It is a top design secret — nothing can improve the look and feel of a room better than fantastic lighting. Perfectly placed pools of light and shadow can influence your moods, showcase your color scheme, and accentuate unique areas of beauty in your home. Yet, this valuable element of décor is often overlooked and misunderstood. Professional Lighting Designer Lynne Stambouly, referred to within the design community as, “The Light Lady,” has been illuminating clients on the benefits of ideal lighting for years. Here are the areas of the home where questions arise most, along with Stambouly’s solutions.
Today, more and more people are working from a home office. So, what are the top lighting tips for designing a space which is both functional and attractive within your home? It can be a challenge to provide adequate light on a computer keyboard without glare on the screen. “I recommend first lighting the space with some general lighting — and then adding an additional task light on the desk. A nice desk lamp, placed between the monitor and your hands will reduce glare,” shares Stambouly. “I find that the low-voltage smaller halogens, or some of the new LED technology, work very well in that environment. Please note that everything must be dimmable. Buying a light without a dimmer is like buying a radio without any volume control. You do not want your music on maximum volume all the time, so why would you want your lights on a fixed setting of full brightness?” continues Stambouly.
How can you create ideal lighting for entertaining family and friends at the dining table? The most flattering light is a warm, incandescent where everything looks very inviting — not only the food, but your guests as well. “When we dine, we typically prefer a lower light level. This can often pose a problem for older guests who may have difficulty seeing. One solution is to place a task light on the table (on a dimmer, of course) in addition to your overhead chandelier. This can give you more control of the lighting where you need it — and also highlight your food in a pleasing way,” shares Stambouly. In addition to entertaining and dining, people are using their dining room table as spillover workspaces, as well as spaces to indulge in hobbies and games. By having both a chandelier and some additional task lighting, you can easily create a functional and beautiful multi-purpose space.
What is the best way to properly showcase your home art collection? There are many questions that need to be addressed when you are lighting art. What type of art are you lighting — one dimensional, sculptural, or glass with translucence? Is it highly reflective? Does it have texture to it? You will also need to take into consideration the size of the art, the ceiling height, and how to best run power to that area. Stambouly stresses, “The short answer is that a lighting consultation truly is essential to evaluating those elements and making the right selection.”
When building a new home, how can you create just the right lighting in the kitchen? The right selection, location, and layering of light can be implemented during a new construction — or even in a remodel process — in order to provide the perfect light for your kitchen. You will need adequate lighting over your cooking space, but you will also need to make certain you have the correct bulbs for the high-ceiling environments which are prevalent in Southwest Florida. In addition, proper light placement is crucial in order to emphasize the beauty of your cabinetry and granite. Stambouly expounds, “First, I will say that if you are building a new home, hiring a lighting consultant will save you money. I cannot tell you how many times I have heard, ‘I wish I had hired a lighting designer when we first started’ after they are halfway into their project, and everything has already been ordered or installed in the wrong place — particularly in a kitchen.”
It is important to greet guests with an entrance that is welcoming and attractive. Tackling this challenge requires great skill and thought. When lighting an entrance, your choices should offer you a greater sense of safety while entering and exiting your home, while also focusing on creating depth and interest. Stambouly suggests, “Outdoor living doesn’t stop at the lanai, it stops at your property line. By adding landscape lighting and lanterns you can really make a huge impression.” Regarding foyer lighting, a commonly asked question is, ‘Should I hang my chandelier so that you can see it from the window on the outside of the home?’ She continues, “I always tell my clients that you should place your foyer chandelier where it works best for the interior of your home. It is not necessary to consider the exterior, because you will appreciate that fixture more from within your home.”
Lynne Stambouly is the Senior Lighting Designer for Lighting First, a family-operated business that has been serving Southwest Florida for more than a quarter of a century. On-staff electricians are licensed and insured and offer professional in-home installation. She can be reached for personalized lighting consultations via the Bonita Springs office. Visit one of their three area locations at:
4600 Tamiami Trail East, Naples
28801 South Tamiami Trail, Bonita Springs
12879 South Cleveland Avenue, Fort Myers
To schedule a lighting consultation
Written by Marci Wise
Photography provided by Lighting First