The Art of Lighting: How to Light a Room

image via la petite fabrique de reves

I haven't been giving much thought to lighting in our apartment lately due to the fact that we get really good natural light all day long.  But Wednesday was the first gloomy day we have seen in more than a month and it made me realize that our apartment is lacking in certain aspects of the lighting department.  Lighting is often an afterthought, especially if you are renting, but there are a few key types of lighting you should have that will add depth to your space as well as make it more functional.

Natural Light: The light that comes from the great outdoors.  This is my favorite type of lighting, and the lack thereof is a serious deal breaker for me when apartment hunting.  Make sure to hang your curtains high and wide on your windows to take advantage of natural light, and utilize sheers to retain privacy will still allowing light through.

Ambient Light:  Ambient light is the general overall glow to a room.  It comes from floor lamps, table lamps, sconces, and overhead lighting.  Ambient light is what is going to set the mood for the space, and there are three elements of ambient lighting that help determine this.  First is the light intensity, is it dim or bright.  Second is the color of the light, how warm or cool it is.  And third is the type of light, is it soft and diffused, or more harsh and directional.  For example your bedroom probably has dim, warm, diffused lighting achieved by a couple table lamps on your nightstands.  In contrast a classroom is going to have bright, cool, directional lighting achieved by overhead fluorescents.  You can see the different moods these two types of lighting create, a more cozy, inviting feel in your bedroom, and a more formal, institutional feel in the classroom.

Accent Light:  Accent lighting is meant to create visual interest and draw attention to interesting objects, such as artwork.  This is mainly achieved with picture lights and track spotlights.

Task Light:  Task lighting is just that, lighting used to help you perform tasks.  Sometimes task lighting isn't necessary if the daylight and ambient light are bright enough, but desk lamps or under cabinet lighting can be used when necessary.

So, there is your lighting lesson for the day, I hope it helps you create an inviting and comfortable home.  And on that note, here is a roundup of my favorite lighting pieces at the moment, that not only brighten up your space, but look beautiful while doing it.

Modern Table Lamps
Floor Lamps
Modern Pendant Lights

Table Lamps: Calhoun Lamp from Dwell Studio // Perch Table Lamp from West Elm // Tiago Table Lamp from Crate & Barrel // Hourglass Table Lamp from Room & Board // Driftwood Table Lamp from Lumens

Floor Lamps: Stilt Floor Lamp from Lumens // Stacked Polyhedron Floor Lamp from West Elm // Rope Floor Lamp and Shade from Pottery Barn // Tribeca Floor Lamp from Crate & Barrel // Knot Floor Lamp from Digs

Pendants: Euclidean Pendant from Anthropologie // Rio Pendant from Jonathan Adler // Wood Slat Pendant from Overstock // Beat Light Pendant from Lumens // Loft Pendant from CB2