Lighting It Right

Who Turned The Lights On?!

You're sitting in the living room having an intimate chat with a loved one; the lights are dim and the atmosphere quiet. Suddenly, someone comes in and turns on the overhead ceiling light. Poof. Gone with the wind-or better yet, gone with the light-the mood has changed and the chat is finished. Lighting has a powerful impact upon our mood and our communication.

Many Uses, Many Lighting Needs

Your living room is probably the room most frequently used by the entire family at one time, aside from perhaps the kitchen where you eat together. Proper lighting is important for this room considering its importance to your family. This is the room where family conversations, watching a good movie together, reading a book or the newspaper or playing games with the kids, all take place. This is also likely the place where you will entertain your friends when they come to visit.

The lighting used in this valuable space is particularly important because it determines, in large part, the mood of those who are in it, as well as providing comfortable lighting for any of the activities which take place there. With these considerations in mind, it is a good idea to incorporate several different types of lighting in the room to accommodate the different activities.

Considering Light Sources And Applications

Overall, there are only two real light sources. One is natural, generated from the outside through windows, doors and skylights and the other is artificial, usually accomplished through electric lighting-either incandescent or fluorescent. There are myriad types and colors of lighting available these days, and each sets a different mood.

How you go about lighting your living room should be based upon a plan and design for the space. If there are many different uses for the room, then a variety of lighting may be employed using controls for the lighting as necessary. If the room is a combination sitting room/home theater, then lighting is particularly important to the quality of viewing. Too much light in the wrong places will make viewing a DVD or movie difficult, even causing eye strain. Too much natural light will also adversely affect viewing.

Reading, Writing Or Just Hanging Out Together

If your room includes a place for someone to read, then the lighting must be suitable for that need. If it is too bright or not directed properly, then it can bounce off the page and cause eye discomfort and an unpleasant experience. In this case a reading lamp or desk light placed in proper proximity to the couch or chair will provide sufficient light. Otherwise, the use of light controls can be useful for arriving at the right amount of light for a comfortable read.

Recessed lighting, wall sconces, chandeliers on dimmer switches and lamp shades on standing lamps are all excellent ways to light space. Plan your area and then choose your lighting to complement and enhance your family's living experience.