I am little delayed in blogging, what with summer diversions and all. But I am back, talking appropriately enough about LIGHT. It is one of Beasley & Henley’s Five Foundations of Design and in a nutshell, this is how designers make it work…
Generally we look at 3 kinds of lighting: 1. Natural light a/k/a, good, old-fashioned sunshine. 2. Ambient light, which is general room lighting. 3. Specialty lighting, which illuminates specific objects or areas.
In any one room, there should be at least one of each of these light sources. A few of each would be even better.
First, start with the natural sunshine: make sure your windows are unobstructed by heavy draperies, big pieces of furniture or other large items that would intrude into your sunlit world.
Second, look at the ambient lighting. Use a good general overhead fixture that provides ample room light. If an overhead isn’t possible, use enough lamps with floodlighting to generally illuminate the room. Hallways should be well lit with a sequence of lighting overhead or with scones.
Third, is specialty lighting. Some of the most creative designs involve this kind of lighting, which is used to illuminate specific items or special areas. For example, a lamp on a desk provides task lighting specifically for that area. A pin light from the ceiling can spot a piece of artwork. Wall washers can highlight a gallery. Under-cabinet halogen lights in the kitchen or on a large bookshelf will counteract cabinet shadows and also provide task lighting at the same time. Cove lighting in a ceiling design will provide soft mood lighting.
For maximum mood and effect make sure all your lights are on dimmers and remember to use low voltage dimmers for low voltage lights or you will get a burn out you weren’t expecting.
A few more notes about things people always ask us…
– Chandeliers: they hang between 36”to 48”off the table in the dining or breakfast rooms
– Recessed Cans: If you are using recessed cans, use halogen not incandescent bulbs- you get more light and they last longer.
– Also with 4”-5” cans available, there is not reason to poke 6” holes in your ceiling anymore.
– Green: We think ‘green lighting’ is a great idea, but it is still a work in progress. The bulbs cast a horrible light, so we are waiting for the next generation.
– Florescent bulbs? Let’s not even go there – they are loaded with mercury, have special disposal issues and they look bad. Sorry ‘green’ people!