How to Light Any Room in Your Home (Part 1, The Basics)

December 09, 2015

daylight mirror room vision sensory

Lighting done right isn't quickly noticed. So, the lighting plan is often overlooked or rushed, but it actually has a huge effect on the look and feel of any space. How many times have you walked into a room and thought something like, "This feels cozy" or "This room feels like a dentist's office"? Without realizing it, you were probably being influenced bythe light in the room.

There's a simple explanation for this. Vision is our dominant sense, by far. Some say it takes up nearly 50% of our brains' resources. And vision is our brain's interpretation of visible light. So, how you light your home or business will affect how you and others feel when they're in it. If good lighting was only blasting a room with as much light as possible, you could throw up a warehouse light and be done with it. But to create a comfortable, livable atmosphere you'll need to create lighting layers. So, where should you start when lighting any room?

Layer One: The sun, of course.

One Million Years B.C.
Yup, this is totally historically accurate.

Before the light bulb; before candles; before the campfire; the sun was our only source of light. The sun is such an important part of how our brains are wired, without it we actually get depressed. Before you touch a light bulb, think about how sunlight is getting into your room. To actually get sunlight into the room you may need to move furniture away from a window. Pull back those heavy curtains during the day. Do what you can to not block any valuable light.

If you only have one or two small windows, you'll want to accentuate the light coming in. You can do this with reflective surfaces. Add a mirror on an adjacent wall. And move a rug to let light hit a more reflective floor.

And of course choose a wall color that brightens up the room. Light whites, blues and greens are great for bouncing sunlight to make a room feel larger. Reds, Greys, Orange and darker colors will tend to suck in sunlight making a room feel smaller. However you illuminate your home, just remember the sun is great lighting resource. As an added bonus, it's free!

Continue learning how to light any room with the second layer of light in Part 2, next week>>>


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