Thanks to Daylight Saving Time and the gloom it brings rooms by the afternoon, we want to stretch light to the limits at this time of the year. Our JLI Winter Lighting Guide has our favorite long-term solutions to help you compensate for inadequate lighting everywhere in your home. But as interior designers with a focus on luxury, we have a battery of fabulous lighting tricks that can work instant wonders in any space.
Floor lamps offer ultimate versatility since they can move anywhere; provide ambient or task lighting; and come in myriad materials and styles. Double their decorative might and a room’s light by using them in pairs. (Image: Jessica Lagrange Interiors)
Whether a room is awkwardly proportioned, lackluster or too large or small, the right kind of light can help correct some of these defects. Here are our 11 favorite lighting tricks to get the right light where and when you need it—as quickly as possible.
1. If there are several light sources in a room and some are too bright or too dim for their surroundings, change the bulbs to create different effects. If a fixture or lamp emits too much glare, reduce it by replacing a standard bulb with a reflector bulb.
2. Always use dimmer switches. They increase the number of effects that can be achieved with the same light, and allow you to fine-tune the source of illumination to take advantage of other sources of light in the room.
Shades are a form of light control. Use translucent materials to cast a mellow glow, and opaque shades to focus illumination for tasks or to highlight specific objects. (Image: Jessica Lagrange Interiors)
3. Instead of changing out bulbs, change the shades in a fixture. Translucent materials allow more light into a room, which will make it seem brighter, while darker shades can glow softly when the light is turned on and lend a space drama.
4. Make a ceiling look higher with floor or wall-mounted uplights arranged around the perimeter of a room. They throw light up on the ceiling to give it optical height. They can also be concealed behind furniture on the floor or a cornice high on the walls.
Pendant lamps that almost graze the tabletop décor add warmth and intimacy to a dining area and temper the cavernous impact of a high ceiling. (Image: Jessica Lagrange Interiors)
5. To make a cavernous ceiling look lower and give a room an intimate demeanor, keep light away from the ceiling by placing wall lights fairly low and using shades or pendant fixtures with closed tops that won’t throw any light back on the ceiling. Also draw attention to anything placed at a low level, such as pictures or wall hangings positioned mid-wall or groups of accessories placed on low surfaces, by lighting them from above or with a lamp set on the surface.
6. To make a long, narrow space seem wider, focus attention on a feature on one of the end walls, such as a window with an elegant treatment or an interesting piece of art, by highlighting it with a spotlight, then wash the other walls in the room or hall with an even, but less intense, light.
For a decorative win-win, use reflective surfaces to amplify light and add the illusion of space to a room. (Image: Jessica Lagrange Interiors)
7. To make a space seem larger, wash opposite walls with light to make them seem further apart. Or combine lighting with mirrors and reflective surfaces to add the illusion of space to a room. Use recessed cans or track-mounted spots, pointed downwards, above a large wall-mounted mirror or position lamps so they are reflected in one or several mirrors.
8. Surfaces with sheen, such as glass, metal, tile and glossy paint, will reflect, heighten and amplify light, while matte or textured surfaces will absorb light rather than reflect it. Also, the darker a surface the more light it absorbs. Use dark textured surfaces in overly bright spaces to cut the glare from too much sunlight.
9. To make a space more intimate, use lots of table lamps to create a cozy glow. Make sure they have shades in colors that are warm rather than cool, such as alabaster, pearl, parchment or ivory instead of white, so the light they cast will have a mellow tone.
Window treatments can minimize or maximize natural light, depending on their weigh, weave and construction. Omit layers and linings to amplify translucency, or the reverse. (Image: Jessica Lagrange Interiors)
10. Use window treatments to manipulate the light and mood in a room. Translucent drapes filter natural light and produce a diffused effect. They come in many different weights and should be chosen with regard to this property. Slatted blinds offer optimum light control ranging from total transparency to full screening, and also create dramatic patterns of light and shade when opened at various angles.
11. Add mood-changing color to a space without paint by bathing white or light walls with a spotlight fitted with a colored filter. Research the specific psychological impacts a color can have before you take the plunge. For instance, yellow is cheery, promotes feelings of well-being and increases efficiency; blue is a soothing, can calm nerves and induces sleep; red is stimulating and dynamic and will enhance the action wherever it's used; green is harmonious, channels nature and can be warm, refreshing and earthy; and purple can be calming or exciting, depending on whether it leans more towards the reds or blues.
23 Nov 2016