Party Architecture: #3 - Lighting

Party Architecture: #3 - Lighting

Maxwell Ryan
Dec 19, 2008

Turn down the lights
Turn up the music
Let's just be together tonight

-Neil Diamond

Turn your lights down low
And pull your window curtain
Oh let jah moon come shining in

-Bob Marley

Take it from Bob and Neil, lighting is essential when creating the right mood at your party.

In previous posts on Party Architecture, we covered Density, or having the right number of people in your space for the type of party; and Structure, or arranging your apartment so guests can mix and move. A third tenet, lighting, complements density and structure and, over the course of an evening, subtly signals where the party is heading.


Following are the two basic ideas behind proper lighting. They may seem obvious to some of you, but we find that people often forget them when the party begins.

1. Light the Zones

There should be good light at the entrance, while in the rest of the apartment the levels should be brighter at first and then dim for intimacy, dark for dancing. In the structure post we suggested that those who have the space can spread out the bar, food, music, and entrance, and arrange spaces for intimate conversation and/or dancing. Lighting should complement and shift with these areas.

2. Vary the Lighting Over Time

Restaurants with bars often do this well. As the evening goes on, the lights should go down and the music go up. One way to do this is to have candles and lights going early then turn off some lights as the party progresses.

What are your lighting tips?

-Billy Mac

Party Architecture Series

Party Architecture: #1 - Density
Party Architecture: #2 - Structure
Party Architecture: #3 - Lighting
Party Architecture: #4 - Flow

(Image: Shutterstock)

Re-Edited on 12.13.11 - MGR)
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(ReEdited from 2007-12-14 - MGR)

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