Home Lighting Design is Often the Most Critical Element in Designing a Dream

DENVER, CO – If you walk into the new or remodeled supermarkets cropping up all over town you’ll see a palpable difference in the look and feel of the place, the ambiance – and it’s all designed to make you feel better and enhance your shopping experience. Yes, there are still aisles displaying food stuffs and hard goods, but the mood of the places has been softened and warmed. There’s less of a warehouse look, and especially in the produce department the displays are more inviting and the colors are more earthy.

But the major difference? It’s the lighting. Gone are the over-bright, ceiling-mounted fluorescent lights, and in are pendant lights, task lighting and accent lights, all with a warm glow.

This is no accident, and the trend toward better lighting treatments in all sorts of environments, from supermarkets and throughout retail, to office space, restaurants and entertainment venues, has been elevated from a necessity to an art.

Nowhere is this more important than in the home, however. Here at Chase Custom Homes we have discovered in the design and preparation of the custom homes we build that lighting is a key concern, taking up far more time than other home design features costing much more money. Homeowners looking to build their dream home have very particular perspectives on the lighting they desire in their new homes, and they often send us to other homes, hotels and, yes, even supermarkets, to see a lighting treatment that struck their fancy. Indeed, lighting plays such an important role in modern homes that when we discuss a home-building project with prospective architects, we specifically check their credentials, experience and portfolio as it relates to lighting to ensure they understand what is required and can deliver on the dream.

Lighting, of course, is a basic necessity in any home to see in the dark and provide for security, but it doesn’t have to be bare-bones overheads, lamps and porch lights – not anymore. There are four main kinds of lighting to consider, and each has its applications in every room of the house. Lighting designers – and yes, home lighting these days is so sophisticated that there are specific designers for that – talk of lighting in “layers,” with each different kind working together to create an overall effect. The four main groups of lighting are:

• Ambient. Ambient lighting is the basic lighting of a room or space, the general illumination that any rooms requires.

• Task. Task lighting highlights a particular area for the task at hand, such as pendant lights over a kitchen counter, work desk or sink.

• Accent. Accent lighting is used to highlight or accent features of the home, like architectural assets such as fireplaces, art work, or outdoors even a garden arbor or fountain.

• Decorative. Decorative lighting serves many functions, as it accents, and provides task and ambient lighting, but it is intended to be a focal point in and of itself. Think wall-mounted sconces in a hallway, or chandeliers in a dining area.

What is important is the right mix of light and types of light layers, to give each room in the home the ambiance desired as well as the functionality required. For instance, a kitchen may feature an overhead light to provide broad functionality when preparing a large meal, and the overhead light fixture can also be quiet decorative. A kitchen, however, may also feature recessed can lights in the ceiling to provide broad-spectrum ambient lighting or focused for counter-top task lighting, and many people these days are using highly decorative pendant lights for additional task lighting. Pendant lights come in many beautiful designs, and can have regular light bulbs or very specific LCD spot lights in varying sizes that are decorative in their own right.

And don’t forget the old stand-by: track lighting. Track lighting is a very popular choice, and in today7’s market the types of fixtures available are highly decorative. These types of fixtures can be used for overall ambient lighting and task lighting to multiple locations, and they often offer the added benefit of being flexible, meaning they can be moved on the track or on a swivel to serve several lighting needs.

We also see a lot of attention to little details in home lighting from our clients, such as the aforementioned sconces in hallways and stairways, but also accent lighting built into the molding on the tops of walls that warms a room and provides safety in passageways. We even have clients who incorporate aquariums into their lighting design, to provide for a special and interesting lighting solution and window between rooms for instance.

Of course, all of this and more also applies to outdoor lighting solutions, which not provide ambient, decorative, accent and task lighting for patios, gardens and lawns, but also provide a level of security for properties that is quickly becoming the standard for new homes.

Two other key considerations in any home lighting design are lighting controls and the “green” issue.

Beyond the lighting and the fixtures themselves, you want to make sure the controls for the lighting – the switches – are conveniently located and easy to operate. Dimmers give many of the fixtures the ability to go from loud and cheery to dark and romantic with ease. A plus is that today’s lighting designers have taken into account to look, feel and location of the switches so they can be hidden and easily accessed, or out in the open and highly decorative themselves.

The “green” issue is the electrical use this lighting design will demand, particularly in outdoor lighting which is designed to be on all night long. The incorporation of CFL (compact fluorescent lighting) and LCD lights, both of which use far less energy and generate less heat than traditional bulbs can mean that a vibrant, full home lighting system will use a fraction of the energy that the old lamps and overheads used. And modern technology in these types of light sources is delivering a broad spectrum of light choices, so you can create any mood desired without sacrificing energy savings.

Lighting is key to elevating the home into the cozy retreat many people envision. Done right and any mood can be created, any task undertaken and every security need met – all beautifully.

At Chase Custom Homes we are amazed on every new project how beautiful the lighting designs can be, and how far technological and aesthetic advances have come – and continue to go – as it r4elates to home lighting applications. In fact, the lighting in our projects is so integral to the home that many customers say the beauty of their new custom home comes to life – to “light” – even more in the evening and at night when the lights are on.

To find out more about home lighting design and the full wealth of services we offer in custom home building, contact Chase Custom Homes at 303-204-9254. A Chase Custom Home is an address for a lifetime.