Lighting is an essential and often overlooked part of interior design. When decorating a room, most people focus on large furniture pieces like sofas and side tables. Or they spend their time picking out the perfect pieces of decor, art, and decorative objects.
Designing this way creates a major problem. They don’t think of lighting when designing their space. Lighting is much more important than people think; what good is a beautifully designed space if you can’t properly see it?
That’s why if you want your room to look professional, you have to get the lighting right. Contemporary lighting elevates the space and makes the design feel well-thought-out and planned.
Here is how you can give your home a modern look without breaking the bank using the right contemporary lighting.
Why You Should Focus on Lighting
Ask any interior designer, and they’ll tell you that the right lighting can do so much for a room. Lighting can be the difference between making a room feel like a dark and dingy cave and a warm, welcoming environment.
Lighting helps bring all the design features together and can transform the room with the flick of a switch. That’s why it’s crucial to consider lighting when you put together a room design.
The right lighting can help make your room feel larger. Bright lights flooding a room feels bright and airy, creating the illusion of space. Any lighting that mimics natural sunlight can make a space feel more open.
You can also use lighting to highlight different elements of the room. If you have a sitting area in the living room, having a light there can make that area feel cosier. You can also use lighting to feature designs like unique architecture and wall art.
Above all, lighting makes a space feel warm and welcoming. It creates an atmosphere that makes you want to sit down and enjoy the space you’re in. And having multiple lighting options can help convey the ambience.
If you’re having a romantic evening, having warm, low light is best. While spending time with the family may require a few brighter lights. Having options allows your lighting to be flexible for any event you find yourself hosting.
Of course, lighting also adds functionality. No homeowner wants to walk around their house blindly. Marry style and function by choosing the right contemporary light fixtures for your home.
Start Layering Your Lighting
The best way to get the right lighting in your home is to think of it in layers. Most spaces won’t be fully lit with just one light. To get a space that has both beauty and function, layered lighting is the ideal method.
The best way to start layering is by breaking down your lighting needs. Room lighting can fall into three categories: ambient lighting, task lighting, and accent lighting. Using a mix of all three will allow you to get the ideally lit space you’re after.
This is the first layer you would think of when it comes to lighting your room. Ambient lighting provides illumination, allowing you to see where your furniture is, shoes left on the ground, and all the features in the room.
Most rooms get their ambient light from overhead lighting. This included recessed lighting, chandeliers, flush mount fixtures, or contemporary ceiling fans with lights.
Ambient lighting is great for seeing the entire space, but it doesn’t do much for creating a cosy environment or for focusing on a specific activity. This is where you should start building your lighting design, working out from here.
Task lighting is just as it sounds: lighting used to help perform a certain job or activity. This is the second layer of lighting, more specialized and specific than overhead ambient lighting. You should utilize task lighting in all parts of your home.
Most commonly, task lighting comes in the form of undercabinet lighting in the kitchen or a desk lamp in the office. But this lighting can also be found in the bathroom with vanity lighting or in the bedroom as a lamp on your bedside table.
When there’s a place to focus on a specific activity, that’s where task lighting comes in handy. This lighting shouldn’t illuminate the room but should still be bright enough to focus on what you have on hand.
Arguably the most fun of the lighting options, accent lighting is often much more decorative than its counterparts. You can use this lighting to highlight architectural features or add a stylish statement to the room.
Accent light can be anything from large, sparkling chandeliers in grand foyers to uplighting on a bookshelf. These fixtures may not contribute a lot of light to the room, but rather they add an extra design centrepiece.
This lighting also comes in a variety of styles you can utilize throughout your homes. From pendants to floor lamps to wall sconces, this is an area where you can choose style over function. As long as you’re laying, accent lighting can be largely decorative.
Consider the Size Of The Room
One aspect that’s crucial when it comes to lighting a room is the size. You should take into consideration how large or small the room is as well as the shape. This will allow you to think about what kind of lighting you’ll need for a properly illuminated room.
A rule of thumb is to calculate the amount of wattage needed to adequately light your room. Take the room length multiplied by the room width multiplied by 1.5. This equation gives you the total amount of wattage to aim for a properly lit room.
Of course, this total wattage doesn’t need to come from a singular light source. Instead, you can—and should—divide that wattage into multiple light fixtures. This is where you consider the shape of the room as well as the layout.
Use the three types of lighting previously mentioned throughout the room and distribute the wattage in the way that best fits.
In large spaces, it’s best to have uniform ambient lighting throughout the space and distribute the remaining watts in task and accent lighting.
