Let There be Light!

Good lighting is critical to create beautiful and functional spaces.

Types of lighting:
Ambient lighting is overall illumination of a space, room, or area.
Task lighting illuminates a work-surface or area for reading, working, or playing games.
Accent lighting highlights specific areas, objects, art, or surfaces.
Decorative lighting can be ambient, task, or accent. The decorative light itself becomes an element of the space.

Lighting Dos:
Choose several types of lights to have a variety of options and flexibility.
Provide reading lamps with bright light next to comfy chairs and sofas.
Have lamps with three-way sockets to supply soft, medium or bright light when needed.
Place lights in open spaces on different levels of intensity to create contrast.
Highlight special features or art with accent lighting.
Use dimmer switches to allow you to soften light.

Lighting Don'ts:
Have only or rely on one ceiling fixture with a single bulb in a room. It creates hard shadows.
Have all fixtures illuminated at max wattage at the same time.
Forget how important lighting is.

Placement of fixtures is the starting point to determine lighting needs and solutions. The placement will also dictate the maximum size of fixtures. Be sure to measure your space before you purchase fixtures on-line. Looks are deceiving. You must avoid buying fixtures too big or too small for your space. 

Julie Fergus, ASID, is a nationally published interior designer. Her studio and showroom is located in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire. Julie's clients are primarily in the Lakes Region and Mount Washington Valley, however, she will travel throughout the state and North Eastwww.JulieFergus.com | www.DesignByMail.com

The photo above illustrates several lighting types in one space. Track lighting illuminates the hutch and book case. Two three-way lamps flanking the sofa provide enough light for reading. A chandelier over the dining table uses a dimmer switch to provide atmosphere for dining and brighter light for other tasks depending on the activity at the table. Pendant lighting over the counter is task lighting at the surface.