Contemporary Lighting Techniques
Lighting can transform your home and change the appearance of colors and textures. More than just light your way, it creates a mood. Lighting options have dramatically improved in recent years with the introduction of compact fluorescent bulbs, or CFLs, and LED lighting, or light-emitting diode. A new lighting plan should include the use of energy-efficient lighting, which in some cases is required by building codes. Successful lighting has a layered effect so that there is general ambient lighting as well as one or two zones for task lighting, such as reading or cooking, or low light in a media room. Hire a qualified electrician to install your lighting.
Kitchens and Bathrooms
Good-quality lighting in your kitchen makes preparing and cooking much more enjoyable than a poorly lit room. To illuminate the entire space, recessed lighting is a good basic provision of contemporary lighting style. Install task lighting such as LED rope above your countertop, underneath the bottom of upper cabinets. Use one-to-three pendant lights over an island in materials such as clear or colored glass or metal. Bathrooms benefit from a combination of recessed lighting and a well-lit mirror. Install sconces, which diffuse and spread light evenly.
Contemporary lighting can be playful or whimsical and has a sculptural appearance with less ornamental detail than traditional styles. One such example is a large, round glass fixture centered above a conversation area. Add contemporary ambient lighting by installing two sculptural wall sconces on either side of a console. Modern lighting focuses on unusual shapes and sizes. Add an arched floor lamp with a stone base over a club chair for classic modern flair.
Track and Picture Lighting
Focused light produces illumination in a specific direction and adds a layer to an already established lighting plan. An excellent alternative to recessed lighting is the use of track lighting on the ceiling that can be swiveled in different directions for balanced light or to highlight art on the walls. Lighting your art with picture lighting allows a soft glow on the art, even if other lights are dimmed or turned off.
Create a dramatic effect by hanging two or more large pendants in a hallway or a fixture with multiple lights over a dining table. Allow the lighting to take center stage as a sculptural, artistic element in a room. Bell shapes in smooth rounded glass or metal in assorted colors hung in a dining area shines downward onto the table like a spotlight.
Contemporary lighting finishes include styles such as pendants made with brushed metal and colored glass and marble floor lamp bases with large linen drum shades. Modern chandeliers are linear with strings of crystal hung at different lengths in a straight line instead of the traditional tiered design. Glass orbs hung in groups over a side table are simple and sculptural, the foundation for contemporary style.
By Alicia Garey