mayo 17, 2024
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Lighting, an essential point in decoration

When it comes to decorating, lighting is a critical part of any room. Proper lighting ensures your home in Mexico will be relaxing, comfortable and stress-reducing. Correct lighting also ensures you can work best in the areas where you need to prepare food, return on emails and finish reading another chapter in your book. In your main bedroom ensuite, who doesn’t want lighting that makes them look ten years younger and ten pounds lighter?     

Most new condos offer an abundance of natural light.  Most homeowners opt to add supplemental lighting.  There are three other types of supplemental options including ambient, accent, and task lighting.

Types of lighting

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Ambient lighting is the type that comes the closest to replicating daylight. It is a diffused light that provides an even glow in your room. Ambient lighting is not meant to create shadows. An excellent example of ambient lighting is a chandelier or a flush mount ceiling light. The downside to just having these types of fixtures in a room is that it quickly causes eye fatigue.  Eye fatigue is caused when everything in your home is cast with the same light.   

Accent lighting helps to put a focus on specific objects such as artwork, sculptures, or feature walls. For decor items to pop, accent lighting should be about three times as bright as ambient lighting. A tip to make this effect work is to limit how many items you showcase in one room.  If everything is drawing your attention, then it defeats the purpose.  Place ambient lighting where you want to draw the eye.

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Task lighting is what you use when you need to have a concentrated light source.  Just as the name suggests, it is a direct light so you are able to see well to perform a specific job. Great examples of task lighting are reading and desk lamps. Task lighting is also often used in kitchens and bathrooms.

There are many types of light fixtures available on the market to create ambient, accent and task lighting. Most new condos and casas in Mexico come with recessed lighting. These types of ceiling lights are mounted flush with the ceiling, making them look almost invisible. These provide mostly task lighting and are primarily functional in nature.

What lighting options are there and how to use them

Pendant lights are those that hang from the ceiling using either a cord, chain or rod. A pendant is usually a single light, or you can also see some today that are chandeliers made from several lights. Pendant lighting provides mostly ambient lighting. In some cases, pendants can create accent light when they are placed over a kitchen counter.

Wall sconces are light fixtures that are attached to the wall rather than the ceiling, usually at eye level. Depending on the style of the fixture, wall sconces can provide ambient, accent or task lighting.

When we use the term, ‘lamp’, we mean all types of moveable light fixtures including floor, table and desk lamps. These are a great source of accent and task lighting depending on the shade of the lamp. If you want a warm glow for accent lighting, go with a translucent linen shade. For light that will cast up or down, a darker shade is a better solution.          

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Track lighting is when several small lights are inserted into a long metal rail.  With the metal rail, you also get three to five small lights.  These small lights can be positioned up and down the track and pointed in different directions depending on your needs. Track lighting is a great multi-purpose lighting solution since the individual lights can be adjusted to focus on one item or to create ambient lighting.

One of the most overlooked areas by homeowners is a strategic plan for lighting. When determining your need and placement of light fixtures, it is essential to remember the difference between useful and aesthetic.  For example, having a large reading lamp behind or beside your favorite spot on the sofa is primarily useful.  Having a lamp on either side of your bed in your master bedroom is useful and aesthetic.

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When you are in the planning stages of furnishing your home, it is a good idea to identify not only where you want to light, but also whether you need it to be useful, aesthetic or both.  Always start your plan by selecting ambient lighting, layer on accent lighting and then add task lighting.   

For rooms that you perform tasks in, such as the home office, kitchen, laundry room, closets or storage areas, your best bet is task lighting such as recessed or pot lights.

For all other rooms, a combination of ambient, task and accent lighting working together will create a fantastic effect.  Interior designers use this approach to take a room from good to great.  We use at least three different sources of light in every room.  This creates multiple levels of interest and focus. 

In a dining room, in addition to a chandelier, add a couple of lamps to the buffet and a spotlight over a painting.  In a living room, consider a low-set ceiling fixture, a table lamp, a floor lamp, and two wall sconces.  This approach will give you options to create drama when you have guests over for dinner and switch to useful and natural lighting for during the day.

Other tips

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A few other tips about lighting: most recessed or track lighting comes out of the box with wide flood light bulbs.  These types of bulbs are not the best to use.  Replace them with medium and narrow flood light bulbs and spotlights so that you can create a mood.  Take one of the spotlights and shine it on a chair, décor items or artwork. 

For table, desk and floor lamps, the bulb is what determines how much light is cast not the size of the lamp.  If you want a low-key light effect, opt for darker cloth shades.  Darker colors allow light to shine down rather than out to light the room.  Lighter cloth shades will create more light in the room overall.  If you have the option, always opt for lamps with dimmers.  This gives you the most flexibility and easiest way to change the mood of any room.   

For those not sure about light bulb types, here are some options.  Halogen is perfect for spotlights.  LED lighting is best for task lighting, and compact fluorescent bulbs are best for table and floor lamps.  Remember that the higher the Kelvin rating, the whiter and brighter the light will be.  Between 2500 and 3500 will produce a pleasant mood.

Lighting fixtures are not easy to find in Puerto Vallarta.  If you would like some free lighting catalogs, email me at sa.novak@solutionsmexico.com or visit SOLutions Mexico.

By Sheryl Novak

 

About the contributor:  Sheryl Novak is the owner of SOLutions Mexico and is known as “the maven of furniture in Mexico.”  She knows where to find comfortable, well-made, and reasonably priced furniture in Mexico.  She helps buyers find furniture and décor that fits their budget and has the best contacts for anything you need home related.

 

For more articles on decoration and tips about the home, click here.

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