1) Canned lights... Are only OK! Builders seem to think recessed cans are the best thing since sliced bread. They’re not entirely wrong, but oh boy, they’re not entirely right either. Recessed cans DO provide an easy, low profile ambient light. But any lighting that is cast straight down is incredibly unflattering... think interrogation room. There are lots of alternatives, such as multiple spot lights that shine directly on the wall, or a track system-they have many up to date ones available these days, and last but not least, adding several sconces (usually mounted at about 70” off the floor) will fill it with a warm glow at the perimeter, this is the most luxurious way to avoid canned lighting.
2) Just Dimmer It! I read a quote somewhere that said not using dimmer is like “driving a car without a gas pedal or brake”. And that’s exactly what it’s like. Dimmer switches make you in complete control of mood, like the wizard in Disney movies, with the wave of a hand the skies change and suddenly it’s a whole new space. Dimmers are the ONLY way to have canned lighting be successful. They start around $10 and (usually) the man of the house can install. This is always the first thing I do when I’m in a new house.
3) Atmosphere Most of all, lighting controls our mood in the space (and it will be the first reason someone gets anxious and wants to leave a space- I’d be willing to bet you it’s because the lighting is amiss.) Have you ever been in a restaurant that is good on all fronts except the lighting is cafeteria-like? Check please! Or where the food is terrible, but the atmosphere is good enough to go back, time and time again?.. This is all thanks to lighting. And the little tea-light on my table better be real fire, enough with the ‘flickering’ LED fakes.. they’re just not the same, and no, they’re not life-like.
Outside living spaces count too! who doesn't want to hang out here!? via http://www.leoob.com/
4) Accent lights. I know they seem trivial; adding just a skosh of lighting on a piece or art, or an uplight on the floor lighting foliage, but this is where the room goes from just ok, to dramatic and ‘complete’ feeling. These types of lights are usually inexpensive and plenty are plug-in vs hardwired, an easy way to add some drama.
How great is this bathroom my Kara Mann. The chandelier is fabulous, but the undercabinet light at the floor is delish.
5) A good center piece. Great- rooms and dining rooms (and bedrooms and powder rooms too!) all benefit from a statement-making chandelier. This is a great spot to make a style statement and that often gets overlooked. Try to center your piece in the room if you don’t have a table or focal point to use. And go a little bigger than you’re comfortable with, the bigger the better when it comes to drama and light fixtures.
space by Brown Design
I hope this was a good starting place for lighting, the possibilities and tricks with lighting are endless.. just don’t save it for last!