From a functional and stylistic view, lighting is one of the most important aspects of an interior design scheme. Appropriate illumination is needed for different tasks and different times of the day. Also, decorative lighting is like artwork or sculpture for your home. It is usually placed within your line of sight and tends to be the first thing visitors notice, making the quality of your fixtures central to the look of your home.
Since it plays such a large role in the success of our designs, we work with the contractor on a new build or remodeling project to manage the whole house lighting design. Many times we end up making many changes to the original design to reflect the planned functional and stylistic needs of the space. We also prepare our clients for the real cost of lighting; when you are building or remodeling a home, you should plan to spend a minimum of 2.5% of the total value of the home on lighting. Since these elements are illuminated, and therefore immediately draw the eye, it is quite apparent when your lighting scheme is not done well. Why diminish a gorgeous design you are already investing in by holding back on this vital piece? Admittedly, we sometimes have to convince our clients to increase or rearrange their budget to accommodate quality lighting, but in the end they always thank us. When the project is complete and every visitor comments first on the lighting, its central role in the overall design becomes crystal clear.
Here are some ideas to consider when creating a whole house lighting design:
Develop a Plan: The key to success in whole house lighting is balance. Mixing the general illumination of recessed canned lighting with task and decorative lighting is what creates the ambiance of your home. Consider how you will live in each space and develop a lighting plan that suits your needs. Take into account the overall look of your home as well. Is there a special piece of art you want illuminated? Have you created a design feature you want to highlight? If you are not consulting with an experienced interior designer, work with a qualified lighting specialist to ensure your lighting plan is going to achieve what you need. Functionality, safety, and aesthetics are all a part of that process.
Create a Cohesive Look: Just like other design elements, it is important to keep the look of your lighting fixtures cohesive throughout your house. Classic lighting styles are your best investment if you plan to keep your home, as there will be less need to change it over time. However, if you want to try trendy, go for it! Just understand that you will be changing it out as styles evolve. Cohesive does not mean the same -mix different types of fixtures! Chandeliers, sconces, pendants, flush mount, semi flush, track lighting, canned lighting, art lights – have some fun with your options.
Scale Can Make or Brake the Success of Your Design: We talk about scale in almost every blog post we write, because it is usually the reason why something seems “wrong” with a room. Because quality lighting can be expensive, some homeowners will purchase pieces that are too small for the space. We draw all fixtures into our design schemes, ensuring they will complement rather than underwhelm. When you are weighing your options, also consider how scale will relate to functionality and space: does the fixture have enough wattage for your needs? Does it give off light where you need it to go? Unfortunately, the prettiest ones may not be the best choice when weighing all of your needs.
Add Dimmers to All of Your Switches: Adding dimmers to each piece of lighting allows you to control the mood of your space. Have you ever realized that you need more light during the day than at night? Daytime tends to be the most active time in a home. But once dinner and early evening busyness is over, we dim or turn off the lights to create a relaxing atmosphere. Note: There are special considerations with adding dimmers so make sure they are reflected in your lighting plan.
At Hoskins Interior Design, we firmly believe in “no more boring lighting”! There is no need for your lighting to look like everyone else’s when you are working with an experienced designer with access to trade-only resources. Lighting warehouses and websites are overwhelming, and we find that many homeowners end up choosing fixtures they really do not like. Because we understand the many details behind what makes a fixture the right choice, we are able to lead you through your options toward those that fit your design. Your lighting needs to match the style of the home you are creating. If you are investing in quality design, architecture, materials, and furniture, your lighting should follow suit.
Questions on how to create a beautiful and functional whole house lighting plan? Send us an email, or give us a call at 317.253.8986.
As Indianapolis interior designers, we often work with local partners on new construction or remodeling projects. Such was the case for a recent kitchen remodel, where we worked with a local architect Lee Constantine of Constantine Design Group and local contractor Tom Pearson of Thomas J. Pearson, Inc to give our clients the look and functionality they needed. The family of five could no longer function well within the layout of their u-shaped kitchen. The poor flow created by the peninsula would trap people in the space! With growing children and constant entertaining, the family needed a new kitchen design.
The architect created a preliminary design; we were brought in to add the detailing. We made a few design additions to the architect’s plan, but our main role was to help our client choose finishes, cabinetry style, appliances, countertops, tile and flooring.
We started the selection process with the flooring, as it had to flow well with the materials in the two adjacent rooms – the sunroom and the family room. The homeowner wanted tile in the kitchen. We were able to find the same color and pattern used in the sunroom but in a different shape. The 8” x 16” tiles were laid in a herringbone pattern, which provided continuity to the space yet with visual interest.
Once the flooring was selected, we built the rest of the kitchen finishes from there. We worked with a cabinetry fabricator to create the architectural detailing our client was looking for in the space. Door style, finish, moulding, glass inserts, legs – all of these little characteristics add up to create the overall look of the space. Even the type of doors on the appliance garages was specified; we prefer panel doors rather than accordion as they are more stylish and functional. Many times kitchens lack space for artwork because the cabinetry covers most of the walls with hard materials. We made sure the cabinetry design allowed space for accessories to soften the overall look.
Our clients wanted granite for the perimeter countertops, so we took her on a shopping expedition. Granite is expensive and not easy to replace, so we want to make sure our clients love their choice. Within Hoskins Interior Design, we make the selection process fun! New slabs are coming out of the ground every day, so you never know what you will find at the showrooms. We bring our clients directly to the local suppliers, encouraging an open mind to take advantage of the surprises we may find when we get there. Once we figured out the elements of granite our client preferred – movement, no movement, deposits, reflective elements – we were able to settle upon one style. She chose a dark grey with reflective elements that included quartz deposits, complimenting the neutral colors within the kitchen design.
