Think of how you feel when you walk into a luxurious hotel room, or a lovely restaurant. That feeling of being cocooned, that feeling of relaxation, of luxury, of being comfortable - it’s not incidental. It has been deliberately designed - with light.
No interior is ever complete without a carefully and comprehensively designed lighting scheme. Comprehensive doesn't necessarily mean complex or expensive - it simply means that the design scheme has considered all aspects of lighting and light-use interaction in the space, and provided solutions for it.
Yet, it astounds me how often this is entirely overlooked. Many people (and even professionals in the business) believe that good lighting means rows and rows of recessed downlight in every room. While downlighting has its (limited) uses, nothing could be worse from a design point of view than filling up rooms with it. In fact, often, lighting can make a bigger difference to what a room looks and feels like, more than all the other design touches combined. Get the lighting wrong, and even the most luxurious of rooms won't look and feel the way they are intended to.
Layering - The Holy Grail Of Lighting
Regardless of whether the space is residential, commercial, a shop, a restaurant, or a hotel - every space needs layered light. This means getting the layers of lighting right - general or ambient lighting, task or functional lighting, accent lighting, and decorative lighting.
General lighting is the layer of lighting that gives you the ambient light in a room. Natural light is the starting point for this, for the day time - and absolutely must be considered at the very outset of a project. In the night time, this translates to ceiling/wall level ambient lighting or table and floor lamps that create the "ambience" in the room.
Image Credit: Channel Nine
Task or Functional Lighting is focused lighting that is needed to perform certain tasks - think lighting over your kitchen island, bedside reading lights, or even the lighting required at workstations in an office or workshop.
Accent Lighting is the lighting that illuminates various features in the space - these could be architectural features like pilasters and cornicing, or art work, sculpture and murals, or even accessories and feature joinery.
Image Credit: John Cullen Lighting
Decorative Lighting is typically a source of lighting that is a feature in itself, while still providing one of the other three functions. Think of a statement chandelier, or a gorgeous oversized floor lamp that the eye is drawn to.
All four layers must be considered carefully in a space, and then designed with expertise and finesse to create the right feeling and mood, and also make one psychologically and physically comfortable in a space.
Light Temperature and Light Intensity
Another frequently overlooked aspect of lighting in a room in is the quality of light - how intense or strong it is, and how warm or cold it is. Think of the feeling that winter light (more blue) creates versus the bright warmth of a summer day. The same applies to indoor lighting. Not all bulbs are created the same, not all light serves the same purpose. The quality of light required in a home office is entirely different to that required in the bedroom, which in turn, is entirely different to what one would need in the living room.
A good designer will know how to vary the light temperature and intensity (the dimmer switch is your best friend!) across the lighting layers and fixtures in your space in order to create the right balance for the different uses of the space.
Lighting Leads The Way
Think of what a paint card or a fabric looks like in the shop and what it looks like when you carry it out into daylight. The quality of light literally determines what everything looks like - and that applies to all the elements of your interiors. Think also of how you're drawn to nicely lit spaces when you are standing in a dark space. Alternatively, a too bright space can make us ill at ease, irritable and anxious - think about how you feel when you walk into a dimly lit lounge after a long day at a brightly lit office.
Lighting literally leads the way we feel - and how everything around us looks. How could it not be part of every design scheme, then?
At ShilpAtelier Interiors, all our work starts with an assessment of light in the project space. We create comprehensive technical lighting plans for all the spaces we work on - from single, low-budget rooms, to high-end luxury properties. For us, lighting is an inseparable part of interior design and even our conceptual design packages contain a brief assessment and recommendations for lighting in your space. We are also happy to create stand-alone lighting plans for your space. If you'd like us to make your space special, book your free consultation with us now, or take a look at our detailed service offer.