Nashville Interiors wants to shine a little light on the vocabulary and versatility of proper lighting.

Ambient lighting requires layers of light to create a specific mood. “You want an even distribution of light throughout the room and you can accomplish that with a good placement of lamps,” says Clay Isaacs of Lumen Lamps. “Multiple light sources makes for a much more inviting room.” When Crystal Whitley of Whitley & Co. Interior Design develops a room, lighting is an essential design element. “Lighting does as much for interiors and exteriors as décor” she says. It’s amazing what shining a little light on something can do. “Lighting doesn’t merely allow us to see, but also provides character, charm, and ambiance throughout a home,” says Randy Smith with Graham’s Lighting in Franklin.

Randy Smith with Graham’s Lighting suggests installing lighting anywhere specific and detailed tasks are performed such as above a kitchen island, under cabinets to illuminate counter work space, or near a computer or craft work station. According to Whitley, functional lighting is getting a boost in new construction budgets because home owners see the value. People are also consistently opting for the energy efficiency LED bulbs. “Homeowners are going to pay more on the front end for task lighting, but they understand there are significant savings down the road when it comes to the utility bill,” she says.

Accent lighting is used to provide strategic illumination for a special work of art or other interesting architectural feature of your room. “You can accomplish a lot with lighting
to develop the drama of a space and elevate the entire room,” Whitley says. “If you want to highlight a plant or display, you do that with lighting. If you have a textured brick wall, you can grazes the surface with light.”

Decorative lighting becomes an architectural element in any room, whether the illumination comes from a vintage crystal chandelier, a repurposed, rustic sculptural light, or a fabric lamp shade. Decorative lighting adds personality to a room, and can be a cost-effective way to make a powerful statement about style. “You don’t always need a new lamp,” says Isaacs with Lumen Lamps. “Sometimes you just need a new lamp shade to elevate the room, or to bring a family heirloom into a more contemporary space.” Still, Whitley says, many clients are moving to minimal lighting. “Many of our clients often prefer canned recessed lighting over decorative fixtures,” she says. “They may opt for one significant chandelier over the dining table, but otherwise use recessed and task lights only. A trend for clean lines and less clutter have an impact on lighting choices as well as other furnishings.”