We have all experienced the awe of watching someone transform a fixer-upper dwelling into a presentable, envy-inspiring space. On the flip side, we probably all know friends or acquaintances that started out with a stunning abode and let it fall flat by neglecting to go the extra mile with design touches. The feeling that a space imparts on those who enter it is part nature, to be sure, but it’s up to the inhabitants to nurture it into all that it can be.
What makes up the soul of a living space? Is it the textures and colors? The furnishings? The inherent structure, perhaps? It’s more than likely a mix of all of these, plus the presentation. If you’re starting with a fixed set of furniture and a finite amount of room, there’s still hope for doing your space justice! Using these three lighting techniques, you can expertly frame your residence and help it speak for itself.
Mix It Up
It’s human nature to figure out a solution to a need and run with it, but the key to properly framing your living space with lighting is actually stepping back and figuring out an eclectic mix of what works for each particular area. If you’ve ever played The Sims, you’ll remember from decorating that you can’t just buy 20 floor lamps and throw them haphazardly around the house. Even if it gives you the minimum light you need to go about your business, it’s bulky and doesn’t flatter the surrounding objects. It’s no wonder even a lifelike computer game offers so many categories of lighting to choose from, all with different sizes and price points.
Are you working with a space that can politely be called “cozy,” but really might be more toward the “cramped” end of the spectrum? As the Houzz contributor for Forbes points out, it’s entirely possible to make a room look larger with lighting. This calls for using one unique overhead light fixture per area, like a flush mount in the living room contrasted with a low-hanging pendant nearby in the dining room. Mixing up the lighting types in your home allows you to create a distinction between areas, which can make it seem larger and more put together.
Nobody wants to shuffle around a dim living space, risking stubbed toes and a grumpy demeanor, because lackluster lighting has fostered an overall dull environment. When you spend so much time in your living space, you deserve a bright and jaw-dropping setting that lets your personality—and that of your home or apartment—shine through. According to the experts at Decoist, a potent combination of recessed lighting with a dramatic fixture like a chandelier can provide unprecedented pop to any room. The principle to take away is that layering different types of lighting can create lovely dimension and add visual value to any space. Why not try backing up a statement piece of lighting with some trusty recessed lighting when you’re planning to light an open space?
Have you ever wondered why art museums feel so regal and polished as you stroll through the corridors looking at the work of the greats? Besides the one-of-a-kind artwork on display, museums are masters of utilizing lighting to create a specific mood and to cast the ideal amount of light on each of their subjects. While you may not be able to casually pick up a Picasso at auction anytime soon, not to mention install two-dozen professional-grade track lights at the drop of a hat, you can still use focused lighting to prioritize your wall hangings and bring the true personality of any given room alive.
Picture lights help illuminate wall decorations that you want prominently featured in your home, whether it’s an adorable portrait of your dog frolicking in the autumn foliage or a print that ties your entire décor scheme together. These display lighting fixtures tend to feature a sleek and unobtrusive design, so all eyes will gravitate toward the photo or artwork that you so carefully curated to display what matters to you. Use them to spice up long hallways, or provide a wonderful talking point next time you host a get-together in your living room.
It’s up to you not only to furnish your living space, but to tell its story and establish its personality through tasteful lighting. Advantageous lighting is the difference between guests leaving your house without forming an impression and guests leaving your house inspired to step their game up to match your level of design ingenuity.