Don’t we all that have that room in our house that just isn’t bright enough? It doesn’t matter what kinds of lighting fixtures you use, you’re always looking for ways to bring in more light? For me, this room is my family room. It is a large room in the basement of my house—but since this is a rambler style home, there are little to no windows to allow in natural light. And since this is the room we spend the most time in, we want it to be comfortable for all activities—we went on the hunt for the best lighting design with could find.
Our Family Room acts as a place for my family to gather to watch TV/movies and play games. It’s also a place where we entertain guests and get our work done. This means that I need a variety of lighting to suit all of these activities. When we’re getting ready to watch a movie, we want the lighting to be low. But then of course, there are times that we would prefer a brighter light so that we can play a game, or use the computer. It’s important to see how different light fixtures illuminate a space differently. This way you’re sure to get the right lighting combination for your needs.
Here’s how I fixed my dim lighting dilemma…
Paint and furniture color: The room is roughly 12’x27’. The TV is positioned at one end of the room, and the computer is at the other. Knowing that there is no natural light entering the room, I decided to paint the room a neutral creamy white color. I brought in warmth with the brown tones in the carpeting and furniture. The brighter color on the walls helps right away with light illumination.
Ambient Lighting: To be sure we had adequate overall lighting in the room, we installed recessed lighting throughout the entire family room (12 total lights). We hooked these up to a dimmer switch so we can bring the mood of the room from task and entertaining down to relaxing with the touch of a button. The recessed lights that we chose are similar to these lights found at Bellacor.com.
P8074-28: 6-Inch 120V White Incandescent Open Trim, Progress Lighting, Sale Price $24.72 each
Accent Lighting: For times when the overhead recessed lights aren’t needed, when we are settling in for the night, or ready to watch a movie, we use the strategically-placed Accent Lighting. I chose two floor lamps and a table lamp. In the sitting area of the room, we have a floor lamp next to the couch and a table lamp between the couch and the chair. This is just enough light for relaxing, but because the lamps are placed in the seating area, they can also accompany the recessed lights to create a brighter light for reading a magazine, etc.
The other floor lamp is placed at the opposite end of the room from the TV, next to the shelving unit (which also acts as a computer desk). This provides even lighting at both ends of the room when the overhead lighting is not being used.
See these similar lamps from Bellacor.com.
(Left) Chandelier Library Rubbed Wood One-Light Floor Lamp, Murray Feiss, Sale Price $191
(Right) Fredrique Bronze with Aged Gold Accents Three-Pole Torchiere, Kenroy Home, Sale Price $232
Shaded Bronze Accent Lamp, Holtkotter, Sale Price $440
Task Lighting: Finally, when you’re trying to work in a dark space, you’ll quickly realize that the overhead lights and accent lighting aren’t always enough. This is why we also installed under-cabinet lighting in the shelving unit to help illuminate this dark space for working at the computer, and to create visual interest in the cabinet itself.
These lights are small, and can be unseen, but are very useful in illuminating a direct working space. There are many styles to choose from (plug-in, direct wire, etc.). We chose a plug-in model for easy installation. Bellacor has a great selection of under-cabinet lighting to choose from.
So as you can see, lighting a room is not as easy as buying a lamp and plugging it in—especially if your space is dark. To lighten the room, you can start by picking well-illuminating paint and furniture, but it doesn’t stop there. You need to use different lighting for different activities. If paired together properly, you will have made a very functional, well-lit space.