Thursday, August 04, 2016

The Interiorista: Light up!

Lighting is an important element of interior design that often gets overlooked. The lighting options you display in your home will provoke a particular mood, affect how the size of the room is perceived, and create texture and specific focal points, among other things.

The primary reason lighting is placed in a home is because its functionality. If well used, light will convey a sense of warmth and comfort.
Lighting can serve three different functions:

1. Ambient lighting: is background light that spreads an overall luminosity.

2. Task lighting: is used for a particular activity such as office work, reading, preparing food or grooming.

3. Accent lighting: is used as decorative source and focuses on a particular object or area.

Lack of light or insufficient light can provoke feelings of depression, gloom or even fear, so it is important you know how to use light correctly.

You should locate your light in a place that illuminates the surface, object, or required task; otherwise, you will encounter glare which causes eye fatigue and general irritability.

There are two types of glare:
  • Direct glare: occurs from unshielded sources of light. Bright lights through windows and exposed lamps are good examples.
  • Indirect glare: occurs when light is reflected from surfaces (ex. Glossy surfaces, glass, and mirrors)

To avoid glare, use shades and sheers, refrain from glossy surfaces, and use low level lights.

So, how to know where to add a light fixture? Follow these basic rules to help you decide where to locate sources of light throughout your home:
  1. Add lighting where you need it.
  2. Balance your lighting. " It is essential to create an effective spread of light through each room and have it flow seamlessly between rooms. The best way to achieve this is to layer light sources. The first step to lighting design is to identify the main activity areas or the room's focal points. Any room with multiple focal points will be the most visually interesting and balanced. This is where the brightest layer of light should be directed. The next step is a middle layer of light that provides interest in specific areas without detracting from focal points. The last layer fills in the background. The first two layers are supplied by task and/or accent lighting, depending on what is being lit. The third, ambient lighting, is usually indirect like that provided by wall sconces" (
  3. Lighting should reflect and enhance the style of the interior. Choose light fixtures that portray your style and add visual interest and texture to the room as a whole.

If you would like to know what type of lighting fits best in each particular room, read these useful tips from

Living room
Light three of the four corners, focusing one of those lights on an object (art, a plant, a striking chair). Use a combination of table lamps and floor lamps, some with a downward glow and some that shine upward. Allow for reading in as many seats as possible with down-glowing lamps on three-way switches. If you have an overhead fixture, put it on a dimmer.

Dining room
To draw people in, make the table the brightest spot in the room. use a chandelier or a pendant above the table, limiting the total wattage to 100. Elsewhere in the room, indirect lighting is best-it's relaxing and flattering. Give the space a subtle glow with a pair of small table lamps on a sideboard or matching sconces on the wall above. Battery-powered votive a glass-front china cabinet can be a nice touch.

Focus on overhead lighting (on a dimmer that you can crank up when cooking), and add lower sources to illuminate surfaces. Use pendants, under-cabinet lights, or a sturdy table lamp (keep away from the sink).

Aim for a cozy, insular atmosphere: Place reading lamps or sconces by the bed-but not pointed directly at it. If you have recessed or track fixtures, angle them away from the bed, toward the dressing area. On a low table, include a small, intimate lamp with a tinted low-wattage bulb to mimic candlelight.

The best choice of applying make up is sidelights, such as a pair of sconces flanking the mirror. An overhead light helps fill in any shadows on your face and also fully illuminates the room (important when cleaning). In a large space, you might also want a light directly over the shower.

Not familiar with all the lighting options out there? Not to worry! Check this link to help you visualize and differentiate diverse lighting fixtures:

Lastly, where to buy light fixtures? Some of my favorite stores are: Homegoods, Ikea, Pottery Barn, West Elm, CB2,, world,,, etc.

Do you pay attention to the lighting decor in your home? You certainly should! I hope this post lit your creativity up!





Mindi said...

Thanks, Angelica! I can definitely speak to the lack of lighting affecting mood and energy. The home we rented last year had very little natural light and dim fixtures. It felt as though we were in a cave. I love your idea to have lamps on a sideboard table in the dining room to make it feel warmer!

Angelica said...

Thank you, Mindi for your comment! I think lighting, when well used, can really emphasized the beauty in the home! Still leaning how to use it myself!:)