Bright lights are great for entertaining and daily activities, but when you want the mood to be quieter, or more intimate, just turn the lights down.
That’s how easily you can use lighting placement and intensity to capture the energy or quietude that you want.
Here are several suggestions to choose lighting that will give you the ambiance you want, no matter what mood you’re in.
Room function and mood lighting
Since different rooms have different functions, it stands to reason that the lighting required may vary greatly. Even within the same room, you have multiple light sources that can change the ambiance of the room, depending on the time of day and the activities you have planned.
By offering several sources of light, any room can change from a peaceful retreat to an energetic party place by adjusting your lighting with dimmers. Dimmers can range from low candlelight glow to daylight bright to either quiet or wake up the space.
Another ingredient to mood lighting is layering. Overhead lighting on tracks, ceiling fans, or recessed lighting can provide central lighting. Floor lamps or torchieres, uplights, and downlights can accent architectural features and art displays. Sconces add stylish soft, indirect light anywhere you place them.
The type of bulbs you use can also set the mood. Bulbs come in warm lights, colors, soft white, bright white and natural daylight options.
Kitchens benefit from several types of lighting. Task lighting is crucial for the sink and food preparation areas. Fluorescent lighting is ideal for the brightest lighting. Over an island or coffee bar, use halogen floodlights or daylight bulbs for crisp lighting.
Baths also require task lighting, but the fluorescent lighting will tend to play poorly with skin tones. For more accurate cosmetic application, shaving and other personal grooming, halogen lighting or daylight bulbs create the best solutions.
Bedroom lighting will usually involve bedside task lighting best provided by table lamps with adjustable levels of light from 3-way bulbs. Accent lighting can be provided by sconces or floor lamps.
Place the wall lights low and use fixtures with closed tops to create a more intimate mood.
Dining areas usually have some kind of chandelier with candle-style bulbs. The more bulbs, the brighter the light. Dimmers can lower the light to a romantic mood or brighten the room for family dinners or entertaining. Additional lighting can be provided with sconces or buffet table lamps.
Living area lighting can offer a variety of fixtures that set a mood. Ceiling fan lights or a central overhead fixture offer bright general lighting. Task lighting for card tables or reading or games can be placed wherever needed. To showcase artwork, a single directed spotlight from overhead can add dramatic interest to the room.
Lighting comes in five major categories:
General purpose - any lighting fixture that is plugged into an ordinary socket, such as lamps or overhead fixtures.
Decorative - any lighting where the bulb can be seen, such as a chandelier, bathroom strip lighting, pendant lighting or sconces.
Track or Recessed - lighting that is usually a floodlight or spotlight in tracks or recessed fixtures.
Specialty - unusual lights found in appliances or furniture such as cabinet lighting, appliance lighting.
Outdoor - lighting that is specially designed for use outdoors such as security lights, lamp post lights, porch or entry lights.
The type of fixture housing the lighting that you choose will determine the type of bulb that is used. Certain lights such as chandeliers have candle-shaped bulbs. Bathroom strip lighting may have globes. Fluorescent kitchen or laundry area lights may use tubes. Track lights may use reflector bulbs. Check the lighting manufacturer's instructions on the type bulb and maximum wattage allowed.
Whatever the lighting you choose, providing different light sources within a room allows you control the ambiance. Think warm lighting with yellow, orange and red tones to stimulate. Think crisp bright, light to energize. Think cool lights such as blues and greens to calm and soothe.
Once you get used to playing with the dimmer switches, you’ll find that the proper lighting is one of the most important considerations to make the most attractive use of any space.