Today – How to think like a lighting designer in the home
Lighting is precisely the kind of thing that you might not think you need any professional help with in your home. After all, what could be more straightforward than plugging in a lamp and switching it on, so that you can read a book or carry out tasks in your home office? Surely, you hardly need an expert to teach you anything about those things.
Alas, it is precisely this attitude that causes so many homeowners to make heinous mistakes with their domestic lighting, thereby making their abode a much less pleasant place to be from an illumination point of view than it may have otherwise been.
So, here are some of the best ways to give yourself that savvy lighting-designer mentality – and in the process, better identify opportunities to massively enhance your home’s lighting.
Grasp the concept of layering
One of the first things any lighting designer will tell you is that if you want to get the best results out of the lighting in your home, you need to know how to layer light.
If that sounds a little… well, pretentious, just think for a moment about all of those historic churches and cathedrals you’ve walked into in the past, that were utterly stunningly illuminated. These buildings have achieved spectacular lighting effects for centuries by combining lamps, torches, chandeliers, candles and stained glass windows in all manner of fascinatingly layered ways.
Layering, then, is all about bringing different elements of lighting together in combination to create a particular atmosphere or feel. It’s absolutely central to how lighting designers think and work.
Know the three main lighting types
Building on the above information, you may have a ‘knack’ for layering light effectively already. But if you don’t, a great starting point is to educate yourself on the three broad types of lighting that lighting designers are so accustomed to blending in various ways.
Those three main types of lighting are ambient, task and accent. The first of those is basically just the general illumination of a room – what comes on when you flick the main light switch.
The second, meanwhile, is practical lighting that makes it easier for you to focus on specific tasks. Finally, the third is very much lighting for aesthetic purposes – highlighting certain desired ‘focal points’ of a room such as fireplaces, pictures and ornate pieces of furniture.
Understand these three, and you’ll already be well on the way to thinking like a lighting designer, including how you can balance the layers of light in your home to create a sense of taste and harmony.
Look for versatile, not just specific forms of lighting
It’s easy to imagine that professional lighting designers would be enthusiastic proponents of the most specialised, complicated and, dare one say it, expensive illumination options – but that’s not necessarily the case.
In fact, it’s often the more ‘basic’ or fundamental types of lighting that can be utilised in all manner of ways that most win the hearts of lighting designers.
Consider sophisticated floor lamps like those offered by PAGAZZI, for instance – they look chic, are well-priced and can provide ambient, task and accent lighting in different contexts. It’s therefore well worth you investing in a couple, not least as such lamps will also be adaptable to any future lighting schemes that you adopt for your home.
Would you appreciate a little further inspiration to help you to get into that lighting-designer mindset? If so, you might want to check out Real Simple’s intriguing Q&A with industry insider Melanie Freundlich, who has her own thoughts on where you may be going wrong with your own home’s illumination.
I hope you have found the post on how to think like a lighting designer in the home useful