I once watched a very old movie, Sunset Boulevard, in which the aging film actress Norma Desmond (played by Gloria Swanson) dons all of her makeup and parades down a staircase exclaiming, “Alright Mr. DeMille, ’m ready for my close-up.” It struck me as very “film noire” and oddly enough, brought to mind the importance of good lighting – whether for an actress on the stage or for your home. Because, let’s face it, your home really is the backdrop for the play (or the story) of your life. Shouldn’t it too be ready for its close up?
Lighting sets the tone and the mood for any room. It enhances our mood when brighter, and fosters a more specific mood when subdued and gentle. Lighting affects our productivity, lighting can be directed to spotlight certain features of your home such as artwork or a book niche and lighting even impacts how we watch and feel about TV because really, what’s more scary than watching a horror movie with all the lights off? It’s just not the same when all the lights are blazing. We use lights to express ourselves at Christmas or Diwali and we boast about homes that are “flooded” with natural light. Lighting really is everything!
With that much pressure to perform no wonder choosing your light fixtures is such hard work. Here are some tips and tools to consider when selecting light that suits both your home and lifestyle:
You probably want great, bright and functional lighting in this central room of your home. It’s where homework gets done, meals are prepped and most often, it’s where you eat them too. For these reasons, kitchen lighting needs to be flexible. You might want to consider a “fashion forward” piece to hang over your kitchen table but more practical lighting over the workspace. Lights that can be positioned along a rail are ideal, allowing you to move them as the situation demands it. Chopping vegetables in the dark is never a good idea but a directional spotlight can solve that for you! Under-mounted counter top lighting provides increased light for food prep and is also a nice feature at night when you don’t want to keep all the lights on in the kitchen but still need a warm glow in order to make your way to the refrigerator! If your kitchen is blessed with natural light you want to make the most of that by not installing heavy draperies or blinds that would then block that light. Pot lights are always a great feature, particularly so if you have a dimmer switch and the ability to varyingly turn on either some or all of them depending on your mood and needs.
Much as we hate to admit it, good lighting in the bathroom is a must. We need to be able to see what we are doing on those cold wintry mornings. Putting in contacts by candlelight just doesn’t cut it and if there is any shaving to be done your man needs to be able to see what he’s doing! If you’re a bathtub kind of gal, having a small lamp with dimmer capability placed just so on your counter means you can still enjoy a nice relaxing bath without the light from overhead glaring down while still being able to read a book.
Living rooms and family rooms present a bit more of a challenge when it comes to lighting. Typically, table-top lighting options are what most people look for. You want to choose lamps that match the style and function of the room but you might need to play around with the wattage required to make that lighting work within the space. Darker shades likely require a higher wattage bulb while translucent shades might require opaque lighting and lower wattage bulbs. Finding that balance might require several trips to your local hardware store but it’s worth it to find the right balance between creating warmth, having enough light to read a book by and one that makes your guests feel welcome (vs. lights that look already dimmed and that not that you’re ready for bed!)
Bedrooms are often as unique as their inhabitants. We once installed a lovely little mini chandelier style light in a girls’ room only to find the coloured beading on it created a myriad of patterns on the wall that were a huge visual distraction preventing restful sleep. Needless to say the chandelier went and a bedside table lamp with dimmer switch was installed instead. Many families need or prefer the dual purpose of a ceiling fan / light in the bedroom keeping them both cool and well lit. Here again you might want to strike a balance between low wattage, soft white lighting suitable for early mornings and late nights and brighter lights that can help you navigate suitable clothing choices for that next big meeting on your schedule. Bedrooms are also definitely an area where you might actually need to block out natural light with blinds and draperies, particularly if you have a baby or shift worker in the house.
Finding lighting that is as unique as you are, that plays a central, yet subtle, role your home is as important as the lighting on any Hollywood film set. Lighting sets the tone and provides the backdrop, just like in the movies. Is your home ready for its close up?
If you need advice, encouragement or direction, consider contacting the team at Home Dream Designs for a consultation. It would be our pleasure!
We take your home from “lived in to loving it!”