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.