Light The Way
With a flip of a switch, a room transforms. For most spaces, there isn’t a better way to illuminate a room’s décor than an opulent, statement light fixture. It can add a touch of luminous luxury to a dreary space while serving as a functional source of light.
“Good lighting allows the function and creativity of design to work at its best,” says Jeanne Strange, interior designer and member of the American Society of Interior Designers. “By applying lighting in layers — ceiling, walls and lamps — we can create an environment that is aesthetically pleasing while also meeting the need for function when completing tasks at the same time.”
Before making any major lighting purchases, Strange encourages homeowners to develop or update a functional lighting plan for the entire home. The improper use of overhead lighting can take away from any statement pieces in the décor.
“Be sure to take into consideration the lighting source needed for outside walkways, dim hallways and stairways within the home,” Strange says. “You will enjoy and benefit from your return on investment when implementing a good lighting plan. And don’t be afraid to make expensive purchases on an item you particularly like.”
Strange sheds light on three particular types of statement fixtures: chandeliers, pendant lights and floor lamps.
Considered the jewelry of lighting, contemporary chandeliers come in a variety of motifs that can complement any homeowner’s lifestyle. Crystal prisms reflect light, adding sparkle to even nontraditional spaces such as bathrooms, large walk-in closets and even outdoor kitchens. Chandeliers make lighting statements in more ways these days as they become more accessible due to lower prices and more options, Strange says.
“Whatever its use, always consider proportion and scale when choosing a lighting fixture such as a chandelier,” Strange says. “If the fixture is too large, it will dominate the room, creating a feeling of being closed in. If the fixture is too small, the room might feel out of sync with the rest of the space, and the fixture loses its impact.”
For a spotlight of drama in any room, consider pendant lights. These dangling, small spotlights can be an engaging option when a room needs just a touch of ambient light. Pendant lights, used alone or grouped together, are especially good at spicing up a countertop or bathroom vanity, Strange says.
“You can create your own look by adding individual pendants, customizing the impact of the space,” Strange says. “A cluster of pendants can give light to a dark corner without appearing overbearing. Small pendants are ideal for making a bold statement, without letting the fixture obstruct the visual surroundings or block conversation flow.”
Pendant lights are versatile because their height can be adjusted at any time; however, spaces with low ceilings shouldn’t feature pendant lights or chandeliers. These statement light fixtures can overwhelm a space if not given the proper height to shine, Strange says.
If efficient overhead lighting is a challenge, floor lamps can be an elegant solution. Floor lamps are designed with tasks in mind — reading, writing or any other task that requires direct light onto another surface. A statement floor lamp provides the flexibility to instantly transform any space in your home, Strange says.
“The light source of a floor lamp usually can be maneuvered to change direction; get closer or move out,” Strange says. “A variety of styles can be chosen to give you the kind of look to meet your interior demands.”
The Proper Light Bulbs
Step into any home improvement store, and customers discover a variety of light bulb options for any fixture in their homes. Interior designer Jeanne Strange suggests the use of energy-efficient light bulbs whenever possible.
“Energy-efficient bulbs might seem more expensive when you first make the change; however, their long life and energy-saving power pays off in the long run,” Strange says. “LED lighting has many advantages. It can last 10 times longer than a typical incandescent. Since these light bulbs are becoming popular, the prices are becoming more reasonable.”
Check your light fixtures to see if they will support energy-efficient bulbs; some older fixtures might not. It’s also important to note and only use the manufacture’s recommended wattage for each fixture, Strange says.
“New to the industry is the use of fiber-optic lighting,” Strange says. “One use recently seen is the ability to change the color of a counter top by means of light through fiber optics. With the use of this new technology, creativity will be endless as our imagination visualizes our world with the wonderful property of light. Check it out.”