The way you enjoy a room rests largely on how much light (and what kind of light) enters it. Over the years, designers and psychologists alike have preached the physical benefits of well-lit interiors, but how many homeowners stop to think about what moods they’d like each of their rooms to invoke?
Light and color play hand in hand when designing your interiors, and how well these work together can transform your home. Check out these tips for how to choose the right lighting, and see how you can dramatically improve your interiors — and possibly perk up any mid-winter doldrums before they set in!
How Lighting Enhances the Ambiance of a Room
Have you ever walked into a dark interior hallway of a home and felt cold and uncomfortable? Then, when the hallway opens up to a large, bright room with floor-to-ceiling windows, you feel relief, as if you can breathe again?
This is how light and dark spaces can create a positive or negative feeling in your body. They literally change your mood.
Sometimes “dark” works for a space: I often have male clients who want to transform their basements or unused garages into man caves. One of the easiest ways to create the “den” experience is to use dark colors and rich textiles in the furniture and finishes. While dark colors can make a person feel closed in, they also make groups feel closer to one another, inspiring camaraderie and bonding. It all depends on the how you pair colors and lighting sources. In a man cave, lights with dimmer switches can create the mood and windows that have dark window coverings will help create the man cave experience.
Determine Your Goals for Each Room to Select the Right Lights
One of the easiest ways to bring life to any room is to bring in more light, whether it is natural light through windows, borrowed light from adjacent rooms or artificial light with lighting fixtures.
When I meet with my design clients, we first talk about how they want to update their current space. For homeowners who have a busy-around-the-house lifestyle and want to update the family and living rooms, we try to ensure that wide open windows with views to the outside are outfitted with window treatments such as blinds and sheers to allow diffused light into the room. On the other hand, jet-setting clients who are always on the go often prefer a bedroom that is a relaxing sanctuary when they finally return home. Thick drapery with blackout material helps to keep the bedroom cozy and dark.
Determine if the mood in your room should be productive and playful, and provide plenty of natural and artificial light options such as tabletop lamps and recessed lighting. On the contrary, spaces such as media rooms shouldn’t contain windows or should have the ability to close them off from natural daylight as to not interfere with screens and entertainment viewing.
Updating the Lighting in an Older Home
Believe it or not, simply adding light to the inside of an older home can make it look more modern and inviting. I recently worked with a couple who wanted to modernize their 1970s home. I saw on my initial walkthrough that the brown wood paneling that covered every wall was the main culprit. We all decided that painting the paneling a light mushroom gray color would bring in more light, while still keep a texture on the walls. They were surprised to feel the home instantly “open up” after the painters were done. Natural light bounced off the walls in each room through the windows, and their furniture and flooring looked surprisingly different, in a good way!
The design of your interiors can get a boost from bringing in more light or by choosing colors that help reflect the existing light in any room. First, determine what mood you’d like to create throughout your home. Look to the colors of your finishes as well as your window treatments to see if you’re maximizing all of the natural light sources you currently have. You may be cheating yourself out of a feel-good home without realizing it!
About Ronique Gibson and Home Depot
Ronique Gibson is a home-design lifestyle expert, and an architect, who writes about lighting and color décor for Home Depot. Ronique’s lighting tips for older homes incorporate her architect’s eye together with her design expertise. To view Home Depot’s selection of sconce and vanity lighting online, you can click on the company’s website.
Note: This is a guest post; the views and opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of Redfin.
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