Lighting Makes a Difference

The lighting fixture choices you make to illuminate your environment and the natural light that travels across your property combine to influence the appearance of the colors on your walls, the shadow patterns cast by objects within your space, and set the general tone of the room’s environment. These influences should ideally be planned with the designing of the space, but adaptations to the original lighting setup are usually possible.

Qualities of Light

While it’s common knowledge that light illuminates our lives and the environment around us, what is generally less contemplated is the variance in qualities of light and how to incorporate these varying qualities into our décor. We can decorate with light as if from a painter’s palette, conscientiously bathing our space with splashes of visual effects that change according to our artistic use of light as it washes across walls and carefully placed objects, casting shadows and textures onto nearby surfaces.

Natural Light

While lighting fixtures enable us to standardize or fix the lighting in our environments, sunlight, candlelight, and firelight are thought of as kinetic because of their ever-changing nature. The sun tints your walls as it passes through its daily and seasonal rainbows, and subtleties of tone will also be affected by the direction which that direct sunlight enters your room. These considerations come into play when selecting colors for your space, as rooms with north and west-facing windows will tend to wash blue/grey with direct northern light exposure, while eastern and southern windows will wash the room with a warm golden tint as the sun shines directly through them.


lighting makes a difference

Ambient Light

Ambient light washes its environment with a diffused glow, and the source of light is veiled by a shade or modest placement. This type of light is generally soothing to the eye and nervous system, and while it tends to flatten a space by reducing shadows, ambient lighting fills the space with a soft, cozy ambiance that is comforting.

Accent & Directional Lighting

Accent lighting often directs your attention to something unique in the environment, and accent lighting fixtures can also be works of art themselves, like our old lava lamp friend or our newer friend, the filament bulb. Sconces are often used to accentuate texture on a walled surface, and the shade itself can be a point of interest. Table and floor lamps are convenient and versatile vehicles for accent and directional lighting.

Task Lighting

Task lighting enhances visual clarity and keeps the eyes from getting tired by casting a spotlight onto a specific workspace or object. It needs to be glare-free and preferably adjustable.

General Lighting Principles

  • Dark corners make a room look smaller and less inviting. Sconces, pendants, table, and floor lamps can conveniently brighten your corners and expand the space.
  • Lighting fixtures that direct light upwards cast a diffused ambient glow into the environment, whereas downward lighting fixtures cast a direct beam that is useful for task lighting.
  • Many people prefer downward lighting fixtures for outdoor applications since their radiance doesn’t interfere with views of the nighttime sky, and they’re the logical choice to place above kitchen islands, tables, and work stations in the kitchen and various places around the property.
  • “Downing the lights” is a phrase that is used in reference to the use of an abundance of low wattage bulbs to illuminate a space instead of using a few higher wattage lighting fixtures. This technique creates an enchanting and mysterious ambiance throughout the environment.

Structures built before architectural changes took hold in the 70s will most likely present challenging wiring issues if you’d like to install modern track or recessed lighting fixtures, but there are attractive alternatives that don’t require rewiring.

Designing the lighting décor for your property involves a delicate interplay of aesthetic form with practical function. Your design should incorporate a variety of lighting fixtures that bathe your environment in layers of light, and it’s advisable to make as much of your lighting plan adjustable with the use of dimmers and directional remote control as possible. As you browse the inventory of our vendors, try to imagine the layers of light that will illuminate your environment, and visualize how they will interact to create the unique space that you’ve been dreaming of.

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