Posts Tagged ‘Mood’
The phrase “mood lighting” may call to mind romantic candlelight and a cozy fire flickering in the hearth, but really, almost all types of lighting have an impact on our moods. Using general ambient lighting to brighten a room on a cloudy day can contribute to a positive mood, just as dimming the lights in the evening can help us wind down and relax. Festive lighting can contribute to a party spirit, and utilitarian task lighting can help put us in the mood to get work done.
The keys to successful mood lighting are flexibility and control. Adding lighting in layers, utilizing three-way lamps, installing dimmer switches and having separate controls for all of your lighting sources are effective ways to achieve both. Think beyond the dimmer switch if you plan to use energy efficient lighting. While a dimmer can change the color temperature of an incandescent bulb, all it can do to an LED or CFL bulb is reduce the output. A cooler light, when dimmed, can cast light that’s as gray and depressing as a cloudy day. Opt for a warmer bulb in lighting fixtures that you plan to dim after dark.
Be selective about which lighting layers you use to create mood. Having every light on at once, at the same intensity, is not only unattractive, but also an energy drain. Try combining layers at different levels and combinations to achieve the right atmosphere. When daylight is dominant, leave accent lighting turned off, since it won’t be seen at its full impact. At dusk, turning just the ambient layer up to its highest intensity can extend the feeling of daylight and help our eyes transition from natural to artificial lighting. After the sun sets, turning down the ambient light and turning up the accent layer can create a warm, relaxed atmosphere that’s perfect for transitioning to bedtime.
More dramatic moods can be achieved by manipulating the contrast between light and shadow. Something as simple as switching from uplighting to downlighting can have a major impact on the look and feel of a room just by changing the shadows. Combinations of light add more drama and interest than uniform lighting – consider a hallway lit with narrow-beamed recessed downlights, creating pools of light that lead to a dramatically backlit object at the end of the hall.
Backlighting a sculpture or a patterned screen has a dramatically different effect than lighting it from the front, while front-lighting an interestingly shaped object casts interesting shadows on the wall behind it. The key to dramatic lighting is to downplay the ambient lighting and play up accent lights – and to not be afraid to play with shadow and contrast.