Some light workPublished on August 8, 2011

  • (Stock image)

The quickest way to add real drama to your interior spaces is through the thoughtful use of artificial lighting. Much more than just an aid to vision, artificial lighting helps us set the right mood in any space.

Decorators normally think about three different types of artificial lighting.

The first is "general lighting", which provides the main overall illumination in a room. Often this is provided by one or more central, ceiling light fittings, but it's great to get creative and mix things up a bit.

An important thing to remember, though, is your general lighting shouldn't cause any glare, reflections or hard shadows, as these can be very tiring on the eyes.

Next, there's "task lighting" such as desk lamps, reading lamps or under-cabinet lighting in a kitchen. This is light with a purpose, helping you complete specific activities.

Task lighting should be positioned right where the action is, such as a side table in a reading nook and, when sitting, the bottom of the lamp shade should be just above eye level to minimize glare.

Finally we have "decorative lighting," the real drama-queen of the lighting world. This is lighting that is there with the specific purpose of making your home beautiful.

You can use decorative lighting to draw attention to a painting or sculpture, to highlight an architectural feature ... anything to add that dramatic touch to your room.

A great lighting scheme will include all of these different types, carefully layered together to make an attractive whole.

As Ruby Rose Wood once said, "where there is no light, there is no beauty". How else can you change the mood of your room at the flick of a switch?

Thanks for reading, and speak soon.


Graham is the owner of Blueberry Interiors. You can keep up with him here at Ottawa at Home, on Twitter by following @grahamcowen, or you can reach him directly at

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