Layering Lighting for a Flattering Effect

Layering Lighting for a Flattering Effect

Kim Lucian
Apr 6, 2012

I have a confession to make, if you step into my apartment and attempt to flip a switch on the wall nothing will happen 90% of the time. Seriously, nothing. You may in fact have trouble locating said switch, a few are tucked away behind artwork and the like.

Why? Well for one I unscrewed the bulbs in nearly every overhead fixture in the place shortly after I moved in. I did this because I am vain and you are lazy. Direct overhead lighting is the worst. It's one of the least flattering options available, add fluorescent bulbs and the issue is compounded. While my preference would be to bathe the place in daylight at all times it isn't always an option.

Layering lighting takes a bit of forethought but with strategic placement you can create a sense of ambiance, a more flattering glow and hi-light the things you really love. Start with the broader light sources: pendants and chandeliers are a good option or place your recessed lighting on a dimmer. Next add task lighting to the areas you use most: a floor lamp in a reading nook and desk lamps anywhere that could use a bit of extra illumination. Finally, use accent lighting for areas you want to draw attention to: picture lights, a light perched atop a vignette or over the bar.

The catch is I've find that even with this all effort, I or anyone entering the room naturally reaches for the nearest switch. Which is why none of them work. No one has even blinked at this, just walked over to the nearest lamp and flipped the switch.

(Image Patrick J. Hamilton/Lloyd & Michael's Happy Place)

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