This episode discusses the traditional lighting rules (general, task and accent lighting), why they are misleading, and how to use lighting to create a comfortable sense of space.

Most decorating shows will tell you to include
(1) general lighting
(2) accent lighting and
(3) task lighting.
But these recommendations are propagated by light manufacturers.

General guidelines for lighting if you want to create a comfortable sense of space:

Table and floor lamps can provide general lighting and task lighting for most spaces.

Have at least three table or floor lamps. This eliminates most stark shadows.

Arrange your furniture and tables to pull your lamps toward the center of the room. Try to have them at your conversation circle.

More lights with lower lumen bulbs are better than fewer lights with higher lumen bulbs. Check the lighting in almost any swanky restaurant or bar to see this.


Sense of Space

Basic Furniture Arrangement

2 thoughts on “The Rules of Lighting

  1. I was searching the internet for room layouts and the concept of scale and proportion, and I landed on your you tube channel. I have a living room that’s 19 x 10’8″ and trying to decide if I can have two sofas facing each other ( afraid I can’t use the conventional wisdom of pulling them away from the wall). Anyway, I loved your videos and how you presented the information in such a straightforward way. I hope the channel takes off for you because I’m looking forward to more episodes!

    • Hi Elsa! Thanks for your comment. Sorry for the delay in getting back to you. I didn’t know anyone had been to this site yet!

      Based on your living room description, I’d say maybe on placing two sofas opposite each other. If you think the traffic flow works with opposing sofas, i.e. you have enough room to move between the couches, then here’s what I would do:

      Really pop the end wall. It needs to dominate your view when you enter the room so your eye doesn’t go immediately to the couches. That could be a bold accent color or pattern; a different material – barn boards, brick, fabric; big pattern drapes; or a full wall of built-ins, floating shelves, fireplace surround, or TV entertainment center. In any case, a big statement.

      Second, I’d try to give the couches a way to “nestle.” Have something taller than the couch on each side – a lamp, a plant, art/sculpture, maybe even a small secretary or thin cabinet. By adding some height out from the walls on either side of the couches, you can distract from the fact that they’re butted up to the wall.

      Last, you’ve got the question of what do put above the couches. That’s a bit tricky. My standard approach is to have art relate to the height of the couch rather than a specified distance off the floor. But with the couches against the wall, one guffaw laugh could dislodge your art. Be cognizant of what you put back there and how you hang it.

      Thanks gain for stopping by and leaving a comment. Best of luck!

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