How To Expertly Illuminate Your Living Area

Lighting is arguably the most important element of any room and usually the most overlooked. Not only does it provide a vital function, it adds an important decorative element and can significantly contribute to the overall atmosphere that you would like to create.

Your living area requires three types of lighting:  ambient, task and accent.  Ambient light provides a room with overall illumination. Task lighting directs lights to certain ‘work ’zones, and accent lights highlight specific objects. Within these basic requirements are a world of options.

From fun to subdued, there is something for every taste and setting. For ambient lighting why not try lighting the perimeter of a ceiling – this can provide a unique detail not common to most living rooms and it creates an aura of elegance. Don’t forget to add dimmers. If possible add one to every light in your home. Adjusting the light can create instant ambience and slightly dimmed lighting is more flattering on everything and everyone!

Mixing old and new is a great way to give a room a real sense of character and personality, so don’t be afraid to mix styles and eras. Use a lamp, up-light and ceiling fixture in one room. The layers of light will add interest.

Round fixtures like chandeliers are an easy solution for round dining tables, or use a more flexible option with multiple pendants arranged to complement the shape of a rectangle or square. The dining room lights should be anywhere from 1/3 to 2/3 of the length of the table. Use your dimmer switch to set the mood from practical to romantic.

Recessed accent lighting offers a clean streamlined look in a home. It can increase the amount of light, or highlight a special feature. When using accent lighting to highlight a three dimensional object, such as a fireplace, sculpture or even a Christmas tree it is more effective to use recessed lighting to light it from two or three different angles.  

The most important thing to remember is that using a variety of different lighting options are key to creating an interesting layered look. Whatever your personal style might be, vary the size, placement and intensity in order to create your perfect welcoming space.  Have fun!