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How To Light A Room
Sunday, July 24, 2016

When homeowners embark upon a remodel or renovation, they typically focus on the “big ticket” items like cabinets, countertops, flooring and appliances. A lighting plan, if there is one, often takes a backstage role. However, proper lighting is essential when it comes to presenting a newly remodeled space at its best.

Without a thoughtful lighting plan, living spaces can appear harshly bright or shadowy and cave-like. Rooms can lack ambiance or fail to showcase carefully curated furnishings and fixtures. Ironically – a great lighting design is rarely noticed (it’s that natural), while poor lighting designs are obvious.

Light Your Rooms to Showcase Their Design

The following tips will ensure your rooms are lit in a manner that showcases your design, creating living spaces where occupants enter and have an emotional reaction at any time of the day or night.

Understand lighting terms. Knowing lighting vocabulary will be helpful as you work with a designer to create a lighting plan. Terms such as:

  1. Daylighting. This refers to available sunlight via windows, skylights, solar tubes or even the daylight that diffuses from one room to another.
  2. Task lighting.This is light with an acute focus point, allowing you to see well while performing specific tasks, whether you’re chopping onions for dinner, applying makeup before work or walking safely from Point A to Point B. Each task requires specific angles and light-quality.
  3. Ambient lighting. Ambient lighting creates a mood. The dining room table may require a different ambiance than the bedroom, movie room or a living room book club gathering.
  4. Uplighting or downlighting. Illuminating areas of a room in an upward or downward direction provides different moods, ambiance and effects.
  5. Diffused or directed light. Diffused light has a broad beam and is more gentle, while direct light has a more acute focus and is often used for task lighting. The better you understand the terms used by your design and build team, the more you’ll be able to contribute to the process.
  6. Think about each room’s function.Make a list of each room and the activities that take place there. Let’s use the kitchen as an example. The first thing that comes to mind is “cooking” or “eating.” But the modern kitchen often serves as a secondary (or even primary) living room, so you may also add, “doing homework,” “reading the morning paper,” “drinking a cup of tea before bedtime.” You probably prefer a different quality of light for many of these activities, and your lighting design should reflect that.
  7. Light in layers. A single layer of light falls flat. Think of a bedroom with a single, overhead light or a living room that only uses floor lamps. The best lighting designs illuminate a room using a layered approach. This typically combines some overhead and/or recessed lighting with table and floor lamps.
  8. Make dimmers a “must.”Dimmers should be a must-have in every room’s lighting design. They give you the ability to control lighting quantity and quality with a single slide of your hand. You can move from task to ambiance in seconds. Plus, dimmers also improve energy efficiency, so it’s a win-win.
  9. Be creative. If your home were an art gallery, which areas or pieces would be highlighted? Use directional light sources, eyeball cans, flexible floor lamps and well-placed wall sconces to show off your collections and notable furnishings.

Working with an experienced design-build team is a smart way to ensure an upcoming home remodel is designed with both the “big” and “little” things in place. Contact Midwest Property Pros to design a plan that lights your rooms so well, nobody even notices.



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