You Light Up My Life

Tips and Advice

Ok, that’s a joke and you have to have been around in the ’70’s to appreciate it.  However, light is the subject for today’s musing.  Considering that we’ve just finished with Hanukkah, a celebration of light, and are entering into the Christmas holiday, I thought it a good subject to consider.

As you light your homes during this darkest time of year for holidays or parties, do you think about how to utilize lighting to create moods?

There are three types of lighting that should be used together to create a well-lit, comfortable room.  The first is ambient lighting, which is the overall lighting in a room- think overhead or natural lighting.  It’s the background layer of lighting.  Some people stop here and wonder why their rooms aren’t cozy and inviting. 

The next layer is direct or task lighting.  That’s the layer that creates lighting that’s closer to eye level.  Maybe it’s a table lamp next to a chair for good reading, or it’s under-cabinet lighting in the kitchen.  It’s that layer that creates warm pools of light in certain spaces that we use for activities that require concentrated light on an area. 

kitchen showing lighting
Task and ambient lighting

The next level of lighting is accent lighting, which can highlight a number of different things.  Maybe it’s a fabulous piece of artwork or sculpture, a wall washed in light to highlight its texture or color, or maybe its an uplight on a tree or large plant.  This is lighting that creates mood and interest. 

Accent lighting

Have you ever been to a party (or restaurant for dinner) where the lighting was too bright?  It sort of dampens the mood.  The same thing in your home.  Utilize dimmer switches on your overhead or ambient lighting to create a softer “scene”.  Switch on one or two task lights to create warm, inviting areas, and then add the accent lighting. 

Stand back and look at how the light and shadows interplay to create coziness and a welcome feeling.  Try it. Then if you want, you can sing to me.

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