Courtney Warren is a Texas-based interior designer whose work has been featured in Real Simple, Better Homes & Gardens, Good Housekeeping, Apartment Therapy, and Today.com. She is a frequent consultant on Fox 4 TV’s Good Day program in Dallas, was ranked in the top 3 percent of interior designers in the US by Houzz.com, and starred in the Dallas episode of TLC’sFour Houses. She delights in helping overwhelmed clients create beautiful spaces—and will never turn down a warm chocolate chip cookie or Diet Dr Pepper.
In the previous post, I showed you the first basic layer of lighting in a room: general illumination. Usually a ceiling fixture or pot lights, general lighting gives overall lighting to your room or area. But as they say on tv, “Wait! There’s more!” So let’s look at another important layer of lighting…
Layer 2: you need overall light, yes, but you also need light for work in specific areas of your home. While pot lights provide general illumination for my client’s farmhouse kitchen, these amazing peach basket pendants provide lighting for work on the island. Don’t you love the whitewashed finish?
My little work alcove in the breakfast room gets needed light–and style–from a single pendant.
Besides kitchens and desks, another place you definitely need task lighting is at the bathroom mirror. Ditch that builder grade light bar and bring in some style, like I did in my bath with these awesome antiqued brass pendants!
Layer 3: The beauty of accent lighting is how it can spotlight a feature in your home (and be a feature, too). I mean, really, we already had the stunner cactus chandelier in my client’s entry. Did we need the gold log lamps, too? Oh, yes we did! They give a terrific style punch against the wood accent wainscoting.
Sometimes the roles of task lighting and accent lighting overlap. You want a bedside lamp for reading, of course, but see what a lovely accent it provides, especially with the hide-print shades against the rich red wall. (p.s. Choose your shades with care–they can make or break the look you’re going for with your lamp.)
Bonus tip: if the accent lamp you love just isn’t high enough do the job, elevate it with a stack of books or another accessory, like I did with this petite stool. (Remember that any tabletop vignette benefits from a variety of heights.)
Lamps are the workhorses of accent lighting, and this industrial lamp in the motorcycle-themed loft looks like it could work VERY hard. But when it comes to accent lighting, think outside the box: what about a spotlight? It fits right in, and my client can certainly direct his guests’ attention to his two-story motorcycle mural.
On a smaller scale, picture or artwork lights do the same job. Next we have…
Level 4: whether it’s a dimmer on your chandelier, a petite lamp on your kitchen counter, a candelabra or some wall sconces, every room is a candidate for mood lighting. This layer truly sets the mood for your room, your guests, and your activity.
I love how the party lights in our back yard help set the mood for lazy evenings around the pool.
Speaking of mood, how could a small change (like a new light fixture) make a big difference in the way you feel about a room at your house?
Would you like some guidance on lighting? Let’s talk!