Lighting Design

Lighting for living rooms, family rooms and dining rooms needs to be flexible. A dining room might serve as an office during tax season for example. Even so, the primary use of these areas is for relaxation.

Uniformity of illumination isn't important. In fact, directional lighting can provide highlights and shadows, sparkle and warmth. Low levels of illumination are usually adequate. The primary concerns are comfort and aesthetics. Color temperatures should range from 2700k to 3500k and the CRI should be at least 80 for a natural and comfortable appearance.

Incandescent down lights create a dramatic look and can emphasize a focal point such as a fireplace. Portable light fixtures provide flexibility and are very useful as reading lamps or for general illumination. Locate lamps for reading beside or behind the reader. Also, a diffuse source will reduce glare.

A portable torchiere lamp can be moved around as needed to provide general illumination. Wall sconces can also provide general illumination.

Pay particular attention to controls, so that flexibility can be built in. Dimmer switches, three-way fixtures and different fixture combinations can allow for different uses of a room. The dining room chandelier might be dimmed for dinner, but can then provide plenty of light for paper work.