The techniques of lighting have greatly evolved beyond simple table lamps and chandeliers, yet many homeowners have not updated their thinking much beyond this approach. It’s true that progressive design is a hot topic, but it’s not for everyone. How does the owner of a more traditionally styled house make use of today’s lighting techniques in conjunction with newer light sources? Can new lighting techniques be applied to non-cutting edge spaces to enhance the sense of warmth and comfort that these cozy interiors inspire? The answer is a resounding... yes!
The trick is to keep the lighting upgrades subtle so that the decorative light sources can remain thearchitectural jewelry for a home. Chandeliers and table lamps are an important element to most all styles of residences. They are needed to provide the ambience for a room without necessarily providing all the necessary illumination on their own. This applies outside of a home as well. Adding a layer of accent lights, hidden among the plantings, allows the lanterns at the front door and by the garage to provide the illusion of providing the main light without visually over powering the landscaping. Using high quality LED lamps, they can offer the dimmablity and warm color of the more traditional incandescent lamps.
Sometimes residential lighting design takes a backseat to commercial projects as far as use of emerging alternative lamps. Lighting for homes needs to be more subtle than what goes into public spaces. A restaurant or theater project can dive headfirst into the realm of fantasy design. Patrons want to be transported to a place that is a different world than what they experience at home. Yet, when homeowners are in their personal spaces they want to be able to have various levels of functional illumination for the mundane, but ever so important tasks, that are a part of day-to-day living.
Lighting can be a tremendous force. It’s the one factor that makes all the other elements in design work together. Yet it has for so long been the last thing considered and the first item cut from the budget. Often less expensive, poorly made LED and CFL light sources are specified for a project. The result has left many homes drab, uncomfortable and dark. Too often the blame goes elsewhere, when improper lighting design and component selection is the true culprit. Becoming better acquainted with the guidelines for good lighting, layered with a better understanding of the companies who offer high quality energy efficient sources, will allow homeowners to work with their designers and contractors to get the best of both worlds.
Light has four specific duties. They are to provide decorative, accent, task, and ambient illumination. No one light source, whether it is incandescent, fluorescent or LED can perform all the functions of lighting required for a specific space. Understanding what these terms mean will help homeowners make better decisions that will integrate illumination into the overall design and give them what they want.