking then your prep area needs a priority, and the workspace will be well lit from multiple angles to minimize shadowing that might make cooking cumbersome. Artwork calls for a unique study of the style, scale, and placement in order to get the right amount of light that will embody the character of each piece. On the other hand, a passageway may suitably be illuminated with subtle ambient light and a more dramatic, high level of light at a doorway or transition to signal the flow of the space. A home entertainment center that suffers from too much ambient light will make you cringe. The dining room lighting that cannot be adjusted between soft, intimate light and bright, housekeeping illumination is a source of frustration. You and your lifestyle will inform the design for lighting your home, and if your contractor or design professional is not talking with you about your lifestyle then your vision for comfort and ease may not be realized.
Is it the right kind of light?
All light sources are not equal. Some deliver pools of light, others are directed and controlled. Some render bright or contrasting finishes more than others. The placement of lights can either work for or against your purpose. Consider a wall finished with a dry stack of western stone rich in deep earth tones and varied textures. A light source with a limited color spectrum, like a PAR38 incandescent which captures warm yellow and orange tones will forget the full range of reds, browns, purples, and even whites. A complex source like a tungsten halogen reveals the full character of the stone. If, however, the tungsten halogen is housed in a recessed “can” that is too far from the surface of the stone, then the organic texture of the material is lost. Placed closer to the wall, the halogen grazes over the face of each stone casting light and shadows in a similar way to sunlight.
And finally, when looking at the entire space does the lighting convey your attitude for, how you feel about, a particular room in your home?
Lighting is a complex design that leverages material, form, color, attitude, and movement to express the dynamics of your personality. A good lighting consultant will see what calls for light, and what doesn’t base on YOU. The overall impact of the parts combined is unique to you and your home environment. The value of your lighting is in understanding how the quantity and quality of illumination can enhance your well-being and enjoyment.
Interested in learning more about how lighting can make a difference in your home?