Lighting your home interiors should be approached as an artistic endeavor. The way you use light shifts the ambience, affecting your mood and how you experience your domestic spaces. Employing light as an element of decor is as sophisticated as it is simple.
Whether electric, USB, or solar, lighting in the home should impart feelings of nurture, comfort, and the intimacy of personal space. Even the kitchen needs to feel cozy, while you’re in there slicing and dicing.
For all the areas of the home we’re going to discuss, lighting is about function as much as it’s about form. The function needs to be calibrated to its purpose, while illuminating the action in an aesthetically pleasing way.
Let’s discuss 5 aesthetic lighting techniques that impart both ambience and luminous functionality.
Overhead light in the kitchen is the default because it’s where we prepare food. You’re cooking, so you need to see what you’re doing but you’re also unwinding from your busy day in the sanctuary of your home.
While overhead lighting lets you see clearly, it can be oppressive and intense. Our first aesthetic lighting technique solves the problem by positioning light where it’s most needed—over the countertops, hidden under the cabinets.
Layer lighting in your kitchen with overhead, recessed lights. Positioned intelligently, these provide lighting which is both unobtrusive and miles more functional, focusing on the action.
Over the dining table, a low-slung chandelier creates warmth and intimacy, while lighting your evening or early morning meal. The idea is to deploy light for specific purposes that serve function while creating the soothing mood that makes your home’s warm heart even warmer.
The living room is where most people spend the bulk of their time at home, hosting friends and family, relaxing with a book or movie or just hanging out. A lot goes on in living rooms, so your lighting needs to acknowledge that multi-functional intent.
The living room is the repository of beloved decor like paintings, often elevated to the status of heirlooms with fine art framing. Accent lighting showcases your treasures attractively. As in the kitchen, recessed lighting illuminates without breaking the mood. The light deployed has a specific purpose: to give pride of place to that heirloom painting or your collection of handcrafted swords.
Strategically placed task lighting provides illumination you can read by. With a standing lamp or a minimalist table lamp fulfilling a specific purpose, the mood of the room is enhanced, honoring function while maintaining the calm aesthetic you desire.
For entertaining, wall grazers add drama, highlighting architectural elements and revealing beautiful textures on walls, floors and even your furniture. Grazers tell an aesthetic story about the space itself, bringing it to life.
In the morning, it’s “go time.” You’re transitioning from sleep to the busy day ahead, so you need lighting that’s energizing but gentle. Choose lighting that’s diffused and more closely resembles daylight.
Wall sconces on either side of the mirror with a third sconce positioned over the bathroom mirror create this effect, especially when positioned close to the mirror. Another solution is a mirror equipped with LED lighting, casting an even, diffused light.
But because the bathroom is also the site of relaxing evening baths, a dimmer switch is in order. The daylight illumination of your busy mornings can be readily transformed with a dimmer, creating two moods that align seamlessly with your lifestyle.
Ambient lighting that imparts a soothing environment is ideal for the home’s most intimate space. While you need to see while dressing and perhaps to read before bed, the bedroom is a sanctified space, demanding a unique lighting approach.
Those who read before bed will appreciate the presence of task lighting for that purpose. This is best achieved with small, wall-mounted fixtures or pendant lights that leave the bedside table clear for a stack of books.
The ambience of your bedroom is enhanced with moody lighting that provides illumination without bringing daytime intensity into your sacred sleeping space. Light which is soft and adjustable may be provided by a statement standing lamp, or an overhead fixture that emits a calming, low light. The primary goal of bedroom lighting is keyed to its purpose, which is sleep and, of course, intimacy.
Once you’ve selected your aesthetic lighting schemes, choosing the right bulb for the light fixture and its purpose is your next task. With ecologically-sound solutions readily available and bulbs for all purposes, the bulb is the finishing touch, providing exactly the right intensity and mood.
Thinking of lighting as an element of decor pushes your interiors to the next level, recreating them as functional oases of domestic beauty and bliss.
Carolyn Mitchell is a freelance writer and content strategist with a passion for home décor. She can often be found re-painting and updating the furnishings in her home, and she is also a dedicated cat mom to two adorable kitties.