Now that you have decided on your furnishings, it is time to think about putting your curation in a flattering light.
It would all be for naught, if you put in the time and effort to handpick your furnishings for a dramatic display in daylight – only for them to blend with the shadows when the sun sets. Unless the intended effect was a nocturnal disappearing act, you would want the results of your hard work displayed in full, attention-grabbing light for all to see. With the placement of a few thoughtfully-placed fixtures, even interiors that appear sombre in the evenings can be revitalised.
While putting together your furniture arrangements, you may want to consider planning for lighting fixtures at the same time – as some forms of lighting require additional fixtures, wiring, or plasterwork in order to complete installations. In this guide, we take a closer look at the various forms of lighting available, their benefits, and the considerations that come with each.
What minimalism has done to furniture can be seen in modern pendant lights – arguably the result of chandeliers being stripped of their trappings to retain the bare essentials in exposed bulbs. Pendant lights are most suited to modern and minimalist interiors, but are highly versatile with a wide range of styles due to their typically narrow profiles. The installation of pendant lights is not complicated by the weight of the fixtures, but rather by their typical composition in arrays of bulbs, requiring specialist wiring know-how to correctly chain bulbs together without running the risk of shorting out the electrical switchboard.
For a dramatic cone of light around treasured decorations, consider installing a single spotlight with a narrow zone of effect directly overhead. The result is a gallery-like presentation that is better suited for highlighting specific objects rather than casting light over a wide area. For area effect lighting using spotlights, consider using a number of identical units arranged in a wide array, or selecting a set that includes a rail. Wiring considerations are similar to those for pendant lights, in that their installation is less often plug-and-play, more often requiring specialty adapters or dedicated wiring.
Decorative lighting fixtures that are mounted to walls help to indirectly illuminate architectural finishes or to highlight decorative features nearby, however their placement is limited to points in a home where wiring has been provided. The installation of wall sconces, at least in locations that lack the requisite wiring points and corresponding switches, would entail the construction of wiring ducts along portions of walls – a process that typically results in a pervasive cloud of brick and concrete dust. If pre-existing conditions permit, consider using wall sconces in places where floor space is scarce.
One of the most subtly elegant ways to bestow a space with unobtrusive lighting is with LED strips embedded into the crevices and recesses of plaster ceilings. These lighting strips are typically used alongside white plaster ceilings as the pale surfaces serve to reflect light – in a manner very much like lampshades. The soft and indirect rays of light from recessed LEDs make for a low-profile fixture that blends well with styles ranging from classical to modern. The fixtures themselves are typically lightweight and uncomplicated to install, being made to plug into standard sockets – with the addition of adapters supplied by the manufacturers.
Even before electric lighting became a requisite household feature, crystal chandeliers have been used to suspend lighting sources high above the ground. The various crystal components are traditionally cut into specific designs to deliberately magnify and spread light out evenly across large spaces. Intricate crystal chandeliers of antique designs are still being used to appoint classically-inspired interiors, while newer offerings ranging in shape from modest to extravagant are better suited for more contemporary interiors. By virtue of their complicated construction, most chandeliers are hefty fixtures requiring the installation of ceiling hook plates to support the weight – meaning that the placement is limited to load-bearing beams or structural slabs rather than thin plaster ceilings.
If you have the floor space to spare, floor lamps are ideal for casting light over a moderately wide area, working best in corners where the light they emit can be multiplied with the aid of pale or reflective surfaces. As floor lamps are not usually fixed, their positions can be changed to adapt with an evolving arrangement – and their production ensures that all is needed to power one is a domestic power outlet.
With an available table surface, a large portion of your lighting needs can be served with the simple placement of table lamp. Perhaps the most cost-effective solution for limited lighting, table lamps are often designed to act as decorative pieces on their own.
Article by Kevin Eichenberger