Home Lighting Design

While realtors stress location, location, location, an interior designer is more likely to focus on lighting. Homeowners tend to overlook the importance of lighting in the home, but the most successful resorts and restaurants understand that for creating an atmosphere that beckons, you have to have the right lighting.

Any design plan worth its salt should include a detailed lighting plan. It doesn't matter whether you're overhauling an old home or designing a brand new one—you may just be giving your existing home a new décor—but when it comes to the lighting you should never stint.

Three Types

Lighting can be divided into three types and the well-designed room will make use of all three:

*General—for lighting a space

*Task—bright lights you can train on specific areas for tasks like crocheting, reading, or cutting up vegetables.

*Accent—acts as a spotlight to help show decorative objects to their best effect or to create a mood.

Focused Light

Most homes will have just one central light fixture, plopped in the middle of the ceiling. But this type of light leaves much to be desired: it can't give focused light for tasks, and lends the room an air that is cold and uninviting. By adding some track lights for instance, you can make your room more useful and give it a whole new look and feel.

Don't care for tracklighting? Give uplights a try. These canned lights are set on the floor and work really well for lighting up dim corners. Place a large plant nearby to complete the effect. Uplights direct light to the walls and ceiling and help lend a glowing warmth to shadowy dark corners.

If space is an issue, make your room look larger by installing some recessed ceiling lights. Yet another quick-fix for small rooms is wall-washers. These allow directed light to wash over a peripheral wall.

Dark Hallways?

Don't leave hallways and entranceways in the dark—light them up with picture lights, track lights, or canned light.

Patricia decided to install six recessed ceiling lights in her kitchen during a renovation of the space. She didn't think she'd need so much light but erred on the side of caution. As it turned out, the amount of light they give seems to be just right.

Patricia had dimmers installed so she can exert some control in terms of energy and light. When Patricia is chopping and cooking, she has plenty of light but can dim the lights at night for a softer atmosphere.

Potential Danger

When Margaret was designing her sunroom, she decided she would have all the furniture placed in the center of the room. Because of this, she asked her contractor to place outlet plugs straight into the floor to make it easy to power her table lamps. With this much foresight, Margaret stopped cold the potential danger of family members and guests, tripping over cords.