If there is any season that reminds us of the importance of light and bright spaces, it’s spring. The extra hours of daylight combined with warmer temperatures provide a welcome boost in our mood and energy levels, allowing us to enjoy the brilliance of the sun from dusk to dawn. But whether we’re tackling the day on foot or sitting at our workspace, we rely on various lighting sources to keep us motivated and comfortable throughout the day.
Lighting design is part science and part art form. It is an essential element in design, yet, we often overlook this decorative element in our everyday lives. For me, lighting is one of the first things I notice upon entering a space. And because lighting can have either a positive or negative impact, it’s important to make sure each room is adorned in a lighting style that suits its purpose.
The proper lighting will illuminate a room, accentuating its best features, and create a joyful, welcoming space. Conversely, bad lighting can make large rooms look small, narrow, dark, and unwelcoming.
Below are some tips to change a home’s bright space lighting per your design goals.
Embrace Natural Light – Natural light is the cheapest lighting solution. Optimize its potential!
- Keep your hedges trimmed, bushes pruned, and other plants away from windows.
- Replace light-blocking window treatments with light-colored window panels or shades.
- Consider adding windows, skylights, and/or sliding glass doors where necessary.
- Add mirrors on walls opposite windows to reflect light and create space. Replace solid exterior doors with ones that have a window.
- Rethink your paint colors. Paint affects the amount of lighting required to illuminate a space optimally. Dark hues absorb light, while light colors reflect light more readily.
Update Your Lightbulbs – Remember to keep the room’s ambiance in mind when choosing your bulbs.
- Use LED lights. LEDs are environmentally-friendly, and unlike other bulbs, they contain no mercury, can last up to 10 years, and have no glass or filaments.
- Use the brightest bulbs safely possible (750 lumens or more).
Keep lightbulbs clean. Use a soft dry cloth and ensure all electrical switches are off and bulbs are removed from their sockets before cleaning.
Experiment with Lighting Styles – Combining various lighting styles can create a well-lit and memorable space. And beyond elevating the design, having many light sources rather than one light source in an area is a more energy and cost-efficient method.
- Use different types of lighting, including lanterns, orbs, sconces, flush mounts, table lamps, floor lamps, and chandeliers.
- Table lamps, floor lamps, and sconces work well in bedrooms.
- Table lamps, floor lamps, and overhead lighting work best in living areas.
- Overhead lighting and wall-mounted sconces, above or on either side of a mirror, work best in bathrooms.
- Under-cabinet lighting, pendants, and overhead lighting work best in kitchens.
- Use dimmers. Dimmers on overhead lights and lamps are a great option in any room because they allow you to change the lighting based on the time of day, activity, or mood in the space.
- Use 2-3 different light sources at different levels (low, medium, and high) throughout every room. This strategy disperses light best throughout your space and ensures it is always well-lit.
Accentuate the Lawn with Outdoor Lighting – Highlight your home’s curb appeal by creating a well-lit exterior.
- Path lighting and/or tread lighting
- Sconce lighting near exterior doors and garages
- Uplighting for the trees and outdoor pendants enhances a property’s ambiance.
Consider the tone set by your current lighting and fixtures and whether it is accurate according to your space. For example, do the areas need to feel more relaxed, welcoming, or energetic? If so, consider lighting changes that will help you achieve each goal.
My favorite beautiful, eco-friendly and sustainable lighting options are listed below.
Bicycle Glass Co: “Bicycle Glass started with the simple idea: use our community’s recycled glass to make beautiful, sustainable, and economical lighting.”
Founded by David Royce and Michael Boyd, this Minnesota-based company offers sustainable lighting solutions. Each piece is hand-blown, made with locally sourced, 100% post-consumer recycled and recyclable glass, and comes with LED lights.
Danielle Trofe: “All the lamps are GROWN, not manufactured from mushrooms.”
In collaboration with Ecovative, Danielle Trofe grows lampshades using agricultural byproducts (i.e., seed husks and corn stalks) and mushroom mycelium. And since the MushLume Lighting Collection is fully biodegradable, you can toss these lampshades in your backyard compost rather than the local landfill.
LZF: “At LZF, we combine traditional knowledge, handmade by expert craftsmen, with technology and research.”
LZF lamps are handmade in Valencia, Spain, with FSC certified natural wood veneer. This eco-friendly material is also treated with a technique patented by LZF, called Timberlite©, making it flexible and resistant without any chemical processes.
Biohm: “Nothing is ever-lasting. Everything is ever-changing. We do not design. We refine what nature has given us.”
This London-based startup has created a lampshade called Obscure made of 100% coffee chaff from local coffee roasters or orange peels from local juice manufacturers. Available in three sizes, these handmade shades are cold compostable and toxin-free.
Here at Jen Dorsey Studio we know the importance of light. Not only does it help us see and function better during the day, but it also helps set our moods and rhythms. That’s why we take great care in selecting furniture and interior design elements that allows you to control your environment and create your own bright spaces. Whether you’re looking for a reading nook, an office space that inspires productivity, or a living room that feels like home, we have something unique for you. So come on over to our shop and explore our collection of one-of-a-kind pieces—we think you’ll love them!