How to Effectively Use Lighting

Designers work to create beautiful, functional spaces using all of the elements of design effectively. However, without light no one will ever see or appreciate the beauty of even the most perfectly designed space. Just try this. Walk into your favorite room at night.  Now turn out all the lights. What do you think now?

The first thing to consider when creating a lighting plan for your space is the different levels or layers of lighting you need.  Each room requires ambient lighting, task lighting and accent lighting, each with a very specific function.

Ambient lighting provides overall illumination or general lighting to your space.  Think of the old fashioned light bulb hanging in the center of a room for a bare bones image of ambient lighting.  Today’s lighting choices for this purpose can include anything from a grand chandelier to a wide array of recessed lighting fixtures.

Task lighting is built around the functionality of your space and should be chosen accordingly.  How will you be using your space? Will you be reading, watching TV, socializing, eating…? These needs can be met by very specific fixtures. Think about a Pharmacy Style Floor Lamp placed next to your favorite reading chair or a lovely Porcelain Ginger Jar Style Table Lamp placed on the end table next to your sofa for social situations.

Accent lighting is used to bring attention to focal points that you would like to showcase in your space.  Do you have a fabulous piece of art or a beautiful stone wall for your fireplace? There are fixtures that can meet these needs as well as a plethora of others. Accent lighting can be used as up lighting such as behind a plant in a corner or can be installed within furniture pieces like behind a glass door or in a display nook.

The first step is to create a floor plan for your space so that you can develop an effective lighting plan to complement your design.  Then consider types of fixtures needed and the color temperature and types of bulbs you will be using. There are many developments in this field with LED bulbs readily available that will cover the color spectrum.  Be aware that if your fixtures are attached to a dimmer switch, bulbs must be compatible and say “dimmable” or you will get flickering. While many spaces use lighting to create a sparkle always be aware of glare that can be produced with the use of some types of bulbs with exposed filaments (think the retro looking “Edison Style Bulbs”).  Above all, always follow recommended wattage restrictions and use a qualified professional for any electrical wiring or installations you require.

If you would like any other information about this or any other design areas please contact me at or call the office at 732 270-4546.

Liz Balogh   Chrysaliz Design,LLC