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  • Writer's picturePat Ziv

How and Why does the Interior Designer Layer LIGHTING?

Good designers are proficient in the layering of lighting to celebrate a space properly. Lighting enhances the most beautiful room and provides the desired atmosphere of a space. Without the magic of lighting, you lose the appeal and warmth of the room’s design. Lighting can provide sparkle as well as safety to maneuver through the space.

The layers of Light include:

  • Recessed lighting or high hats illuminate the walls, the tabletops, and the furniture.

  • Ambient lighting such as cove lighting and wall sconces give you an overall lighting level to allow travel throughout the space

  • Task lighting such as under-cabinet lighting, table, and floor lamps supports a specific task. For example, under-counter lighting illuminates your work surface in the kitchen and a table lamp will allow you to read in the seat nearby.

  • Accent lighting is the sparkle! The light artwork as well as accentuates any special sculptures or items of interest.

I recently attended a wonderful annual lighting show followed by a lecture by an esteemed lighting specialist. In this case, it was given by a CEO of a major lighting manufacturer discussing several issues. One was the “workhorse of lighting” in the prestigious home environment. He was speaking of the architectural recessed lights that set the stage for our beautiful decorative lights. Architectural recessed lights are most effective when the lights themselves are almost invisible while illuminating the space in the most discreet manner. This is the difference between the more expensive deeper architectural fixtures and the more shallow less expensive variety

From the big box stores.

Without this “workhorse,” a chandelier cannot be as effective as it should be. It should not be expected to light the whole space efficiently and produce the atmosphere desired. A beautifully designed lighting plan anticipates whether a chandelier itself needs to be lit to enhance its beauty and stature; it may require the assistance of the recessed lights to light the dining surface, accent lighting for the artwork on the room’s walls, and cove lighting for a soft glow around the room. You will feel a room is complete and you can enjoy the room fully when all of these factors are in play.

Interior designers are versed in this science of lighting and in some cases may call upon a more specialized Lighting Designer when the task at hand is more complicated or there are specific artifacts that need attention. In any case, design is never performed in a bubble without thinking about the whole experience and how all of your senses enjoy the space.

Every year, designers attend many Continuing Education Units (CEUs) and Trade Shows to keep us current on new products and industry developments. My certifications require that I accumulate a minimum amount of education units annually and I often exceed them in my quest for staying on top of this ever-evolving industry.

Call me at 201 233-4636 or e-mail

to discuss any lighting issues you think could be improved.

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