Bright Ideas

An illuminating lesson in lamps, fixtures and bulbs to create a flattering home

When most people embark on a design project, a lot of thought goes into furniture style, color palette, texture and materials. But to highlight all of these choices you need the main component – lighting. This essential part of your design scheme can showcase colors, evoke drama and set a mood. But always remember: good lighting is not just about a pretty chandelier.

Very rarely do we walk into a room and marvel at how beautifully it has been lit and how the light is radiated – and that credit most certainly goes to the designer. When lighting is flawless it very rarely gets noticed. In a perfectly lit room, you will always look and feel your best, at ease, relaxed and comfortable.

One of the biggest missteps to design is overly bright lighting. You don’t want your friends visiting your home or apartment to feel like they’ve walked into a doctor’s clinic as this lighting sets a very intense mood. Fluorescent tube lighting is definitely in the no-go zone; it makes everything look washed out and often leaves you feeling fatigued. Poor lighting can alienate the furniture and people, it can generate a ridged and uncomfortable environment. Low wattage bulbs are imperative. They set a great mood when used correctly, and look inviting and romantic.

Always remember you don’t need to light the whole room. Well-lit rooms have layers of light that contrast perfectly. A great example is the right lamp which can make all the difference when paired with a dimly-lit bulb and amazing shade.

Using lighting for a dramatic first impression is what you want, but all rooms need to be multi-functional for reading, watching television, dining or entertaining. Lights with dimmers are key to dramatically changing a room’s mood, allowing you to set a mood depending on the occasion and, financially speaking, they’re great energy savers! Let’s not forget the old saying “less is more,” as over lighting is far less forgiving than under lighting.

Track lighting, pendant lights, lamps, recessed lighting, wall-mounted fixtures or chandeliers, to name only a few, all have their place and when used correctly to layer a room can be used to create a sense of ambiance, can create an atmosphere, and importantly facilitate the room’s functionality. You love your artwork and key pieces, so what better way to showcase them than by illuminating with halogen lights or track and down lights. This will transform any room instantly with not just one focal point but many.

Without question your best lighting is free – natural light. Utilize this resource by taking into account the direction of your room in relation to sunrise, sunset and the glare pounding sun emits.

The one luminescent lighting feature not to be overlooked is candles, an interior designer’s final touch. They come in varying heights, colors, scents and shapes. Every room is magically transformed with flickering lights and that rustic warm feeling candles emit.

So there it is, the color and design layout of a room is important but lighting is paramount in enhancing your space and making it feel warm and inviting.

BIO: David J. Campbell is the Design Director at Villa Royale Treasures and Tearoom in Thao Dien, District 2, Saigon.

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