Lighting has a larger decorative value today than it did even a few short years ago, and consumers are now choosing lighting products as an important accessory to their overall home design.
Three Major Movements. Most of today’s design choices fall under one of three definite categories: casual elegance, with fixtures a bit more upscale in design that still create warm, relaxed and cozy environments; simplified traditional that removes the ornate by such methods as stripping down solid brass fixtures and applying an antique patina; and soft contemporary that is still clean, modern and simple, but no longer “cold.”
- Larger Fixtures: As the average size of homes in this country have increased, so have the design elements that go into them. Larger interior volumes need larger lights, and energy-efficient compact-fluorescent lamps (CFLs) often need larger fixtures than their incandescent predecessors.
- Layers of Light: Rooms need multiple sources of light to get the best balance of light in a room. Especially in areas such as kitchens and eating areas, a simple overhead light is only the beginning. Well-placed task and accent lighting is a must to brighten the perimeter and fill the background.
- Energy Efficiency: Consumers are looking to save energy when they can, and lighting is an obvious place to cut back consumption. Dimmer switches and whole-house control systems allow for mo re precise usage, conserve energy and extend lamp life. Low-voltage bulbs cont inue to grow in popularity and use, as CFLs and light-emitting diodes (LEDs) offer a higher quality, warmer light than just a short time ago. Also, many contractors are fitting recessed fixtures more tightly, which cuts down on conditioned-air loss through ceilings.
Think of approaching lighting design the same way you would approach buying a piece of art. There are enough lighting options out there to suit everyone’s taste.