LIGHTING DESIGN – To the do-it-yourself home builder, deciding on a lighting scheme that is both functional and appealing can be a tedious and complex task.  Considerations include the amount of light needed to illuminate a room; the type of bulb and wattage required to guarantee a desired lighting effect; and trying not to compromise the cost-factor for quality and appeal.   

Fortunately, there is one common rule of design that has always proved to be effective when faced with such crucial decisions: use wall light (sconce) fixtures in general areas such as bedrooms, bathrooms and hallways, while hanging lights emphasize focal-point areas such as dinning rooms, living rooms and kitchens.

Once you have completed the installation of both your sconce and the pendant light fixtures, you may then conduct a ‘luminance test’ to see if your desired goal has been achieved, i.e. your rooms are bright enough, and you have highlighted key features.   If your ‘luminance test’ indicates that additional light is needed, you can do so by adding decorative floor and table lamps.

Selection of the right touch
Selecting the lighting style that captivates your personal style of décor can be frustrating.  “Should I opt for traditional or contemporary lighting fixtures?” will be your first big question.  Today’s lighting manufacturers attempt to relieve this particular frustration through the introduction of ‘transitional lighting’, which amalgamates a traditional finish with a contemporary lighting design.

Transitional lighting fixtures are available in both rustic-iron and polished chrome.  They are usually defined by their distinct modern design and thin edged structural frame, which is complemented further by a gorgeous, oversized lampshade that simply warms a room.  Amazingly, this new lighting category has empowered homeowners with the ability to create a lighting scheme that has a modern appeal but retains a warm, homey effect.

Truly, though, a perfect lighting design is one that is aesthetically appealing, functional and cost effective, and I recommend the ‘seamless method’ as a way of achieving this.  

First, you need to divide your lighting into two groups: general and focal-point lighting.  
Then, you need to install paintable clay wall sconces as general lighting.  I recommend a semi-circular clay sconce that will emit either (or both) upward and downward lights.  Once installed, with a little plaster the sides of the sconce can be blended into the surface of the wall.  Next, paint the sconce the same colour as the wall, which will complete the seamlessly integrated effect. Your sconce will appear as part of the wall, a projected area that emits upward or downward light.  

From an economical standpoint, the seamless method is extremely cost-effective.  A paintable, decorative clay sconce – with both upward and downward lighting – will retail for approximately $29.00.  At this cost, one should have enough financial flexibility to purchase elaborate focal-point light fixtures, preferably in a transitional lighting style that would complement your seamless lighting.