by Tani Hurley
LIGHTING AS A DESIGN ELEMENT
Paint, furnishings, and accessories most often come to mind when talking about interior design, but lighting is an essential design element that is used in a variety of ways, design professionals note.
“Lighting is not simply to eliminate darkness; it is a creative ingredient in successful design,” said Deborah Kreye, ASID, interior designer with Vogue Interiors. “While many people will focus on the selection of fixtures, the choice of how to effectively use light is one of the most important areas of a design plan. Lighting serves a number of different aesthetic purposes as well as the obvious functional task lighting.”
First, Kreye says, lighting gives priority to the objects selected, focusing the eye on a seating area or an accessory.
“Lighting is a subtle way to create a ‘path’ through the home,” she said, “providing direction and a logical progression that leads the eye and creates memory points along the way.”
Light is crucial for displaying framed art work, but there is more than one choice. Track lighting can be used to spotlight each piece of artwork or an entire gallery wall. Or for a single significant work, light can be focused directly on the piece, framing it in shadow.
“Of course, the full potential of art glass is realized only when the piece is properly lighted, so that is yet one more way to use light in design,” Kreye said.
The architectural details of a home are accentuated with lighting. Concealed rope lighting can highlight a recessed cove, and reflected against a metallic faux finish, can give an ambient glow to the room.
“That brings up the numerous effects that can be achieved,” she said. “Ambient lighting can be either direct, or indirect, such as lighting accessories on a shelf from behind for a dramatic look. Another setting where a striking appearance can be accomplished is focusing a flood of light on a dramatic drapery treatment.”
Lighting design sets the stage for the activity planned for the home’s interior. For example, dimming controls can establish the mood for dining.
“A more recent innovation is the whole-home lighting system, where the lights of an entire home can be programmed for various activities,” Kreye said. “With the touch of a single button, the homeowner can create the lighting for a large party, an intimate gathering, or coming home at night. When on vacation, the lighting can be programmed on a variable setting, with lights coming on in different parts of the house on different days, thus giving the appearance that someone is home.”
According to Kreye, halogen lights are to be preferred for use in a residence because they provide a full spectrum of color, resembling natural light. They are brighter and more concentrated. While fluorescent lights may be less expensive, they are more suitable for the laundry room, the closet, or garage when it comes to design.
“Lighting is an often neglected aspect of interior design, yet it is one of the most important considerations,” Kreye said. “Lighting enhances color, accentuates the architecture, and highlights art and accessories. Proper lighting takes an interior beyond the ordinary to create the exceptional.”
Vogue Interiors is located on U.S. 41 at 24520 Production Circle, Suite 5, in Bonita Springs. Founded in 1979, Vogue Interiors has earned numerous national, regional and local awards, including numerous Aurora Awards, the highest award presented by the 12-state Southeast Builders Conference. The company has been recognized for Designs of Distinction by Naples Illustrated. Vogue Interiors provides design services and model merchandising to residential and commercial clients in the United States and overseas.