Lighting. Lighting. Lighting. It’s one of the most overlooked and under addressed elements in the design of interior and exterior spaces. And, it’s also one of the most crucial to the overall design plan and concept. Without a clear and well thought out lighting plan, the rest of the design, well… gets lost in the dark.
Light is the most powerful tool we have. Our vision is a product of light. It produces an emotional response and experience. It can change space, scale, color and volume. The proper use of light beautifies, helps us relax and play, creates mood, provides comfort, convenience, safety and drama. It is truly a ‘guiding light’.
So, it’s important to hire an Interior Design firm that understands and studies ‘the architecture of light’. It’s not just about great fixture selection, we all love a gorgeous chandelier…
I’m a bling girl for sure. Lighting design is a true discipline based on a set of concepts, techniques and practices that enhance and augment architecture and design.
It’s all about the ‘layering’ of light. There are five main principles that provide a framework for understanding and achieving composition and aesthetics in lighting design. Shall I high ‘light’?
1. To choreograph an experience:
Direct movement, flow and way finding in a space
2.) To define mood/ambiance:
What is the mood we want to create in the space? Calm, active, colorful…
3.) To accentuate:
Highlight or diffuse textures, interesting objects, art, plants…
4.) To reveal architecture:
Define spatial character such as height, set architectural boundaries,
accent architectural details
5.) To assists tasks:
Add light for reading, cooking, navigating, functionality
Take this kitchen, which is a great example of the 5 layers of light.
1. Notice how the under-cabinet base lighting directs movement and flow through the space.
2. I would call the mood of this space active. It’s warm, but bright and colorful, the illuminated island encourages socialization. I’d have a glass of wine and appetizer there hanging with friends.
3. I love how the lighting at the floating shelves accentuates the backsplash and colorful accessories.
4. The lighting at the upper cabinets creates height, volume and interest.
Imagine if you ‘flipped the switch, off’ on the first four layers of light in this kitchen – it would be underwhelming and that would break my heart!
A proper lighting plan adds value to the overall project investment.
So, you say, “I hired my architect or general contractor for lighting”? Normally an architect or GC draws a lighting plan to make plan submissions. In most cases, these are quick designs that are generic in content and lack any thought out plan.
Is your architect or GC thinking about:
- Space plans and furniture layout?
- Interior finishes and paint colors?
- Ceiling heights, slope changes, soffits?
- Architectural details?
- Art and accessories and placement?
- The diverse activities to take place in the space?
- Specific room light ‘scenes’?
- The age of the people who live there?
- Window coverings and locations?
- Site orientation?
- Where to put the light and for what purpose?
- The placement, quantity and ‘color’ of light needed?
- What elements in the space need to be dramatized or downplayed?
- How the light story will play throughout the space to create a cohesive design?
- How the light source is controlled?
A good design firm will think of all of this and plenty more.
Did I mention… that lighting is REALLY important?
When we implement a lighting design that addresses each layer of light, we will have a rich, dynamic emotional experience.
Shine on my friends, shine on!