Why is lighting important?
Lighting is important because we rely heavily on what we see, and what we see affects what we do. Brightness, color, and size are the 3 main factors to keep in mind when considering proper lighting. Proper lighting, whether in residential, industrial, or office settings, makes every work task easier. For instance, diffused/filtered lighting helps reduce eye fatigue or headaches and can prevent workplace accidents and/or hazards. On the other hand, an intense glare from lights can cause irritation and reduce the ability to see. These factors do not only apply to us, but to objects as well. Ever wonder why the exact same object, no matter how big or small, looks good at one location but not at the other? The most common answer is the lighting, which is dependent on its brightness.
As for the color, there are 2 kinds of white lighting: warm and cool lighting. Warm is more orange / yellow (2,700-3,000) kelvin temperature, while cool is more white / blue (3,000 – 5,000) kelvin temperature. Warm Lighting tends to be established in residential settings to welcome residents (homey, cozy, and relaxing). Cool Lighting is usually placed in commercial and industrial settings because they require better lighting to increase productivity and workflow.
Last, the size of the lighting and the light fixture itself communicates with people on where to go, which is known as wayfinding. For example, in the image to the right, this reception area has linear surface-mounted light fixtures over the hallway which leads people to a large conference space. Another example would be pendant lighting, which brings the focal point to the reception desk. It is important to remember that the size has to be correct in order to achieve a balanced look and clear wayfinding.
Overall, lighting and fixtures are more than just decor: they set the tone of a space and affect our ability to work, relax, and anything else in between. The next time you’re looking to change your lighting, keep these tips in mind when selecting your design.
Daniel Moreno is a design intern at SR/A Interior Design. He is a graduate student at George Washington University and will complete his MFA in Interior Architecture in spring 2019.