Lighting can make or break an entire room. It's really that important.
Lighting fixtures come in all shapes, sizes, and finishes and we want to choose fixtures that coordinate with the style of our space - but ultimately, how they provide the light in a space is the most important aspect.
If you want to create a moody, comfortable space in your home that provides enough light for living and not too much light for relaxing, where do you begin?
You begin with what I call, the Layers of Lighting.
It's really simple: you want to have light at different levels -or layers- in your room.
We'll start with the overhead, or general, lighting. This might be a set of recessed lighting in the ceiling, track lighting, overhead fixtures like chandeliers or ceiling fans, or tall floor lamps.
These lighting fixtures provide the broad, general, bright light that you may need for tasks like cooking, cleaning, searching for a lost toy, or for use during a party. Choosing the correct general lighting for your space depends on what you use the space for. In a kitchen, you'll typically use recessed lighting, track lighting, and pendant lighting. In a living room, you might choose a tall floor lamp and a ceiling fan with a built-in light. In a bedroom or dining room, you might only opt for recessed lighting or a fabulous chandelier. Whatever you choose, remember that overhead, general lighting isn't really used to set a "mood" but rather to provide a utilitarian function to the space.
The next level is table lighting. And it's located exactly where you think it is: on tables, around waist level (approximately). This light casts a more concentrated glow immediately around the area in which it's located (reading lamps are a great example). Table lighting is great for creating a dimmer, softer atmosphere in a room. These would likely be the lamps you have on while reading, watching TV, or spending time with that special someone. With table lighting, bedrooms have lamps on nightstands or bedside tables, dining rooms might have lamps on the buffet or sideboard, and you might even have a lamp on the countertop or windowsill in the kitchen. Bathrooms? Not so much.
Table lamps come in as many varieties as there are people on the planet, so go crazy and choose something you really love. Bonus points if it has a 3-way switch or dimmer to adjust the brightness.
The last layer of lighting is accent lighting, and it's actually the most important layer, in my opinion. This layer of light is what gives your room that "something special." Accent lighting comes in the form of up-lights focused on a favorite houseplant, a string of twinkle lights woven through a garland on your mantle, strip lighting on top of your kitchen cabinets, or a set of flameless LED candles on your coffee table.
Accent lighting isn't purposed to provide task lighting or general lighting. Rather, it's more decorative in nature and designed to create the mood in a room. Guess what else provides accent lighting? A fireplace! There's a reason we feel so cozy in front of a fire. Yes, it's the warmth, but also that inviting, golden glow.
So there you have it: The Layers of Lighting. Now you know what creates that glow!