There’s a reason why interior designers prioritize lighting when they outfit a room. Effective lighting is both the icing on the cake and the all-important starting point. If executed correctly, the simple flick of a switch can transform a room from a cheerful, bright and productive office to a sexy space perfect for a romantic evening by the fire. From pendants and chandeliers to spotlights and sconces, there are many options to consider when it comes to creating a dramatic setting in each one of your rooms.
In the living room, a combination of table and floor lamps can create a soothing effect. In the dining room, illuminate the focal point of the room — the dining table — with a show stopping pendant or chandelier. In the bedroom, achieve maximum coziness with sconces on either side of the bed, fitted with tinted, low-wattage bulbs.
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An overhead light on a dimmer is also a great choice, especially in a north-facing room without much natural light. In the kitchen, go with bright overhead lights, task lighting over workspaces and directed pendants over a kitchen island or breakfast nook. And remember that, although lights here do have a specific functions to perform, they don’t ever have to be boring.
For example, a lamp or chandelier can do double duty as a sculptural moment or art piece — and it can add a pop of color or a touch of whimsy. Steven Wine, founder of ABYU Lighting, says, “At ABYU we are mainly known for our feather fixtures, and that is the material I prefer to work with. It gives our pieces a fashion feel. I’ve also been doing collaborations with New York artists such as Scooter LaForge, who add their own unique personality to our pieces.”
Whether you’re going for a glamorous look with feathers and fashion details, or a more industrial style complete with Edison bulbs and heavy metal, it’s important to know what fixture is appropriate for the space you are designing. Hanging pendants or chandeliers make the most sense over tables and kitchen islands. They should be hung just slightly above the height of the tallest person in the family.
Sconces should be symmetrically placed, flanking a focal point such as a large mirror, mantle or bed. To highlight artworks or architectural details, recessed spotlights work best. They create pools of light around the perimeter of the room. And in multi-functional rooms, table and floor lamps are the most practical.
Remember, table and floor lamps can be easily moved around — and create a layered look by providing light at different heights and in different locations. The contrast of light in the center of a room, with darker mood lighting in the corners, adds drama and texture.
Another way to add drama to your lighting scheme is to add oversized or dramatic color in the shade or base. A group of hanging lights with oversized barrel shades instantly creates a design focal point. A shapely base or a brightly colored base, when paired with a clean-lined modern shade, becomes a sculptural design element. Fashion details, like ABYU Lighting’s feathers, add a soft, elegant and sexy feel.
Layering different types of lighting gives your space flexibility and adds a touch of whimsy or drama that can be switched on—or off.
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Last modified: October 31, 2019