After a day in the Southern California sun coming home to a comfortable well lit home is important. As decorators know, your ideal environment is only created with the correct lighthing.
Good lighting enables activity, enhances color. It paints your home in the most flattering light. Most importantly, good lighthing gives a room a sense of warmth and life. Light fixtures also bring fun and fashion to a space. Use lighting in practical and provocative ways to alter the mood in your living room.
One of the keys to creating a comfortable and flexible room is to layer the lighting. Use a mix of ambient, task, and accent lighting to delineate different zones. Establish a plan that allows you to adjust the room’s illumination levels gradually from bright to dim to suit your needs.
Begin with the ambient, or general, layer; this is the light that simply makes the room visible. Next, consider the task lights you’ll need for you and your family to read, work, or play. Add an accent layer – fixtures that focus on objects or architectural features you want to highlight or light sources that create specific moods
Think of ambient lighting as your living room’s overall light wash, whether it’s sunlight streaming in through the windows during the day or overhead lights casting a warm glow through the room at night. Ambient light is the basic lighting layer, illuminating walls, open areas, and main pieces of furniture so that you can navigate the space with ease. Ambient light can be direct, bounced off a wall, or diffused through a shade to warm up the quality of the light. Dimmer switches allow you to modulate lighting to suit different moods and occasions.
Suspended uplights are ceiling–mounted fixtures that cast light upward and give an even glow.
Pendants hang from the ceiling. They come in different shapes and styles that can add another decorative element to a room.
Designed to help you perform activities at close range, task lighting is a more location–specific layer of light than ambient lighting. Place wall sconces behind the sofa to facilitate reading, or use a swing–arm table lamp on a side or parson’s table. Hang a pendant lamp low over a game table. Think about brightness, beam direction, proximity of the fixture to the task area, and the bulb’s color temperature (its relative value of warmth or coolness) when selecting task–oriented lighting.
Table lamps come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and wattages. For versatility, choose one that takes a three–way bulb.
Swing–arm lamps have adjustable arms that allow the light to be swung into position.
Sconces attach directly to the wall and can offer useful supplementary lighting.
Floor lamps are freestanding and may be adjustable in height.
Accent lighting provides dramatic spots of light wherever you want them and is the layer that allows you to change a room’s mood and style most easily. Typically using narrow–beam lightbulbs, accent lights let you direct the eye to those objects or places in the room you find most visually appealing. Spotlight a favorite painting or sculpture on a wall or mantel, highlight a pleasingly textured wall with track lighting spots, or dot candles throughout the room to create a warm, natural glow.
Mini–chandeliers hang from the ceiling and add sparkle.
Track lights can be aimed to highlight architectural details and favorite objects.
Candles fill a room with warmth and animation; they can add color and scent as well.
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