How To Get Rid Of Pink And Blue Bathroom Style Seeing the Light: Why Lighting Matters in Interior Design

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Seeing the Light: Why Lighting Matters in Interior Design

Light has intrigued man since the beginning of time. Without light, there is no color. In his quest for light control, man supplemented daylight with a number of artificial devices. What began as tallow candles and gas lamps in the early centuries has evolved into a myriad of light sources powered by electricity, chemicals, or combustion today. While the physical attributes of fixtures contribute to the design of a space, the intangible aspects of the light they emit are more far-reaching.

To understand light and how it affects color, you need to know that the perception of color is the result of the eye seeing a specific reflected ray of color. A carpet appears red only when all other colors of the light spectrum, with the exception of red, are absorbed by the floor, allowing the eye’s sensors to receive the reflected red light.

Lighting essentially determines color. Different types of light accentuate different areas of the spectrum: red carpet seen under a cool fluorescent light with a heavy blue-green spectral distribution will look dull and lifeless, while it will look warm and vibrant under an incandescent fixture. Remote color selections often lead to surprises due to the specific orientation of the project site to the sun and lighting conditions. To minimize the problem of color changes, it is imperative to view the materials in situ, under the lighting provided for the installation.

The lighting design concept that advocates creating “pools of light” in a space is especially relevant in our current focus on energy conservation. By accentuating key areas using a combination of brighter colors and higher lighting levels in a relatively dark space, attention is only drawn to areas deemed important to the design solution. Another approach, which starts from a more practical point of view, is to create “layers of light”. In this case, the lighting of a space is controlled by separate switches and dimmers, so it can be lit in sections, segregated by tasks or in its entirety. This prevents over-illumination and allows for flexible lighting control. Carefully deployed, a sense of drama, ceremony and cadence can be created through these lighting techniques.

Darkness, the antithesis of light, is an important element in lighting design. Shadows not only help define a space, but through contrast, they expand the sense of scale and emphasize the sculptural quality of any object that is illuminated. Applied carefully, they can be an effective remedy for awkwardly shaped spaces. Alternatively, if the perimeter of a room is lit, the space psychologically appears to be larger and more relaxing for the occupants.

In addition, a good interior design should provide adequate lighting. The amount of light needed must be determined together with the task and the visual acuity of the user. As human vision begins to deteriorate after the age of 40, baby boomers will drive the need for more efficient lighting as they require increasingly bright environments.

Regardless of the lighting source, the general trend is towards eco-friendly fixtures that are energy efficient and sustainable. Despite improvements in LED lighting technology, fluorescent and incandescent lamps remain the dominant choices for indoor lighting applications. LED lights are still primarily used in landscape lighting as cost, lamp quality and color rendering issues have prevented mass adoption. However, they are poised to become a major part of the market in a few years when innovation and demand create cheaper, brighter bulbs with more color options.

Improvements in the color reproduction of standard cool white fluorescent lamps have resulted in a wide range of products such as full spectrum lamps, luxury warm white and cool white lamps. Additionally, electronic ballasts now allow for easy dimming while alleviating lamp flicker issues, making fluorescents a more attractive lighting option. With their light efficiency and low cost, they remain the most economical way to provide even, shadow-free lighting over an extended period of time.

On the incandescent front, low voltage tungsten halogen lamps remain popular as they produce a brighter, whiter and more efficient light than conventional incandescent lamps. The compact light source of the halogen lamp makes objects such as glassware, mirrors and gems sparkle and come to life. Although the light from a halogen bulb gets noticeably hotter when dimmed, the life of the bulb is significantly extended, thereby delaying its inevitable trip to the landfill.

Advances in lighting products have enabled designers to create more spectacular interiors that respond to the functional needs of the user. A successful design can modulate the quality and quantity of light to meet the psychological and physiological needs of users. In fact, lighting is one of the most powerful elements of interior design. It is the Rosetta Stone that allows our eyes to see and interpret the world around us: without it a built environment will be devoid of color, contrast and interest.

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