DDH Decorating Ideas


Re-Thinking Light by marygilliatt
April 7, 2010, 4:20 pm
Filed under: Lighting, Mary Gilliatt | Tags: , , , ,
Mary Gilliatt - Lighting Your Room

Imaginatively placed light is just as much a flexible decorational tool as paint and color. (Img. Mary Gilliatt's Interior Design Course)

The art of lighting – and it really is an art – is one of the most important and subtle elements in decorating. It can dramatize or minimize space, heighten or lower ceilings, warm up colors and atmospheres or cool them down, create illusions or mystery and make rooms much more comfortable and practical to live, work and read in. It is also the most misunderstood of the decorative arts and, on the whole, the least-practiced.

Many specialists, books and articles giving lighting advice tend to confuse listeners with science and complicated technological terms. To my mind, light, like color, requires an essentially emotional response. I think people should think of using light as if they were painting a room with it. Imaginatively placed light is just as much a flexible decorational tool as paint and color. Think of using light in a room as subtly as you use spices and herbs in cooking to titivate and heighten tastes.

Another factor that can lead to confusion or frustration when selecting lighting, is that lighting showrooms, stores or departments tend to be so overly lit that it is generally impossible to see what various lighting fixtures and bulbs actually do as well as what they look like. (I always contend that a good lighting place should have a dark room in which lights should be tested out properly – just as many music showrooms have a quiet space for better listening purposes).

Mary Gilliatt Lighting Your Room

The best artificial light is meant to emulate the many moods of daylight. (Img. Mary Gilliatt's Interior Design Course)

In addition, so many developers and contractors automatically wire a room for central lighting which cannot help but make any space seem bland. I always try to counteract this by pointing out that the best artificial light is meant to emulate the many moods of daylight, and that since the sun does not stand still in the middle of the sky nor blazes continually down from overhead, then neither should the artificial variety. It would be far better if contractors installed double light and power outlets in each corner of a room and in the middle of walls for maximum flexibility, and put in dimmer switches as a matter of course. The dimmer switch with its ability to vary any given amount of light is to lighting what the zip is to clothes!

The bad news is that major lighting schemes MUST be planned, and any re-wiring or extra outlets installed, long before any decoration is undertaken so that both the installation and the necessary wires can be neatly concealed. (The same planning applies to extra wiring for stereo systems, computers, printers, televisions, telephones, alarm systems and so on).  This means that you need to figure out exactly what lights and appliances you want to use and where from the very beginning.  It is much too late to plan your lighting once the decoration work has begun.


Mary Gilliatt and Lighting

Think of using light in a room as subtly as you use spices and herbs in cooking to titivate and heighten tastes. (Img. Mary Gilliatt's Interior Design Course)

Of course, it is often impossible to plan radical lighting schemes anyway, either because you have a rental which will not allow structural changes, or you have pretty well impenetrable concrete ceilings and floors, or you simply do not have enough money. The good news here is that you can still plan good flexible schemes cosmetically as it were with the judicious use of uplights, downlights, table lamps with three way switches, portable spots and, again not least, the ever valuable dimmer switches which are easy to install.

Cheers,
Mary

International Designer Mary Gilliatt

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