DESIGN: The Basics of Lighting

The basics of lighting

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The basics of lighting

The excitement of starting a design project in your home can often find you getting caught up in the details of colours, furnishings and finishes. These are all obviously of great importance to the overall aesthetics of our space, however, equally or quite often even more importantly is lighting. Light is a vital element of any good design. Good lighting will enhance any space. However, great lighting can elevate it.

For your lighting plan to be a success you need to consider a layered approach to your lighting. Layering your lighting is advantageous as it enables you the flexibility of creating different vibes and functions within a given space. There are four basic categories of lighting layers to be aware of: Ambient, Task, Accent and Decorative.

Ambient lighting illuminates a space and allows you an ease of mobility throughout a room. Task lighting, as seems obvious, affords you added lighting in a specific area devoted to a particular task or function. Accent lighting can be used to highlight artwork, decor or perhaps architectural features within a space. Finally there’s decorative lighting, the fourth layer of illumination, which simply is an accessory to your room, or the finishing touch.

Another source of light that should never be forgotten in design is natural light, what I like to consider to be a fifth layer of lighting. Natural light is the most inexpensive and environmentally friendly light available. Many new condo and home builds today are being constructed with wonderfully large window features that allow for maximum natural light, even in smaller spaces. Not only does this feature provide you with great source of natural light as well as a wonderful view, it also helps to create the illusion of a larger rather elevated space.

Here are a few design tips to get you started:

  • Work with a reputable lighting store when purchasing your lighting, and spend some time inquiring about the various types of lighting that are currently available. With the recent developments in LED lighting there is far more available than you may be aware of.
  • Incorporate a different style of light in to your space, something a bit modern in a more traditional environment or a beautiful crystal chandelier paired with a rustic farmhouse table.
  • The general rule for an eight-ft. ceiling height is that a chandelier should be hung approximately 29 to 33 inches above a dining table; for each added foot of ceiling height increase by three inches.
  • Recessed pot lights are a lovely addition in a room, however, be sure to add the proper amount; too many can be overwhelming and appear messy on your ceiling. If you reside in a condo, pot lights may be restricted. Consider the addition of track lighting in this case; there are many great track light systems on the market now that have a very high-end look to them and are far more user-friendly for a condo environment.
  • Use dimmer switches where possible. Not only can it reduce your electrical usage, but it also adds to the ambience of a room.
Linda Mazur is an award-winning, nationally publicized designer and Principal of Linda Mazur Design Group.

With almost two decades of experience this in demand multi-disciplinary design firm is known for creating relaxed stylish spaces and full-scale design builds within Toronto, the GTA and throughout Canada.



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