Learning how to choose the right lighting for your home demands the skill of combining lighting design together with sophisticated style decision making. Every choice needs to contribute towards a lighting scheme that works for every space as well as look incredible.
There is more to selecting lighting than ensuring everything matches requiring a creative combination of visual factors that need to combine perfectly to enhance the interior design. Our tips on lighting coordination will help with what you need to know before choosing the right lighting styles.
For an example on how to light a room try: A Kitchen Lighting Design Guide
The 2 key ingredients to successful lighting coordination within a room are choosing the right scale and the optimal sizing of the fixtures to suit the space. Every visible light fixture has the potential to transform a room from the obvious to something very special.
Begin with the shape and size of the space the lighting is for. It may sound obvious but allow the proportions of the room to show you spaces that deserve to have a light placed or hung in them. For example, larger rooms will allow for more of a statement piece whereas a smaller room will need to use smaller fixtures, such as a pair of wall lights or use a corner for something fabulous. Lighting does not necessarily have to be large in scale to make a statement but it does have to be appealing, a real opportunity to introduce beauty into a room.
A room with a high ceiling opens opportunities for hanging something grand but creates a little issue of making sure there is enough light. This usually comes from more scattered table and floor lights – so the space has shown you how to light it.
Open plan spaces can call upon the lighting to help unify the design of two rooms but it does not have to match both spaces as interesting design allows for contrasts and compliments within the styling.
Lighting should be used as one of the tools to bringing a room design together. Like a scattering of cushions includes accent colors and patterns from other accessories, lighting should used in a more three dimensional way.
Consider your choice of lighting when it is turned off as well as on. A decorative light fitting is predominantly off rather than turned on, so it must look great as an accessory in the day and transform into its full potential at night
Consider choosing a hung pendant or chandelier that can be used as a tool to connect common spaces together, using it’s style to bind and complete the mixture of kitchen and lounge/dining areas.
Links between items within a room harmonise a space. A common thread of finish, color, shape or texture can be woven between the lighting and other items within the room. The lighting will then support other accessory choices and help blend everything together. However, be selective and do not overuse the common link as used sparingly it will become a highlight.
Do not rely upon lighting collections as your key to lighting coordination. It’s tempting as it seems as if someone has done the hard work for you but obvious choices can look bland and under achieve the full potential of the lighting styles contribution to the interior design of the room. Avoid monotony at all costs!
Sharing a style between the lighting choices is important but use a variety. Use different manufacturer’s who you can see are leaning towards a similar style but each have something a little different. Each individual choice from the same stable of style creates depth to the overall design.
Lighting coordination does not always mean matching styles. They need to work together but too matchy matchy brings monotony. Exemplary interior design will mix and match colour, textures, form, materials, and finishes to create compliments. The successful coordination of lighting will support the decor and other items who each support the lighting but they do not have to be too similar. In fact a fabulously designed light fixture can be strong enough to stand alone within an array of other designs and still look right as a singular statement.
The character and age of a building and particularly the interior that your lighting is for, could influence your lighting coordination. The noticeable character of a space may be the chosen dominant feature that the lighting plays a supporting role for.
For example, in a room of older character a choice of complimentary contemporary lighting will still very well on it’s own. The cleaner lines of modern lighting create a contrast – a juxtaposition – to the interior and both look as they should – amazing.
It may be a home near the sea which allows the coastal style to influence everything. Here the lighting can play a strong role in emphasising the theme but not to include too many similar features. In a white washed room with blues and pictures of seaside scenes, the lighting can introduce beach textures like rope and familiar shore line shapes of pebbles. It should never be pastiche and that can be avoided by being singular in your choice and avoiding repeating the same elements throughout.
Proportion and scale of lighting is incredibly important and most designers agree that up-scaling and oversizing lighting is a fundamental factor in successful lighting specification. In essence you are looking for an opportunity to go as large as possible with the chosen key lighting features.
Creating the scale suitable for the space can be from a group of light fixtures. For instance a row of drop pendants feel like a single fitting to the eye as they form a shape within the room. Dining tables and kitchen islands are perfect places to hang lighting so specify a fixture or group that fill the space together appropriately. Also think of installed lighting as a single source that creates a shape, such as shelf lighting. The light from the illuminated shelving will delineate a space, which to the eye looks like one shape. Consider the role that size of lit space will balance within the room.
A tip for the pairing of wall lighting to the room is to allow them to play a supporting role to whatever the chosen statement piece is. There must not be competing fixtures as it can be easy to get excited about choosing and get carried away – restraint is important.
If the wall lights are the main focus then you are free to choose as you wish and are an ideal opportunity to create drama. Repetition is also a great tool to use within lighting and wall lights can look incredible deliberately repeated to draw the eye through a space or make a long wall more interesting.
When choosing the physical size of lighting, consider the space it will be installed on or hung in like a picture within a frame. The mount around a framed picture emphasises the picture itself by giving it a neutral backdrop. Your lighting choices need space around them for exactly the same reason, it is not wasted space.
Feature lighting is where the chosen light fixture becomes a focal point to the room, an opportunity to introduce a statement. To coordinate such a powerful choice with the rest of the interior and lighting it should always be purposeful – like it’s meant to be there. It does not have to be large but it should embody something special, maybe unique. Introduce a complimentary texture or finish colour or anything that helps elevate this lighting choice as the most important element within the room. Be brave. Other light fixtures can nod to the star of the show by including similar elements, colours or finishes but should not compete.
A common lighting coordination technique is to use identical pairs of lights within a room. A mirror image of the same table light either side of a sofa or bed looks purposeful and creates another focal point but not too commanding to compete with a central feature light.
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