O.K., you’re now ready for the fourth step in your Room Redesign project. You’ve emptied your room, determined and examined the focal point and the architecture, brought the furniture back into the room and placed it appropriately and now you’re ready to light the room and hang the art!
Shed Some Light
So many people take lighting for granted. They simply plug in a lamp or flip a switch and figure the room is good to go. Believe me, it’s not! Lighting is too often neglected and taken for granted, yet it is a critical element in a redesign. In the theatre spot lights, hanging lights, floor uplights and colored lights set the mood and enable the audience to see the action. Proper home lighting does the same. Good interior lighting supports the function of a room, instantly warms the space visually and creates a mood when used properly – all of which sets the stage for your life activities!
Lighten up when you redesign! You should combine a variety of lighting sources in order to create a great atmosphere in any room. The three key lighting sources that should be present in every room are noted below. Make sure you include them in your redesign – don’t underestimate their impact – and don’t rely on just one, use them all!
- General and ambient lighting- general lighting is usually planned and wired into the home when it is built. Ceiling mounted lights provide general illumination and ambient lighting is indirect lighting that throws background light against a wall or ceiling, reflecting the light back into the room(recessed ceiling fixtures on the perimeter of the room or uplights placed on the floor and directed towards the ceiling).
- Task lighting- directs a pool of light specifically where it’s needed in order to perform tasks (reading, writing, sewing, cooking, grooming) and accent lights are used to brighten dark corners and highlight features and accessories. Table lamps, floor lamps, plug-in wall sconces and under-the-counter strips provide task lighting.
- Accent and mood lighting – accent lighting creates interest and drama, like focusing a spot of light on a single piece of art, and mood lighting creates a sense of soft, inviting coziness or sparkle and excitement - candles, a fireplace and dimmers all help set the mood.
Light These Areas
When adding lighting to your redesigned room make sure to spread it throughout the space, including these areas:
- Conversation area – use the existing general lighting in the room and support it with floor lamps or table lamps situated near the sofa or chairs in the sitting area.
- Secondary activity areas- in a reading area make certain you provide a lamp with enough wattage for easy reading (at least 60 watts). For writing, sewing and grooming make sure the task lights do not cast shadows.
- Dark corners- Use uplights to brighten a dark corner or put one behind a large piece of furniture to create an interesting glow.
- Bookcases – include a small low-watt lamp on a shelf or attach book shelf lights to the top of each case.
- Plants- I love the drama an uplight creates at night shining through the foliage of a large houseplant or potted tree.
If your lighting isn’t quite perfect get creative to help improve it:
- Use a stack of large hard-bound books to elevate a table lamp if it’s a bit too short for the seating area. This also works to help “level” the lamp heights if one of your seating area lamps is higher than the other.
- If there’s no way to add an accent light to a piece of wall art, place a potted plant or tree near near the art and use an uplight behind the foliage to help light the wall and highlight the art.
- Cluster chunky pillar candles or votives for mood lighting or fill a non-working fireplace with candles (great for summer time too!)
- Add a mirror to help reflect light from a lamp into the room.
- Place battery operated “puck” lights under bookcase shelves or kitchen cabinets.
Use Art in Your Redesign
Art for your redesign is anything that adds to the flavor, interest and mood of the space and can be hung on the walls (non-hanging art is considered an accessory and will be addressed in the next step). Consider showcasing traditional pictures and photos but remember other pieces will also personalize and add interest to your room. Think about the non-traditional art you may own, including quilts and textiles, plates, baskets, musical instruments, mirrors, sconces or shelves, and architectural relics (iron work, corbels, plaster reliefs).
Select the Best
It’s unlikely all your art will look good in the same room – so edit what you have in order to select the pieces best suited for the particular room you are redesigning. Save the rest of the art for other rooms in your home. To select the best pieces for each room consider:
- Theme - make sure the piece supports the feeling of the room
- Color- do the colors in the art work with the colors in the room? They don’t have to match – in fact, a brightly colored quilt or painting might add a little zing to a totally neutral room – but the colors need to look good together so both the room and the art are show well.
- Shape – reinforce some of the shapes in the room for continuity but realize that you can add interest by including a few pieces that counter the predominant shapes (an oval mirror or round plates might add softness to a room filled with square furniture)
- Size – Select items in scale with the surroundings. For example, don’t hang a small round port-hole mirror over a long straight sofa.
- Texture – textured art like baskets, rugs, and architectural pieces add an interesting depth to a room with 4 flat walls.
- Frames – consider their color and material and whether they support or distract from the room.
How to Hang Art
I’ve written previously about how to hang art in Tips for Hanging Art in Your Home and How to Hang Art at the Right Height. Terrie’s written about Wall Gallery Displays. These posts provide great detail about hanging art and I strongly suggest rereading them before hanging your art in this redesign. Generally tips to remember:
- Use the room’s architectural features (window moldings, doorways, trim, wainscoting, etc.) to evaluate lines for the art placement
- Consider the pitch of the walls and the height of your furniture
- Keep pairs and themes together when grouping art
- Relate art to furniture placement
Next week I’ll introduce the final step in the redesign process. Step #5 addresses placement of accessories and plants. This final step makes your redesign come alive! Meanwhile, if you’ve got questions or comments about today’s post or any of the other steps we’ve covered so far, simply click on the Comments link at the end of this post (just after the ads) or email me at email@example.com.