“Lighting is for people.” This seemingly straightforward but enlightening statement is one of the most prolific things to understand when it comes to succeeding in lighting design. It probably comes as no surprise that light affects our moods and actions. For many people, dark, rainy days equate to time inside reading a book or watching a movie. Bright, sunny days on the other hand, are filled with outdoorsy activities, like taking a hike or playing a game of muggle quidditch with your friends.
What the Research Shows
InformeDesign, a company made up of architects, interior designers, landscape architects and graphic designers, have studied how light affects the human experience. When setting out to design a lighting fixture, designers must determine the function of the light. It would seem the answer is obvious: to light up a space. But it’s not as easy as that. Designers have to ask questions when setting out to create a useful product, and light should be useful. Some questions could include:
- Will a home’s walkway entrance be well-lit?
- Is there enough lighting for individuals working with their hands on highly detailed projects?
- Is the lighting able to ease a crying child into a comfortable slumber?
- Will the lighting provide the homeowner with a sense of pride, peace, or comfort?
All of these questions and more are crucial to creating a successful design. Think about some places you’ve been: a restaurant, the library, your home. Do the three aforementioned spaces use light the same way? Start with the function of each space. One is to dine, one is to read, and the other to do what you will. Each space was designed for a specific use. To help people understand the space’s use, lighting helps to set the tone. In a restaurant, it’s about ambiance. In the library, it’s about research. And in the home, it’s about contentment and relaxation. Lighting studies have shown that when given the choice, people will choose the brighter path or space. The brighter space helps us to center ourselves and prepare for the tasks ahead. Meanwhile, soft light helps us to relax.
How to Light Up Your Space
According to InformeDesign, if you’re looking to create a cheery, pleasant atmosphere, wall lighting is the ticket. Unlike ceiling lights, which cast light down into the space, wall lights create for a dynamic sense of space with its unique dispersal of light. Look at the way the LBL Lighting firm designs their wall lights. The company’s Juniper Wall Sconce fuses the natural beauty and texture of wood grain with the brilliance of white opal glass. By combining natural elements with manufactured effects, LBL Lighting has designed a wall light that is both playful and useful.
For a cozy space, low lighting is key. You can go with another wall light, or mix it up with a floor lamp. By situating a floor lamp in the corner of the room, you are distinguishing the space between one of focus and one of relaxation. Viso’s Archie Floor Lamp lights up both at its base and head. With reviews comparing the floor lamp to the incandescence of the moon, the Archie Floor Lamp exudes a soft light, while its head could easily shine a spotlight on whatever you wished it to. When set next to your reading chair, you can concentrate on the plot of your book or relish in the lamp’s emanating, supple light as you binge-watch “American Horror Story” or finish up a crossword.
When you decide how you want your space to be used, be it for work or play, remember that levels of brightness and artistry will determine what you get out of the space.
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