Interior decorating is an important activity, one that some may even describe as an art. Done right, it expresses the purpose of the space and can induce a variety of feelings in the people who enter it. There are a variety of features and elements that help create a finished space, all playing an important role. Of these, however, lighting is among the most important. Light gives energy, and without it all other visuals in a space are pointless.
Proper application of lighting will affect the experience of the people in its presence, both visually and emotionally. By playing with different combinations of lamp styles, brightness levels and even light colors, different effects can be achieved in terms of mood. For example, higher brightness levels in yellow tones can generate a warm, happy atmosphere. By contrast, softer lighting in whiter tones can create a cool, calm ambiance.
Of course, it is not just light itself that creates an effect. The lighting fixture itself is very important. For example, architectural lighting fixtures have the potential to be the effect themselves— they are meant to be looked at, and they are often angled in such a way that the light coming from them also appears to have a very visual effect. On the other hand, if you have interesting architectural aspects already in the space, use lighting to draw focus to them. Positioning of lights affects forms— side lighting intensifies the forms along the side of a room while front lighting will flatten it. Lighting fixtures can be used to dramatize or bring out certain desired elements of interior design, such as angles and lines, colors, patterns, textures and overall theme of the space. In other words, the lamps in your home should tie in with the other decorations and accents around the house.
Nevertheless, it is one thing to design lighting for the home, but it is entirely another design lighting for a commercial location. On average, more people will visit a commercial location, and lighting plays a huge role on visitors’ reactions. For example, the commercial lighting fixtures in a restaurant help set the tone of the restaurant and therefore can actually affect how well the business does. In fact, depending on the commercial lighting company that is the supplier, some retailers may have sections specifically catering to those seeking club or restaurant lighting fixtures. Still, special orders will often have to be made in order to achieve a unique look for the restaurant or club in question, particularly upscale ones that are known for their decoration and atmosphere just as much as what’s on their menus.
Commercial office lighting fixtures are a different story. These are found in just about every lighting store, home improvement store and even office supply stores. Nevertheless, commercial office lighting fixtures are just as important as those in other spaces as people must work under them for long hours each day. Lights should be bright to maintain energy throughout the day, but if they are too bright they can cause headaches, eye problems and other problems among office workers. Both commercial lighting fixtures that are too bright or too dark may even contribute to feelings of depression among workers.
So, to keep up office morale and maintain an atmosphere of calm energy, the commercial lighting fixtures that are installed should conform naturally to people’s activities in the office. Keep conference rooms and desks well lit, but tone down the lighting in other areas. This will save a lot of unnecessary brightness while keeping vital areas bright and energized. Lounges and areas around water coolers, for example, do not need to have lights directly on them. While overhead LED lighting that is practically flush with the ceiling is standard in most offices, try toning down the size of these lights. In addition to overhead lighting, having visible, interestingly shaped lamps here and there will entertain visually and help keep employees engaged. Some commercial lighting manufacturers have entire sections of interesting, flowing office lighting fixtures that are worth checking into.
When choosing commercial lighting fixtures and designing the desired lighting effects, be careful not to overdo it. For example, lights come in a variety of colors but those that are not in white or natural yellow tones should be kept at a minimum. After all, colored lights are used in theater to create moods and set tones for large groups of people, but these same colors are not necessarily appropriate for other settings. Used as undertones to a dominant, more natural lighting, they can be nice accents. For example, you can create a sense of warmth by using colors at the red end of the spectrum like pink, orange, red, amber and yellow. For a sense of coolness, use colors at the opposite end such as violet, blue, and green. Overall, however, colors should be kept at a minimum when it comes to restaurants, stores, offices or other non-theatrical venues. For example, blue, blue green and green can have a negative effect by taking away from the human complexion. This is fine if you are creating a haunted house, but not necessarily for more professional locations.
Commercial outdoor lighting, however, is very different from indoor lighting because of the natural lighting that exists for most of the day. Still, many businesses don’t close once the sun goes down, and even on cloudy days outdoor lighting may become necessary. Commercial exterior lighting fixtures come in a wide variety of path and area lights, LED lights, flood and well lights, deck lights, step lights, hanging lamps, outdoor table lamps, spotlights and more. When selecting the right ones for your business, make sure the outside corresponds nicely with the inside. In a restaurant, for example, going from outdoor seating areas to indoor ones should feel almost seamless rather than like going between two different worlds. Like indoor lighting, outdoor restaurant should never be too bright. Instead, use warm hues and medium brightness levels to create an inviting atmosphere.