Laguna’s home lighting experts share how to best illuminate your space.
By Somer Tejwani
Lighting is one of the easiest ways to
create flattering interiors, highlight the best aspects of your home and generate desired ambiences. Carefully chosen fixtures, pendants, table and floor lamps all create a comfortable characteristic that you might not be able to put your finger on but, when done right, can make a substantial impact on the look and feel of the home.
Choose Your Source
The best-lit rooms have lighting that is based on the activity or mood you’re trying to obtain. “For example, if you are trying to light a kitchen for tasks, such as preparing or cooking food, the lighting you would want to use would be task-oriented, such as a recessed lighting system or track system, which would provide bright and evenly distributed light,” says Laura Edwards, interior designer and lighting expert at Laguna’s Lightopia.
“Let’s say, later in the evening, you were having a dinner party, so the ambience would change from task to setting the mood for your guests to something more ambient,” she continues. “Dimming the task lighting system and using pendants or other decorative light to set the mood would enhance a comfortable, relaxed environment.”
Dimmers add flexibility and save energy, especially in rooms where only one overhead light is available. With just one light source and a dimmer, you can essentially change the entire function (and mood) of a room.
Good lighting oftentimes goes unnoticed—and that’s the key to perfecting the art in your home. “Too often lighting is an afterthought, … but it is always best if it is integrated into the original design,” says Bret Englander of Laguna Beach industrial design and lighting company Cerno.
When the source of the light is a focal point, choose a decorative fixture that will complement the interior design look you want to obtain. “For example, if the client is going for a Tuscan or Spanish look, then I would guide them to fixtures that used rod iron or metal work, mica, resin candles and darker finish choices,” Laura says. “If the client wanted a more modern interior, I would suggest lighting that used glass, matte and polished metals, and lighter-shaded fixtures.”
Although she concedes that all rooms benefit from strategic lighting choices, Laura says the most important room to light is the kitchen. “Since this is the space most people eat, cook and live in, it is important to light this space properly.”
At Cerno, the strategy behind lighting options begins with the purpose of the room. “During this process, we decide if the fixture is more of an ambient or task fixture,” Bret says. “The desired use determines what the color temperature of the light will be and also dictates how it needs to function.”
Lighting as Art
Lighting can also be used to showcase prized art. “One of my favorite things to light is artwork,” Laura says. “Most of the time, I try not to take away from the art but provide a lighting system that will highlight the painting or sculpture without being too noticeable. Some of the new LED recessed light systems have trimless ceiling kits and adjustable beam spreads that can be directed at the position of the artwork.”
On the other hand, carefully designed lighting can be marveled at as much as a piece of art. “Lighting can absolutely be a statement piece,” Bret says. “I think that it would be difficult to have our huge Valeo floor lamp in a space and not have it be a statement piece.
“However, there are other situations where the goal for a piece is to be in [harmony] with a space and the other pieces in a room, rather than to stand out,” Bret continues. “There is also a difference between a statement piece and something that is just obnoxiously out of place. A statement piece should be an anchor that stands out but also ties the other design elements together.”
Whether using lighting for functionality or aesthetic purposes, taking the time to illuminate a space can do wonders for your entire home.