An amazing gourmet meal uses fresh ingredients prepared beautifully to wow your palate. But mouthwatering cuisine usually has another trick up its sleeve too: salt. A little bit of seasoning has an incredible effect on flavor, intensifying and clarifying it. That’s exactly what light fixtures do for your home’s decor and furniture. Lighting enhances colors and textures in a space, bringing to life your favorite styles: modern, retro, traditional, vintage and others. At Pottery Barn, we have tons of different styles to cater to your personal tastes and design vision, from eclectic floor lamps to immaculate chandeliers. What is it about all lighting that affects a room so much? How can you decide what kind of light fixture fits your space the best? Check out our 411 on lighting for some ideas.
Believe it or not, light actually has a psychological effect on people; the human brain responds to different kinds of light automatically, usually producing an emotional response. Lighting can make you feel happy, relaxed, safe or excited. This can happen anywhere; a bright blue sky almost always puts a smile on your face, and candlelight usually creates a restful and sleepy sensation. Scientists aren’t exactly sure why your brain responds the way it does to light, but you can still take advantage of the effect to give each room of your house the vibe you want.
Mood isn’t the only thing that light fixtures let you play around with, of course. Did you know that a bright white room seems larger to most people? Light fixtures are a great way to create a spacious feel in your living room. Lighting brings artwork into focus, directing attention to the centerpiece in a room. Interestingly, people almost always follow the more illuminated areas when walking through a space. That makes it easier to give your home the flow you want, and decide where you want to entertain, dine and relax. In an open concept dining room, that helps to create cozy islands throughout.
One thing to consider when picking out lighting is how much light intensity you’re looking for. What’s the difference? Bright lights tend to feel energetic, positive, clean, modern and invigorating. They put a spring into your step, give you awesome ideas, boost your imagination and concentration, and pretty much just get your day – especially with a great cup of coffee– off to an awesome start. This kind of light fixture probably has a clear glass cover or a shade with lots of openings to let light escape freely. It’s ambience to the max.
Low-intensity lighting has the opposite – but still very positive – effect. It slows down your heart rate, gets you in the mood to relax, helps you let go of any of the day’s stress and promotes a good night’s sleep too. A little bit of warmth and shade make the room feel intimate, like a space you’re happy to share with your best friends and close family members. That’s awesome in a family-style dining room or when laughing around with people you love. It can also create a romantic ambience in your bedroom or ensuite bath, especially if you have a fireplace or some fragrant decor to go along with it.
Of course, you don’t need to be a scientist to pick out the lighting you like. Decorating is an art you feel inside. Trust your instincts when looking at other details like the size, color and shape of a light fixture. Simple lines and uniform lighting works great in modern designs. For something vintage, golden metals and anything pendant – like a Paris-inspired chandelier – makes a chic first impression. Looking for an artistic flair instead? Go with distinctive contours and expressive accents like black metal or colored glass. Bedside table lamps and wood chandeliers give country styles a rustic and charming warmth.