Wednesday, February 24, 2010

A Little about Lighting

I wish I had some great ground breaking photos to share, but we're not there yet. We're currently in the painful process of sharing every minute detail of our financial history with the bank. We hope to break ground by the end of March, but that is still just a hope.

In the meantime, we have plenty of time to stew over our plans, and work on the one hundred zillion decisions to be made. If you think about all the decisions at once it is overwhelming, the stuff of 3 am anxiety. So we are taking all this time to make decisions at our own pace. This week its lighting and kitchen layout.

You cannot underestimate the importance of good lighting. Once you start paying attention, you'll notice three types of lighting in a warm, well-lit home:

Ambient lighting: provides the overall glow that lets you get from point A to point B without stubbing your toe; but if you have a wardrobe of black like I do, it is useless to help you make heads or tails of the sea of black within a dresser drawer.
Typically recessed lights in modern homes, or the single overhead light in older homes.

Task lighting: designed to help with a specific task like cooking or reading. Usually a recessed light or under cabinet light in the kitchen. Our current kitchen is quite dark, with most task lighting frustratingly placed behind our heads, casting a shadow right where we work.

Accent lighting: lighting used to illuminate art or a plant or some other focal point. Since we have no major artwork, we're leaving any accent lighting for a future project.

When these three types of lighting are layered well, it can make an empty box look warm and inviting.

For ambient light we know we'll need some hanging lights over the kitchen island. We like the look of the one shown here - somewhat period appropriate, simple.

There's really only four other places that require special light fixtures: stairway wall sconces, bathroom wall mounts, and the family room overhead light. Lots of decisions...but we're chipping away.

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