Interior Lighting Design Tips

Lighting is key for cooking, working on your computer, reading, having conversations around the dinner table, grooming and taking on any detailed tasks like putting together a puzzle, playing a board game or tying your shoes. Yea, it’s that basic! Let’s make sure your lighting is working well for you and your home.

{In 1879 Thomas Edison, pictured, invented the light bulb.}

{In 1879 Thomas Edison, pictured, invented the light bulb.}

What type lighting you include in your rooms is just as important as the type of bulb you use. I mean this in a purely functional way to begin. Sure, I like attractive lighting fixtures as much as the next designer, but as with all great design, form follows function. When it comes to light, function is key and so important in our daily tasks.

There are various layers of lighting and each serves a different purpose. Here’s a rundown of the layers, using the acronym “TADA” to keep summarize.

T – Task lighting – Lighting directed at a specific task. A reading or desk light, under cabinet lighting in the kitchen and a bedside lamp are all examples of this type of lighting. This light should be positioned to illuminate the task at hand. There’s nothing worse than opening a book only to create a shadow with your head on the book pages.

A – Ambient lighting – Lighting that illuminates an entire space or area. This is generally overhead lighting and is what you turn on when you flip a light switch when you enter a room. It’s a base, first layer of lighting and allows you to see and walk through a room safely. It doesn’t replace task lighting as it’s not designed to light one specific area.

D – Decorative lighting – any of the three other categories of lighting can be decorative in nature. Decorative lighting draws attention to itself as well as providing light to your space. A colorful, hand blown glass sconce is a great example of decorative lighting.

A – Accent lighting – This type of task lighting focuses on art or architectural elements in your rooms. Lights that point to artwork or a fireplace are accent lights. They accent a feature (versus a task) in the room.

The biggest mistake I see clients make it using only one type of lighting. They have lamps around the room and they use those as both task and ambient lighting. They don’t usually serve both well. Or, they have an overhead light, centered on the ceiling, and no lamps. How can you read in a room with one overhead light? I try to explain how each layer enhances a room, your experience in a room and the overall environment.

{The quatrefoil chandeliers provide ambient light for dining, while the coral table lamps on the sideboard offer a layer of decorative lighting. Design by  April Force Pardoe Interiors .}

{The quatrefoil chandeliers provide ambient light for dining, while the coral table lamps on the sideboard offer a layer of decorative lighting. Design by April Force Pardoe Interiors.}

Take a look around each of your rooms and notice where you are lacking in lights. What tasks are difficult to perform? A floor or table lamp can go a long way toward making tasks easier. What rooms are too dark and could benefit from better ambient lighting?

Consider how updating your lighting can make a difference in your daily tasks and experiences. Oh, and add a dimmer to every single light you can!