For the island countertop, our client was set on wood. We were careful to source a product that had excellent reviews for durability. The family is well aware of the special care the wood requires, and therefore uses the island as a table for homework and family gathering rather than for cooking.
The backsplash tile was the big indulgence for our client. She fell in love with the hand-made crackled glass with small ranges of beiges and tans within each tile. Our client loves her choice every day! Hand-made tiles are rarely static or perfectly matched, offering a unique look for each project. Our client wanted the walls, flooring and backsplash to be the same tones to add a neutral feel. The hand-made tiles achieved that goal, but added dimension and a nuance of color. An easy way to create subtle detailing to a tone-on-tone look is to change shapes, textures and placement. Those neutral elements then set the backdrop to allow other details to shine, rather than fighting for attention. For this project, the varying beiges are in high contrast to the dark granite and wood countertops, brining them to the forefront of the design.
The light fixtures were chosen not just for style, but also for scale. The open nature of the space required large pendants over the island and a big chandelier over the dining table. We drew the designs to scale to make sure we ordered the correct size, but when the pieces arrived at the office they truly looked huge! Once they were up however, they were perfect. Light fixtures are like artwork in a room. We always suggest investing in quality as they raise the design of your space and are often the first thing visitors comment on.
Finally, we helped our client choose furniture and accessories that complimented her family’s lifestyle. The round dining table allowed more people to squeeze around it when the older kids came home from college, but was still scaled for every day use. The accessories were chosen to reflect our client’s love of gardening. The end results were a kitchen that functioned well and a fresh look to the home.
Questions about this project? Send us an email or give us a call at 317.253.8986.
We often team up with home builders and remodelers to help our clients create the home they envision. At first it may seem that contractors and interior designers would end up constantly butting heads, further complicating an already detail-oriented project. However, we find our partnership benefits both the client and the contractor. It’s the shared commitment to respect, communication and a quality end result that makes this team approach work.
When we are brought onto a project, whether by the contractor or the client, our role is to be a bridge between the client’s mind and the contactor’s hands. The subjective nature of design makes it a difficult thing to express, leaving lots of room for misinterpretation. It is our job to understand the client’s desires and provide the direction and technical vocabulary contractors need to create them.
During the building process, the client is focused on look and function, and the contractor is focused on structure. Our role is to bridge the gap between the two parties. As interior designers, our talents lie in understanding aesthetics as well as functionality. We move beyond the decorations to the fundamentals of how to design a space around how it will be used. This perfect marriage of expertise allows us to provide clear guidance to the contractor about what their client is envisioning.
Benefits to Contractors:
Exceeding budgets, design changes mid-way through a project, slow progress on material decisions—these are just a few of the many challenges contractors face when working with homeowners. Our goal is to make the contractor’s job easier, helping them avoid these potential complications:
- We take the time to understand the way the contractor works and support their process. We are flexible to the needs of the builder and their subcontractors, understanding what is important to their success. We do not pretend to be a builder, leaving those aspects to the experts.
- The multitudes of design decisions are placed in our hands, allowing the contractor to do what they do best—build. We help manage client expectations, keeping them within budget, and helping them understand the implications of their material choices. When the client feels their money is being spent well by the contractor, they are happy!
- We turn the client’s visions into detailed drawings and specs geared toward the person swinging the hammer. We help keep clients on schedule, working ahead on the decisions the builder needs to stay on track. And, we provide the information a contractor needs in the sequence in which they need it.
- Collaboration leads to a better outcome. Problems always occur in a building project. We help contractors work with clients to solve issues. We often turn an engineering problem into an asset rather than a detriment to the project. With everyone working together toward a shared vision, the end result becomes something everyone is happy with.
Benefits to Homeowners:
For the homeowner, our focus is on helping them create the home they envision. We work with them to define their goals and challenge them to look outside of their comfort zone. We find that expanding their ideas of design and function brings about the space they truly want. Once we have a final design, we turn it into a form that the contractor can clearly understand, ensuring the expected end product.
We help clients choose elements that support their vision. Bright shiny objects can be very distracting and many homeowners want every choice to be their favorite thing! We guide their decisions toward supporting the original design concept, making sure everything flows and works together properly. We also help clients stay on budget, setting priorities and balancing spending so they can have more of what they want. Avoiding expensive design mistakes by making educated decisions in the first place is the best way to save money!
Benefits to Both:
We can serve as a fresh, objective set of eyes on the original design concept often created by the project architect. As a neutral party who understands the needs of both the client and the contractor, we can add a layer of aesthetic and function that reflects the client’s wishes and the contactor’s expectations. We find that this third-party view does not complicate a project, but elevates it to a place where everyone is happier with the final product.
Many times homeowners are not used to going through the building process, creating the opportunity for wide gaps in expectations between the client and the contractor. We provide support to both sides, making sure everyone in the decision-making process is being represented and helping everyone get on the same page.
In the end, the goal of the team is satisfaction. Educated and informed design behind the structure being created helps everyone achieve his/her goals. The builder gains a happy client, and the homeowner gets the home he/she envisions. Designers and contractors are a natural partnership. The next time you are planning a home remodeling or new construction project, consider including an interior designer on your team.