We’re shedding some light!
It's winter. It gets dark early. There are fewer hours of daylight. All of these things effect us. Even those who love this time of year (ahem, my Marketing Director!), can suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). SAD is a type of depression that occurs at the same time every year, most commonly in the fall and winter. It saps your energy and makes you feel moody. Come spring, you begin to feel more like yourself, more upbeat. Don't brush off that yearly feeling as simply a case of the "winter blues", take steps to improve the way you feel!
While I don't claim to have any medical background, I do know that proper lighting can change your mood. And it all starts in the place you call home. It is possible to make your rooms feel cheery and bright, even on the darkest, coldest winter day.
Illuminate the way! Having light sources at different levels will not only create a flattering ambiance, but will also provide you with the task lighting you may need. Each room in your home serves a different function, be sure to choose lighting that best suits the activity that will take place in that room.
Michael Murphy, an interior design pro for Lamps Plus, sheds some light on the situation (pun intended!). First, and one of my favorites, is "go big". If you only have room for one source of light, say in your dining room, then make sure it's big enough to fill the room with light. Murphy explains that the rule of thumb is to take the room dimensions, for example 10 feet by 10 feet, and add them together. In this case it would be 20 feet. Convert that number to inches, therefore 20 inches, and the result is the diameter for your ceiling fixture.
I like to remind my clients that you are not limited to one chandelier in your dining space. If you have an especially large space or a really long table, consider adding two chandeliers or an extra large light fixture that matches your table shape. That way no one is left to eat in the dark. The look is both dramatic and enlightening!
For other areas of your home, consider using more task lighting. Depending on the room, this could mean adding additional floor or table lamps. In other areas of the home you may be better off adding recessed or pendant lighting, as in the kitchen or bath.
In this kitchen we designed, we added lots of recessed lighting, pendants and under the cabinet lighting, giving the homeowners lots of options for how bright they would like the space to be.
This cottage bedroom serves multiple functions, so it was important to have lots of good lighting. Whether working at the oversized desk, or relaxing on the bed, there's the perfect amount of light.
Choose your shades wisely. The type of lampshade you choose will, in fact, make a big difference as to how your light fixture casts it's glow. For optimal light output from your overhead fixture, choose a glass shade. While I love the look of colorful fabric shades, I must always keep in mind what additional light sources may be needed when selecting them. Fabric shades add a touch of warmth and give a moody feel to a room, but they don't always provide the ideal amount of light output.
To brighten a room, it's best to choose pure white lampshades made from light, airy organic fabrics such as linen or cotton. This ensures the lampshade will filter artificial light vividly, casting a more flattering glow on the space.
The light in this small bedroom is perfect for the space. However, notice that the shade causes the light to cast it's glow above and below. It's ideal for bedtime and relaxing, but might not work in other rooms where you may need more light.
Here's something to reflect on...mirrors! I love to add mirrors to a room because not only can they make the room feel larger, but I love the way that light bounces off of them. The best position for a mirror is perpendicular to a window. This will allow the light to reflect off the mirror and across your room. Positioning a mirror directly across from the window will only cause it to reflect the light right back outside! Not exactly the result you were looking for.
Mirrors aren't just for the walls. A mirrored coffee table or console table will add a touch of glamour to your rooms interior, while bouncing the light all around...and even into adjoining rooms!
Don't be left in the dark this winter. Add some light! We can help you design your room so that it's beautiful, functional and bright!