Lighting: The Jewelry Of Design

Posted on | December 14, 2011 | No Comments

It can be said that lighting is the jewelry of design. It adds warmth and dimension to a space, illuminating its best features. To find out how lighting brings a home to life, we spoke to Carter Skinner, a Raleigh architectural designer.

NCD: How do you use lighting to showcase the best aspects of a home?

CS: I place lighting in spots that highlight architectural features like archways, ceilings and room entrances as well as design details like bookshelves or seating areas. If the homeowners have collectibles or artwork they’d like to display, I highlight those as well.

Images Courtesy of Carter Skinner Residential Design

NCD: So, what are the different types of lighting a home needs?

There are three main types of lighting. You have ambient lighting, which is lighting that illuminates a room; accent lighting, which highlights individual design and architectural features; and task lighting, which serves a single functional purpose.

NCD: How does the type of lighting you would use to accent an art piece differ from the lighting you would use in a dining or living room?

CS: Halogen lights cast a very pure white light, which makes them ideal for bringing out all of the amazing details and rich colors in artwork. But halogen isn’t useful say, for a dining room. It would make the meal look incredible, but the diners would look pale and washed out. Track lighting works well for ambient lighting, but I personally prefer good old-fashioned pendant lamps, as there is more opportunity to add character.

Images Courtesy of Carter Skinner Residential Design

NCD: How do you give homeowners the emotional impact they’re looking for, while still keeping things functional?

CS: I use a process called layering, which is a strategic placement of different lighting types in a single space so that all of the homeowners’ needs are met. I also take into account the needs of specific rooms; a bedroom, which is a private space, is going to need more intimate lighting than a public space like a living room. I also design around the availability of natural light. I think about which rooms people are likely to be in at a specific time of day, and design the lighting around how much sunlight will be available. As far as the emotional impact of lighting; every home has a different feel and different features, and I use my intuition to capture and reflect its true character.

Based in Raleigh, the architecture of Carter Skinner Residential Design is a response to the site, the surroundings and the vision of each client.

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