Jessica Lagrange Interiors LLC

Combat Winter Doldrums with The Right Light and Our Lighting Guide

Forget the cold!  We’re down these days because it’s dark outside by 4:30 p.m. Our sadness is no surprise—research shows that a lack of light causes depression, impairs concentration, decreases productivity and dings cheerful moods.  Fortunately, all that can change with a flick of the switch. The right kind of light does the opposite, alleviating depression and improving concentration, productivity, health and mood. 

But not any light will do. As interior designers in Chicago, where days can be a full hour shorter than say Detroit because we’re on the eastern border of a time zone, we can attest to the fact that it takes the right light to combat all of the above. Fortunately, we have lots of knowhow in this area thanks to Victoria Ellis, the brilliant lighting consultant we pull in on many of our projects. 

A comprehensive lighting plan starts by assessing and maximizing a room’s natural light and architectural assets. Here, window treatments let natural light shine through and lamps cast light above and below their shades to accentuate elegantly wrought millwork. (Image: Jessica Lagrange Interiors)

We work closely with Victoria because light is such a critical part of our everyday lives that it should be considered before we put anything else in our homes. Ideally, that means while a place is still in the throes of design and construction.  But few of us have the leeway to build our homes from the ground up or consider lighting before putting anything else in a room.  So we play catch up, installing lights where we think they should be or think we need them. 

Layers of lighting, from recessed cans and decorative fixtures to task-oriented lamps, contribute to the comprehensive lighting plan of this vintage apartment.  (Image: Jessica Lagrange Interiors)

Regardless of whether we’re starting from scratch or backtracking to address inadequacies in the way a space is illuminated, the right light starts with a comprehensive plan that touches every room. Victoria helps us conceive it to blend substance and style. That means it fulfills the utilitarian objectives of everyday life, complements a home’s decorating style and achieves the perfect balance between natural and artificial light in every room.

Lighting should be used to define functions in a space and highlight treasured possessions. A contemporary chandelier adds style and utility to the table it crowns, while a table lamp illuminates prized art. (Image: Jessica Lagrange Interiors)

But like everything about our homes, the right light changes as our needs do, so we believe in seasonal check-ups. While we can’t conjure up the long-lasting, mood-enhancing sunlight of a summer afternoon, we can do some seasonal adjustments room-by-room to make the most of the dark days ahead.  We asked Victoria for her advice, and she helped us come up with a Winter Lighting Guide to make sure you have the right kind of light everywhere in your home to combat early-onset nights.   

JLI’s Winter Lighting Guide 


Kitchen and Dining Spaces

Living Rooms 



Walk-In Closets

With their sleek shape and ample wattage, dimmable LED sconces blend form and function to shed a broad swath of light where it counts on a vanity mirror. (Image: Jessica Lagrange Interiors)

23 Nov 2016


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