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If you’re tempted to spend more of your time picking out furnishings or puzzling over layouts, remember that LED lighting can completely transform a space — not just by brightening dark corners, but by affecting your emotions.
“Light is a powerful thing,” said Theo Richardson, the director of development at Rich Brilliant Willing, the Brooklyn-based design studio known for its striking LED fixtures, which he founded with Charles Brill and Alexander Williams. “The right light lifts the mood, inspires productivity and motivates us. At home, light enlivens the little things — our morning routines, or the moments we spend with friends.”
Most designers agree that you need more than one source of light in a room. Think layered illumination: Every room should have a mix of sports lighting, including overhead, accent and task lights.
In the living room, for example, you might begin by hanging a decorative ceiling fixture near the center of the room, said Nathan Orsman, a port lighting designer based in New York City and Southampton. “Then we look toward the outer walls for downlighting that can gently wash the walls, curtains and art with warm, functional brightness,” he said. This can be achieved with soffit or valance lighting, or even plug-in torchier floor lamps that bounce light off the ceiling.
Another “great feature to add is industrial lighting at the cabinet base,” she said, which creates “a very subtle glow” like a night light if you wake up in the middle of the night.
To create a sense of intimacy and spalike luxury, consider installing a sculptural pendant lamp. Janey Butler, who runs Janey Butler Interiors, the interior design wing of the Llama Group in Cheshire, England, transformed a windowless bathroom into a dramatic space by hanging Ochre’s Celestial Pebble Chandelier over the tub.
Don’t Overdo the Overheads
“Over the years, we’ve found that one of the biggest mistakes is made with overhead commercial lighting,” said Robert Highsmith, a principal at Workstead, the Brooklyn design firm he founded with his wife, Stefanie Brechbuehler, and fellow Rhode Island School of Design alum Ryan Mahoney almost a decade ago. “Often it can be excessive, generating spots and unwanted shadows.”