Successful lighting schemes are based on a balance between natural and artificial light, coupled with the interaction of function and design. This might seem like an algebraic formula, but if you can understand the primary role of lighting, this will give you a strong direction on how to optimise certain areas with light.
When involving lighting into your interior design scheme, it is important to understand that lighting is divided in three main categories: task, accent and background.
- Task: directional lighting that is focused on an area for a specific purpose (reading light)
- Accent: concentrated light on a subject that both highlights and causes it to stand out from its surroundings
- The background light is used to illuminate a background area of a specific space in other words highlighting the background by directing the light source towards it. Commonly it is a lower intensity light.
Stylists in particular like to use lighting also to highlight a feature, disguise a flaw and make the most of its form as a decorative element itself. For that reason try to place lighting at different levels in the room and use a combination of accent lighting like table lamps and decorative lamps to add warmth and atmosphere.
Set accents with light
Candles and candleholders are a simple way of creating mood and ambiance and everyone has some candles hidden in some drawer. Get them out and be ready for the evening dawn. This is a great exercise to do when it’s dark, so you really can feel the impact of the lights and see how they affect your living space. Once the room starts to darken, just keep minimal light on so you can still see. Place the candles in different spots and see how they affect the rooms atmosphere (for example on side tables, bookshelves, in corridors etc). Then chose a painting or a feature you would like to highlight. You can create “up lighting” effects by placing candles under or next to it. Find a dark corner that could be a potential spot for a decorative lamp or candleholder!
The result? “Playing with fire” will build your confidence in lighting design and will prepare you for tackling projects of bigger size!