As savvy 21st-century devotees of home improvement television and shelter magazines, most of us know by now that a fresh coat of paint and some inspired decor can utterly transform a home. But an often overlooked feature of any home build or remodel is lighting, which can set a mood and dramatically alter the look of your home.
Below, Atlanta lighting design experts lay out the new trends in lighting and tips for what to emphasize and what to avoid when planning the lighting in your own home.
C Lighting owner Yaacov Golan sees energy-saving lighting as the biggest trend driving the industry. Not just energy-saving bulbs and LED and fluorescent fixtures, but dimmers can make a big difference, too. “If you have a 100-watt bulb and you dim it 50 percent, then you save 50 percent of energy,” Golan advised.
Look for fixtures that can give both focused and diffused lighting, Golan said. “Because in a room you want to have good general light for ambience then you want to have a task light which gives you another layer of light.”
Kitchens have been pendant lighting hot spots for several years now, but Julie Holloway, owner of Milk and Honey Home, says homeowners shouldn’t be afraid to try hanging a fixture in a den or living room, one of the most on-trend ways to make a room look more contemporary. And don’t be afraid to go low. Holloway recommends hanging pendants 30 to 36 inches above the kitchen counter. “That’s one design crime that people do, is hang their lighting way too high,” said Holloway, who added that flush-mounted lighting tends to look impersonal and builder-grade.
“Lately, the bigger the better,” Holloway said of the move away from spindly, delicate accent lamps that for years flanked dining room buffets. Instead, Holloway said chunky, oversize lamps are the new cool. They even work in a traditional home. “You can still add in a large modern lamp that will mix the styles and make it more interesting,” she said.
Just because a dowdy or low-impact shade came with a lamp doesn’t mean you have to keep it. Check out lighting stores and sources such as Antiques & Beyond in Atlanta for wonderful shade selections. For a more custom touch, Holloway also recommends using a hot glue gun to add a favorite fabric to a lampshade.
Table lamps in unexpected places
Instead of dangling a pendant light over a kitchen island or using a fluorescent tube to illuminate a countertop, try table lamps for greater warmth and intimacy. An electrician can drill holes in the island or countertop to hide the cord and keep things neat.
Click here to read more about lighting choices for your home from AJC.com.