The Importance of Lighting in Interior Design

Don’t overlook the importance of lighting as a functional, mood-enhancing, and beautiful part of interior decorating. In fact, color and lighting are the two top items in a decorator’s bag of tricks.

In addition to natural light, there are four types of artificial light.

First, ambient light, which includes overhead, floor lamps, and track fixtures, provides general illumination in a room. 

Second, task lighting shines a bright light where a visual activity takes place. In other words, add task lights for reading, sewing, doing homework or paying the bills, cooking, etc.

Next, accent lights are used to focus attention on an architectural feature of the room or a piece of artwork. They can also help set a mood.

Finally, although all the above can be decorative lighting, true decorative lighting is typically a centerpiece in a space like a dining room chandelier, for example.

Now, how do you use lighting? 

Most importantly, put it where you need it. Next, layer lighting by incorporating the basic types mentioned above. My final tip is to consult the experts.  Each time I am at the hardware store, I see new light bulbs on the market. Read the labels or ask for advice on color, lifespan, price, lumens (i.e., the brightness), energy efficiency, and the differences between incandescent, fluorescent, halogen, CFLs, LEDs, and all the new sizes and shapes now available. Also consider adding brighter bulbs to your fixtures; you’ll be surprised what a difference they make in your interior.

In closing, lamps and chandeliers can be like the jewelry in your room. My advice is to spend a little extra on something that is really attractive or makes a statement. Remember, you will be using them for a long time so you might as well choose the most beautiful.

With many satisfied clients since 2008, Barbara Graceffa owns and operates Secretary of the Interior in Quincy, MA offering creative decorating services at reasonable rates. If you have a blog topic to suggest or need professional help with decorating, downsizing, decluttering, or home staging and relocation services, please contact her via her website or phone 617.921.6033.

By Barbara Graceffa

Barbara Graceffa, CEO of Secretary of the Interior, serves decorating clients; assists with professional organizing, home staging and moving assistance; teaches on these subjects; and delivers quilt lectures and trunk shows.

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