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Lights have subtle, yet undeniable power to influence your mood and determine whether your house feels like a home. Well-planned lighting schemes can make a space feel warm and inviting, while ill-conceived ones may make a room cold. Often, when you purchase a home, the raw lighting you’re left with isn’t the cozy atmosphere-creator you’d hope it would be. As such, one of the first things homeowners should upgrade is their lighting fixtures.
Learn to layer
Many rooms have one overhead light hanging on the ceiling. This light, on its own, doesn’t do much for the space. However, when layered with other light sources, it can provide comfortable illumination. There are three different types of lighting you can combine to layer: ambient, task and decorative
Ambient lighting is a diffused source that comes from sunlight or ceiling lights. It fills the whole room, but doesn’t focus on any one area. In your home, this might be pot lights or a ceiling light that doesn’t hang very low.
Task lighting illuminates a single area. For instance, you might have a lamp on your desk to help you see when you work. Or, you can install lights under your kitchen cabinets that shine on your counters as you prepare food. Task lights are so named because they help you see and complete whatever you’re doing. They also form pools of light in your home that add depth to your scheme.
Decorative lights provide pools of illumination, but they also make an area more elegant. For instance, the chandelier in your foyer or shabby chic lighting pendants hanging over your dining table are all considered decorative.
Use a combination of each of these lighting types to provide warmth and depth to your home.
Rule of 3
Every room should have three sources of light, and arranging them in a triangle is ideal. You may have two table lamps and a chandelier, for instance. Ambient light does not count as part of your three, as it doesn’t form nice pools. Having defined areas created by light keeps your eyes moving around the space and provides visual interest.
Alternating the height of your lights also makes you space look intriguing. For instance, can lights could provide directional illumination from above, while pendant lamps provide light over your kitchen island. Additionally, lower table lights on your coffee table may further vary the height of each fixture.
Use dimmer switches
Dimmer switches are easy to install and inexpensive, but they give you control over the ambiance of your room. If possible, use them for every fixture in your home, allowing you to create a bright space when you work and a dim one to set the mood.