The singular design element that changes lives is Lighting. We need our spaces lit, but well lit adds another dimension. Lighting brings out the magic in interior and exterior spaces. At the same time it can be a crucial element in helping people feel comfortable in a room. In all spaces light should be layered to maximize comfort and highlight the features of the space.
Ambient light is the first lighting that needs to be designed in a space. Ambient light is that light that is around us, the sun accounts for ambient light. How do we bring the outside light into our spaces has evolved. Old school was to plant 6” cans around the permitter of the room. We now realized that those 6” cans were not up to the task. They produce glare and shadows and make people uncomfortable. Today ambient lighting utilizes 4” cans with directional trim kits that not only give ambient light, but wash down a wall, reflecting more light into the room with no shadows. Also ambient light can be provided with sconces or indirect cove lighting.
The second layer is accent lighting. The same 4” cans can highlight objects in the space, as they have adjustable trims and are able to be directed anywhere. They add dramatic dimension to the space. Without this type of lighting the room appears flat, just like a cloudy day. When I design new construction or a remodel lighting design comes directly after space planning the furniture or cabinetry.
Task lighting is critical. It focuses light on the specific spot where it is needed. Think of your workspace or chopping area in the kitchen as seen in the photograph. Notice also that I utilized puck lighting in the cabinets with glass shelves to highlight the objects in the cabinets. If the lighting design is done properly, then chandeliers and pendants can be brought into the room, decorating the space, adding additional light. Note that after the installation of a carefully designed lighting system, the kitchen immediately opened up.