Is your lighting a bit lackluster? Mix it up with various kinds of lighting. If you want to eliminate contrast and encourage a soft, attractive glow, use at least three different kinds of lighting, such as:
1. Accent or “point of interest” lights
Kind of like a spotlight for something you want to emphasize, accent lights can be either below or above an object, such as a painting. If shining from above, accent light offers some overhead light without the glare and contrast of having one centralized overhead light fixture.
2. Task lights
Now that you’ve got some light already in the room, add it in the areas where you need it for a specific task: a desk or reading chair, for example. Task lights are often angled toward the task area, but try to ensure that there’s not too much glare. Add a second fixture, so you have two sources of less intense light, make sure your light is softened by a shade, or turn the light source towards the wall so it bounces back without the glare.
3. Ambient or diffused lights
How much more light do you need now? You might still have a few dark corners that could use brightening up. Ambient light often comes from less obvious sources, and bounces around, getting light into those shadows. You may want several sources—for example, floor lights shining up a wall and reflecting off the ceiling, or recessed lights within a semi-closed space like a bookcase. Recessed lights are another great way to get light pointing down without it feeling like an intense beam directly over you.
Other ways in increase good light in a room:
Increase the wattage
While you never want to use a bulb with a higher wattage than the lamp can allow, CFL bulbs are a great way around this: they use less energy for the same output, so a 60-watt equivalent bulb only uses 15 watts in reality. Also, newer versions are warmer and more attractive than the original models.
Encourage light to bounce around without installing a single extra light fixture. Mirrors can also make a space look bigger.
But don’t add too MUCH light, or use too light of paint!
Just don’t overdo it! Too much light, or too much light paint, can actually make a room more claustrophobic, not to mention similar to a laboratory. Remember, dark walls don’t necessarily mean dark room: you can make a perfectly cozy space with a dark palate, as long as you use light effectively.
Need to install lights in a place with no fixtures? Learn how to place the switch, install the cable, and connect the wires.