Lynn Wyndham Morris IIDA, Allied Member ASID, AIA, NKBA, USGBC
Director of Communication, ASID
A Touch of Tradition Home & Garden Shoppe
7313 Carroll Road, Suite D
760-633-4474 or 619-669-8871
Lynn Morris is the principal designer for A Touch of Tradition Home & Garden Shop (TOT-HOME), a full-service design studio, and furnishings, lighting, fabrics, window coverings and accessory shop.
Lighting is a major element of interior design. Layering ambient, task and accent lighting is one of the best ways to highlight your interior and add function and aesthetics at the same time. Accent lighting is the layer that can effectively emphasize unique elements of your home from fireplaces to artwork and everything in between. Here are six easy accent-lighting tips:
Use a picture light to draw attention to a favorite portrait or art. It can be battery operated and attached directly to the frame or wall-mounted, drawing power from a nearby outlet. Hide the cord by using either wire molds for simplicity, placing receptacles into the wall behind the art or wiring the lights to a switch.
Attaching plug-in or battery-operated puck lights on shelves can change the profile of a room. A previously dark wall of books can become a perimeter feature with clip-on lights and under-shelf pucks. Use LED and fluorescent lights rather than halogen lights as they are cooler burning — and therefore safer — and last longer.
In- or under-cabinet lighting
Do you have glass doors in kitchen or bath cabinets? Add energy-efficient and long-life LED puck lights to the interior and create a wonderful effect. When you turn off all other room lights, these puck lights can serve as mood lighting, can be left on as a nightlight and can even be used as general lighting when you pop in to get a cup of tea. To highlight a decorative backsplash, add fluorescent or LED strip lights under cabinets. You can hardwire them to a switch or plug them in to your existing outlets. For best countertop illumination, place them toward the front. Low-profile fixtures don't require light rails to conceal them.
For drama, place an up light behind a plant or piece of furniture. Highlight a dark corner, the underside of an antique or throw light on a ceiling feature. These can be freestanding plug-in fixtures or hard-wired rope lights. A large armoire positioned in the corner of a room with an up light illuminating from behind creates depth. The light emanating from the rear creates a frame, highlighting the furniture. Do you have a water feature? Add light from below and it will take center stage; the reflection of light upon the water is especially theatrical — as well as romantic.
Whether you want to light a dark hallway, flank a fireplace, or add mood light to your dining room, wall sconces are the perfect solution. The most durable and enduring sconce lights are those that are installed and use switches, but you can use candle sconces with real or flameless candles, too. A benefit of wall-mounted sconces is to make rooms appear taller, and they can be used in low-ceiling rooms when other fixtures won't fit.
It's easy to incorporate energy savings to your accent-lighting plan with dimmer switches that allow for precise use, and bulbs — including fluorescent and light-emitting diodes (LEDs) — that offer high-quality light with low-energy consumption.