Setting the right mood for any occasion or time of day is easy if you have the right lighting. And there's good news on that front: There are many types and intensities of lighting to help create the right mood.
Whether you work from home and need to get things done efficiently with little distraction, or you're throwing a party for the neighbors -- knowing how to use and diffuse light will help you achieve the right vibe for any occasion.
For entertaining friends...
To set an inviting tone for your gatherings and parties, go with brighter light that's focused on points of interest around your home and dimmer on you and your guests -- interesting artwork, plants, and novel architectural details are some examples.
You don't want your guests to feel like they're being spotlighted, so make sure you turn off any bright overhead lights and angle your light fixtures directly at a point of interest (or purchase fixtures for this purpose).
If you're feeling adventurous, try colored lighting or experiment with some different shades that produce different shades and intensities of light.
Here's a little-known tip: Lighting in office buildings is usually in the 6500K range -- comparable to sunlight. You can boost productivity at home by using bulbs in this range. Just look for 'daylight' or '6500K' on the box!
Use secondary lighting while you work to keep your energy levels up. Keep your general lighting on, and point your second source -- a lamp, book light, etc. -- right at your current task. Halogen bulbs are great for secondary light sources because they show colors better than most other forms of light.
You can find fixtures that coordinate with your existing décor, and contrary to popular belief, they don't all have to match: Lumen's Quoizel notes that unexpected, "mismatched" lighting touches are a great way to shake things up. "The finishes and styles don't have to match. Push the envelope and add the unexpected." -Penny Francis, Eclectic Home.
Once you've got that loving feeling, not much can stand in your way, but throw some too-bright lights in the mix, and things can feel a little stage-like. For romance, stick to the stereotype and go with dim, indirect light.
If you already have a dimmer switch, now is the time to put it to use!
Have some time to prep beforehand? Try decorating the room with warm colors and using warm, soft light instead of bright, white light. Drape printed fabrics and scarves over light sources to add mystery to your all-too-familiar environment. Bonus points if you light some candles!
Wondering why warmer tones are suggested? They naturally make lines and imperfections less obvious and lend a charming glow to the occasion. So, dim those lights to make your evening shine!
For a private escape...
Watching movies, taking a nice hot bubble bath, or meditating to get away from the real world for a while are crucial breaks we need in order to restore ourselves for the everyday grind. Making your own space can be fun, especially in a room that not many people will see.
Turn your bathroom, multimedia room, or even a corner of your bedroom into a private haven for rejuvenation. Use bold colors and colored lighting to highlight certain aspects of the space or soften them instead.
For example, adding a soft light around the edge of the bathtub could create a spa-like feel and using bold accent lighting in the TV room could make it feel like a real movie theater.
Deciding on the right lighting fixtures and light intensities can be tricky, but there are so many options to choose from that finding the right style mostly rests on your search process. The choice is yours when it comes to designing mood lighting, but be sure to consider the needs of everyone who will be using the space. There's a time for bright light, a time for dim light, and anything else in between. The only question is: what are you in the mood for today?