Let There Be Light

Here’s a common scenario. A client purchases a brand-new home with work together to design the interior. We select beautiful fabrics, rugs and window treatments. Next I begin to discuss a lighting plan for the space. The homeowners says, “I don’t really need any lighting. I have plenty of recessed lights in the ceiling. In the model home there were no lamps at all.” Technically these statements may be true, but lighting is an essential component of a beautiful design. You absolutely do need lighting. Let’s consider the arguments:

I don’t really need any lighting. Well, I guess you don’t actually need lighting. So long as you don’t mind not being able to see your artwork, furnishings and accessories. Color is light reflected, so without light, there is no color. If you invest in beautiful fabrics and furnishings, don’t you want to be able to enjoy them after 5 p.m.? Have you ever noticed how a room may look beautiful and vibrant in the morning sun and dull and lifeless in the evening?

Lighting is one of the best ways to add interest and drama to a room and ensure that you can actually see the beautiful décor in your space. Effective lighting not only makes both indoor and outdoor spaces look good, it enhances decorative and architectural details and helps prevent trips and falls to keep you safe.


I have plenty of recessed lights in the ceiling. Great. Recessed lights are awesome for their intended purpose: general bright lighting of a room. But ceiling lights tend to cast downward shadows, creating a bland, flat effect. It’s just not the most attractive light for furniture or people, ie. Why banquet halls and restaurants always dim the overhead lights in the evening. Recessed lights are a good part of a lighting plan, but you also need task lighting for reading, cooking, computer work or crafts and ambient lighting is best for highlighting décor and holding comfortable conversations.

In the model home there were no lamps at all. I love visiting model homes. A beautifully decorated model is one of the best ways a buyer can envision the design potential of the space. The thing is though, no one actually “lives” in a model home. Uncovered windows with sheer drapery panels are ideal for maximizing the daylight in a model home, but not so practical for a family’s privacy, not to mention protecting your furniture, floors and artwork from sun damage or energy efficiency. Model homes are designed for viewing during the day and are not designed for the realities of day to day living. There are no lamps because, for the most part, there is no one viewing the model home after dark. No cooking, completing homework, cozy conversations, reading, entertaining — no actual living in the home.

Don’t get caught in the dark. Let there be light!

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