Did you turn your clocks back?

I must be weird!  I actually enjoy setting the clocks back an hour.  It signals the beginning of the holiday season.  Early sunsets equal cozy evenings and, if the weather cooperates in southern California, maybe a fire in the fireplace and a pot of chili on the stove.  After all, Christmas lights look so much better in the dark than in the bright light of day!

But early sunsets also mean darker rooms in your home and that is where an efficient lighting plan comes into play.  Common sense and a good rule of thumb suggest a minimum of three lighting sources in a room and should include:

Task lighting:

This is just as it sounds–lighting that illuminates the space where tasks are being performed.  For example, overhead lighting in the kitchen, a proper desk lamp in your home office, makeup lighting in the bathroom etc.  Task lighting is designed to shine on the task at hand and is often brighter than other types of lighting.  Light bulbs and wattage is a topic for another blog post, especially if you live in California where they regulate everything, including the type of light bulb you can use.  This desk lamp from Pottery Barn is a fine example of a beautiful and functional source of task lighting that would be right at home in a contemporary or traditional setting.

Lily lamp from Pottery Barn

Lily lamp from Pottery Barn

Ambient lighting:

Often referred to as general lighting, ambient light illuminates an entire space, unlike task lighting that shines on a specific area.  This can be achieved through the use of table and floor lamps, ceiling fixtures etc.  Natural light also falls into this category.  Large picture windows, skylights and accent windows placed high on a wall are just a few ways that natural light enters a room.   Check out this room–I could move in tomorrow!

Accent lighting:

Accent lighting helps set a mood in the room.  It is designed to highlight specific items or areas such as a feature wall, artwork or even a view.  Place one behind a large plant to cast interesting shadows on the wall or install “fish eye” fixtures that can be focused on a single area, sculpture or painting.

Accent lighting to establish a mood can be accomplished with a small and decorative lamp placed atop a dresser, bookshelf or even the bathroom countertop.  It will not only illuminate the space but acts as a night light to put an end to the search for a light switch in a dark room; and they cast a soft glow wherever you use them.  This Dale Tiffany accent lamp from Lamps Plus adds color and style and will compliment any Arts&Crafts, Mission style or traditional interior.

lamp from lamps plus

lamp from lamps plus

Now that you know how to properly light your rooms you can enjoy the ambience that comes with shorter days.  OK, maybe not enjoy but at least not feel quite so depressed that summer is actually over.  Are you convinced?

About hayniedi

What about me? In a nutshell I am a middle-aged interior designer and freelance writer, mother of an amazing 27 year old daughter, wife to my semi-retired lawyer husband and step-grandma to two delicious babies. From my earliest memories I have been fascinated with interior decorating and love to share my passion for beautiful rooms with anyone who will listen. Join me on this blog as my husband and I enter our empty nest years and move back into the first home we bought when we were first married that has been a rental for the past 15 years. I will share our experience with remodeling as well as other ideas and thoughts that I hope will inspire you.
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