With so many people spending more time in their homes due to Covid, the way you live in your space has definitely changed   From parents working at home to children being homeschooled rooms have become much more multi-purpose.  We thought it might be good to discuss: How lighting can transform your space so you are not in the dark.

When you start on a home project, how do you begin to think about lighting? 

Lighting is one of the first items to look at for a new home.  Get the furniture flow and plan developed, then look at what areas to highlight, meaning to light really well.  It’s good to have some shadowy areas, or negative space, as it helps to control how people navigate through a home and its use.  Next, look at each room, how will it be used, and what the mix of task and ambient lighting should be used.  Once chandeliers are installed, then think about adding some of the “star” or special fixtures.  Consider where they need to serve as the exclamation point for a room.  Always use dimmers on all chandeliers and recessed cans, so that in different times of day and evening the light can be controlled.  In addition use 3000k bulbs for recessed cans as it gives off the closest to natural lighting within a space.

When do you use natural lighting?

Whenever possible.  When I walk into a house and see plantation shutters blocking light, the first thing I do is recommend taking them out.  Mother Nature knows her stuff when it comes to lighting.  I let her take the lead and we support from there.

Let’s walk thru the house…. For the entryway, what is important to know when you determine what is needed? When do you use chandeliers vs recessed lighting?

I typically use a mixture of both.  In large homes, the entry and the foyers tend to be large have a lot of depth. This is the perfect place for a mixture of lighting.  A fantastic chandelier that sets the stage for the feel of the home, coupled with recessed lighting and typically a lamp on the entry console.

On a foyer console should you use singles or pairs?  Why?

Both can be used as  It depends on how large the space is and how large the console is.

Sometimes balance and symmetry are key for the proportion.

In the dining room, should the ceiling lighting be making a statement, or should it blend into space? We’ve heard that in dining rooms that you need to have appropriate night lighting.

Is that true?

Ceiling lighting it the star in the space.   Do take into account the amount of light needed for evening vs day time.  Everything is on a dimmer for easy control.  The lighting you would want for a dinner party is different from that in a cocktail party with a buffet set up on the dining table.  For the ceiling lights,  do use recessed cans to blend into the ceiling allowing the chandelier to be the statement for space.

Living Rooms have more than one seating area do you combine, floor, recessed, table lights.

On end tables do you use lamps?  When are sconces important to use?

Remember a lot of activities can happen in a living room.  It is all about the blend of lighting and options for how multi seating is being used.  There are times that sconces above a fireplace work well, but not often.  It does tend to limit the size of art if you go that way.  You can use a table or task lighting by couches on end tables and recessed cans to direct other lighting as well.

Do you try to use lighting to create shadows and moods?  How do you layer lighting?

Absolutely.  It is one of the first things we work on within a home.  Shadows within a space help control how the eye moves through space.  Think of how your eye moves across a billboard advertisement.  It is very controlled by the layout. The way you light a room is very similar. It is to think not only about the space within the room but how do you want people to move through it as well.

How do you use ambient lighting?

It’s used to create mood and a feeling within a space.  And again, all on dimmers.

Do you ever use the new “shadow dancing” type of lighting that casts patterns and creates an atmosphere in space?

I have used this type of lighting for years in chandeliers or better yet, sconces in a formal powder room.  It helps turn add drama to a little jewel box of spaces.

Lampshades are there any advice on when to use vs. not?

I rarely use chandeliers. But do use on sconces.

With everyone working from home, there are more areas in the house now be used to work both professionally and school.  Let’s discuss what is good task lighting.

One of the most important things is the temperature of the bulbs.  Use a 60 watt so that it isn’t too bright and distorts coloration.

Bedside or reading lights.  Do you add reading lights to the beds?   How high should the light be vs. nightstand?

Mount them between 24-30” above the nightstand depending upon the nightstand height and ceiling height.  I love reading lights for the direct light it gives without having to light an entire room in the evening.

Tish Mills Kirk of Tish Mills Interiors, a preferred vendor of The Meridian Real Estate Group, is an award-winning interior designer who has been working with clients in their homes for more than two decades. She believes that it is essential to put together a cohesive plan for your home renovation before you get started that can be carried out by the team of experts you assemble. www.harmoniousliving.net

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 Photos provided by Chris Little.