Tight spaces should have multiple sources of lighting as well but keep the fixtures small so as not to overwhelm the space. Bright ambient lighting to illuminate the space is always a good idea, but task and accent lighting are even more important here.
Strike a Balance
You don’t want your room to be too underexposed or overexposed. Placing one table lamp in a large room is not going to provide enough light, and flooding a small room with light will make it feel blindingly bright.
That’s why it’s essential to strike a balance with you’re lighting. According to interior designers, this is one of the biggest mistakes someone can make when choosing the lighting in their space.
Over-lighting can wash out the space, effectively ruining the rest of the design. It takes away from the intimate and welcoming feel of a home and makes the room feel more like an office or a museum. For many designers, it’s also an unsightly look.
Under-lighting, on the other hand, does the opposite. It can make a room feel small and cramped, like a dark, dingy cave. This can make you feel closed in and claustrophobic.
Neither of the extremes is a good option when it comes to lighting a room. You can strike a balance by following the layering rule and the wattage equation.
Approach Each Room Separately
There’s no one size fits all lighting option. Every room will need its own assessment and approach to fulfil the lighting needs. Here are some good, general guides for lighting each room in your home.
The entryway is like your home’s first impression, so this is a place where you would want your lighting to have some decorative elements as well as lighting the space. To layer the lighting in the foyer, both ambient and accent lighting are important.
Start by adding the ambient lighting as a ceiling light or chandelier. If you have a smaller space, you can try pendant lighting, so the space doesn’t feel overwhelmed. For accent lighting, you can try wall sconces or a set of lamps on a console table.
Your hallways need to be lit as well, and this is often a place most people don’t think of focusing on. If you have a long hallway, be sure there is a fixture about every 8-10 feet. Hallway lighting is ambient, but that doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice style.
For this room, flush mount and semi-flush mount fixtures are the most popular. Try contemporary pendant lights leading down the hallway for a dramatic look. Or, if you’re looking to break tradition, go for wall sconces and follow the divided wattage rule.
The living room is one of the main examples of why you should layer the lighting in your home. Most living rooms are large enough to require a few different lighting options to adequately light the space. Use the wattage rule to find how much you need.
Start with ambient light in the form of recessed ceiling lights to illuminate the space all around. Then move to your task lighting in the form of lamps on end tables. Here, you can follow your layout and light the different areas in your room.
Lastly, pick out your accent lighting to show off the features of your room or add a bit more warmness.
Your dining room is definitely a place you would want to focus some energy. Here you may entertain guests or have romantic evenings, or even unwind with the family after a long day, so you’ll want a relaxing ambience in this space.
Traditionally, the dining room is where most people place a chandelier, but modern design has seen a wide range of lighting styles. Pendants are just as popular as well as other flush mount options. You can even add wall sconces for accent lighting.
A kitchen is another great example of how rooms need layered lighting. The open layout of modern kitchens and the need to focus on specific tasks means that one general lighting fixture isn’t going to satisfy the space.
To layer kitchen lighting, you’ll probably want to utilize all three lighting types. You’ll want contemporary flush mount lighting or recessed lighting to act as ambient light. Next, go for task lighting like under-cabinet lights for food prep and cooking.
And if you have an island, pendant lights create great accent lighting. For the best results, keep the lights about 36 inches above the island’s surface.
Your bedroom is one place you definitely want to get the ambience right. A warm, inviting place to unwind should be the main focus when illuminating the bedroom.
Start with a ceiling fixture that’s decorative but is sufficient in lighting the space. You can install a dimmer switch to help create a relaxing feeling.
Next, go for task lighting in the form of bedside fixtures. These can be table lamps or adjustable wall fixtures. If you still need lighting for some areas, lastly, go for accent lighting like floor lamps for a seating area.
Getting the lighting right in the bathroom is essential and should be treated as a primary part of the bathroom design. The bathroom clearly demonstrates the need for layered lighting.
You’ll want some overhead lighting as your ambient lighting; try going for a smaller chandelier or ceiling fixture. Add task lighting in the form of wall pendants by your mirrors to create a vanity space for getting ready.
If your bathroom calls for it, you may also want a form of accent lighting over your shower or bath.
Transform Your Home Contemporary Lighting
While it’s often left to the last minute in a lot of people’s designs, lighting is actually an essential aspect of the room. Not only does lighting brighten the space so you can see all the other features, but it also adds ambience and a feeling to the space.
With so many options for contemporary lighting, everyone is bound to find light fixtures that they love. And by using these tips, you’ll be able to create a space that’s warm, inviting, and feels like a professional, bespoke design.
Ready to transform your home into a modern showpiece? Browse our selection of contemporary lighting and other furniture pieces to make a statement in every room.