How to Choose the Right Lighting, According to Designers

November 23, 2021 by No Comments

Lighting is a complex process that requires the consideration of many key factors. Marilyn Sygrove, a designer, explained that when selecting lighting for a space, we consider the following factors: purpose, light level, quality of light and whether it is decorative. These criteria are applied to all projects we work on because our goal is to bring visual comfort to the spaces.

Sygrove and other designers provide step-by-step guidance for homeowners looking to furnish their homes with stunning fixtures. Keep these eight tips in mind as you plan your home.

Take measurements of your space.

Designer Billy Ceglia shared one key tip before you make any lighting purchases. He said, “To ensure that a ceiling fixture fits your space, particularly a chandelier,” Add them all together, convert to inches, then you will have a starting point for the perfect size light fixture.

A 36-inch wide fixture would work well in a 20 by 15-foot space. The decision-making process does not end when the tape measurer is gone. Ceglia said, “One must also consider the visual weight” of the fixture. “If the fixture is light and airy, you might want to size up. If it’s heavy and bulky, you may want to size down.

Take into consideration both architectural and decorative fixtures.

Barry Goralnick, a designer for Curray and Company and Visual Comfort lighting, stated that there should be an ideal balance between architectural and decorative lighting. Different lighting types serve different purposes. Goralnick stated that “integral lighting on the ceiling gives an all-around glow and is best for lighting art and sculptures as well as mundane tasks such cleaning.” He said that table and floor lamps could illuminate reading, games, or intimate gatherings. Looking to incorporate some extra pizzazz? He noted that screens and planters could make a statement with the addition of lighting on the floors. “All of these create the perfect gestalt between form and function.”

Esther Dormer, the designer, agreed. She noted that lighting serves a functional purpose and creates mood, feelings, and emotions. She also said that lighting has an aesthetic purpose. She said that lighting could make a room look amazing and be the focal point of the design. Lighting alone can create a wonderful atmosphere.

You can incorporate a variety of levels of lighting.

“It’s important to consider different levels of lighting when designing a space,” Liles Dunnigan (co-founder and designer at The Warehouse Interiors) said. You can incorporate overhead fixtures, dimmers, and lamps into one space. Dunnigan stated that these lighting levels are crucial because they eliminate dark areas and create a warm, cozy feel rather than being harsh.

Take note of the multiple roles a room serves

Dormer pointed out that dimmers are a great feature because many spaces in our homes can serve multiple purposes. She explained that lighting needs to be flexible for different occasions, such as romantic dinners or dining with children. Many people don’t have formal dining areas and prefer the flexibility of a kitchen countertop. Recessed lighting can be used with various switches or a dimming dimmer.

Find out if lighting will “Start” in a particular space.

Kelly Collier-Clark, a designer, stated that lighting is not always the star of a room. She said that lighting should be the main source of light and must be dramatic. This could be a foyer, a walk-in closet, or a large wardrobe space. Sygrove also suggests stairwells as a place to use “wow” factor lighting, which Sygrove describes as large-scale and bold enough to fill the space in with light and sparkle.

Play to a Room’s Atmosphere

Ceglia explained that you could choose lighting that complements the room’s overall design or go off-the-beaten-path and buy more striking fixtures. He explained that the overall design scheme would determine the style and conformity of the fixture to the space’s architecture. A combination of a crystal and a Louis XVI Bronze chandelier can create a striking visual. However, the two pieces must work together in a contemporary space.

Think Big!

Designers agree that a large light fixture is a good choice when in doubt. Designer Bruce Fox stated that small fixtures could feel like an afterthought, especially in large rooms or high ceilings. Hallie Henley Sims, the designer, agreed. When it comes to decorative lighting fixtures, don’t be afraid of going big or going home when it comes to scaling.

Balance is still important. Fox stated that the space above might have a large central chandelier, which could feel overwhelming with the high ceilings. Four lanterns were placed in the corners to provide light and help with overall lighting. One lantern falls over a table, providing light for the great fun that takes part there.

Remember that sometimes, less is more.

Ceglia adheres to a particular rule when it comes to decorative lighting: “When it is not clear, leave it out.” Ceglia said, “Sometimes it’s just right to have a fixture over a table or in an unexpected location.”


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