4 Must-See Lighting Solutions That You'll Love

I once was invited to a home that was so dark it took a minute to grope the wall for a light switch.  After clamboring about and managed to flip on the lights to take a look around I realized that I could hardly see the person across from me.  Because I had to squint to see what we were looking at, it was difficult to make a good assessment of the space much less begin to make any recommendations for improvements - that is other than to increase the amount of light!

One of the most important changes you can make that gives you the most impact is to increase your light level. Lighting doesn't receive the emphasis it often deserves.  Lighting improvements are quickly dismissed for being too costly despite being one of the best improvements and investments you can make for both residential and commercial settings.

Let's pull back the mask on dim and dark spaces with these four solutions:

1. Don't rely completely on lamp lighting.

Without other types of lighting sources, lamp lighting alone can result in funky shadows, dark spots, and an overall dim room.  By diversifying your lighting types, you'll have so much more control and will better acheive the light levels you really want and need depending on the time of day, the season, and your activity.

A pendant light takes the place of a floor lamp or table lamp, keeping an end table clear and adding style to the space. Natural lighting is preserved from the adjacent space through interior glass. Transom lighting above the media center lets in a bit more natural light and a few can lights balance the overall light levels.

With just a little natural light during the day, the modest addition of recessed can lighting is combined with decorative lamp lighting for better overall light levels.

2. Lighting options aren't limited to recessed can lighting.

A common solution for increasing light is to install recessed can lights in the ceiling.  You can dim them and depending on your ceiling design there are multiple options for how to arrange their layout.  On the other hand, some people hate can lights.  The good news is, there are a handful of alternatives.  Can lights can feel rather utilitarian, but if you have a style going on that you'd like to enhance, decorative lighting can both brighten and also increase the style quotient of a room, a home, an office or workplace.  Decorative fixture options include sconces, chandeliers, pendants, flush mount, uplighting, cove lighting, task lighting and back lighting and can be used in ways that you might not expect.

A combination of cove lighting reflecting off a semi-metallic custom decorative ceiling finish, an open-frame chandelier and sizable sconces, this large foyer with minimal natural light is always beautifully lit.

3. Combine direct and indirect lighting.

This is a little trick that you'll love!  What's the difference? Direct lighting essentially means you are pointing light toward an object or area that requires visibility.  Indirect lighting means you are pointing light away from an object or area, but the reflected light creates a softer ambient light source on the area of desired visibility and the result is luxurious.  The more reflective the surface your indirect lighting is illuminating (ie: a mirrored or glossy surface), the more dramatic the effect.

Indirect LED strip lighting tucked vertically behind the casework illuminates built-in display objects and spills into a short back hall.

4. Install multiple light levels for everything: for day and night, cloudy days and sunny days.

Just like color, lighting will read differently depending on the time of day and the time of year.  Without even addressing controls, by setting up different types of light sources you can capture light combinations for different times, seasons and forecasts that a single light level could not.  Perhaps you have trees that shade your home in summer but reflect light off the snow in winter.  The orientation of your home or office and the placement of windows dramatically influence light levels in a room.  The better you can anticipate all your lighting needs, the better lit you're space will be all day and all year.

Even in the winter season, this executive office at Stenger & Stenger exudes warmth. Under cabinet lighting, double pendants, and high surface mount sconces enhance the basic lighting levels of the room.

It seems pretty simple, but lighting is overlooked far more often than you'd expect.  

You'd be suprised by how your space will feel when you have the right amount of light.

It also helps tremendously that lighting options keep getting better: they're more energy efficient, they're beautiful, they're affordable and accessible, and the options for controls are only advancing.

In summary, by diversifying your lighting portfolio, you'll acheive great lighting for every time of day, every season and any activity you set your heart to.  You can actually see, clean, cook, and read without straining your eyes.  The value of lighting cannot be overstated.