Lighten up, you’re in Mexico

Make your home here welcoming by working with ambient, accent and task lighting

Lighting
Photo: Courtesy
Lighting
Photo: Courtesy

Last week, I wrote about different types of lights and sources of light. This week, let’s focus on putting them together so that your home in Mexico will be relaxing, comforting and stress-reducing.

First, when placing lighting fixtures, it is essential to remember that there is a difference between useful and aesthetic.

For example, having a large reading lamp behind or beside your favorite spot on the sofa is primarily useful. Having a lamp on either side of your bed in your master bedroom is useful and aesthetic.

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When you are in the planning stages of furnishing your home, it is a good idea to identify not only where you want light, but also whether you need it to be useful, aesthetic or both.

For task rooms, such as the laundry room, closets or storage areas, your best bet is task lighting such as recessed or pot lights.

For all other rooms, a combination of ambient, task and accent lighting working together will create a fantastic effect.

Interior designers use this approach to take a room from good to great: They use at least three different sources of light in every room. This creates multiple levels of interest and focus.

In a dining room, in addition to a chandelier, add a couple of lamps to the buffet and a spotlight over a painting. In a living room, consider a low-set ceiling fixture, a table lamp, a floor lamp and two wall sconces. This approach will give you options to create drama when you have guests over for dinner and switch to useful lighting for during the day.

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Always start your plan by selecting ambient lighting, layer on accent lighting and then add task lighting.    

A few other tips about lighting: Most recessed or track lighting comes out of the box with wide flood light bulbs. Replace them with medium and narrow flood light bulbs and spotlights to create a mood. Take one of the spotlights and shine it on a chair, décor items or artwork.

The bulb, not the size of the lamp, is what determines how much light is cast. Opaque or dark shades allow light to shine down on a table rather than out to light the entire room.

Whenever you can, opt for dimmers because they give you the most flexibility to change the mood you want to create in your room.

For those not sure about light bulb types, here are some options and guidelines: Halogen is perfect for spotlights. LED lighting is best for task lighting, and compact fluorescent bulbs are best for table and floor lamps. Remember that the higher the Kelvin rating, the whiter and brighter the light will be. Between 2,500 and 3,500 will produce a pleasant mood.

Sheryl Novak is an expat from Canada who sells furniture throughout Mexico. Request a free catalog at furniture@solutionsmexico.com.

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