Have you ever purchased a piece of dècor for your home — whether a new sofa, a painting from a local artist, or perhaps upgraded flooring in the kitchen only to find that it doesn’t look quite right?
The problem may lie, not with your taste in tile or art, but in the kind of lighting you’re using. Many people focus on paint, texture, and color when designing a room with lighting nothing more than an afterthought. But in reality, the type of lighting you choose can make or break a space.
The amount of natural light in a room can make a difference in what type of lighting you choose as do the materials on the walls and in the furnishings. Dark paint or draperies tend to absorb light and make a room appear smaller whereas lighter paint and furnishings reflect light making the space appear brighter. Even surfaces like counter tops and floors that are reflective can create harsh glare in a room with inappropriate light fixtures.
When choosing lighting, it’s a good idea to focus first on whether you need uplighting or downlighting. Both are important and serve specific purposes, and you will find that a combination of both is often best. This is called layering a room using a mix of ambient, accent, and task lighting.
For example, this Rochester Up Light Sconce is, as you might guess, a classic up light. The broad bowl of this bathroom wall sconce directs the light upward toward the ceiling. If you choose the alabaster bowl option shown on the right, you’ll also get a bit more of a soft glow around the bowl itself.
For larger spaces, like dining rooms and living areas, chandeliers can provide a wider span of uplighting. The Maven Chandelier shown here is styled after the ring chandeliers used in Medieval times though the candles have been updated with light bulbs. These fixtures are great for general lighting in a room and, when used with a dimmer switch, can let you adjust the amount of light to the mood of the moment.
Down lighting, on the other hand, is great for task lighting in areas such as the kitchen, workshop, or on the craft table. A classic RLM warehouse shade such as this Universal Gooseneck Light throws the light right onto the grill below with no harsh glare. When used outdoors, down lighting fixtures are dark sky friendly which makes the stars easier to see and keeps your neighbors happy too!
And some fixtures give you the best of both worlds! Like our new Wallaby Cord Hung Pendant (on the right) and the Brisbane Industrial Cord Hung Pendant which give you both up and down lighting thanks to their unique design. A wide flared shade reflects light downward while uplighting is provided over the top of the shade through the glass.
You can also find fixtures, like this Aero Vented Cord Hung Pendant, which provide decorative points of light through the neck design. This stylish shallow bowl shade offers an extra play of light and shadows with these pinpoints of illumination!
Gooseneck photo courtesy of Greg Daniels