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Lighting Design

Host Joan Kohn visits with lighting design experts Mary Beth Gotti and Michael Eberle to learn about the important elements of lighting design for the master suite.

  • Consider using a certified lighting designer, who will work closely with the architect to create the most effective lighting that can be incorporated into and highlight the architecture of your rooms.
  • Lighting should provide maximum function and set the mood of the room. This is done with three types of lighting: general, task and accent. General lighting provides overall illumination for the perimeter of the room; task lighting is focused lighting used to illuminate or highlight a specific area or function; and accent lighting provides color, design and ambiance. For the best results, these three types of lighting should be layered in a space.

  • The first step in designing good lighting is to analyze all the tasks that will be performed in an area: reading, grooming, clothes selection, etc.
  • Avoid using a single overhead light, which creates a cave-like effect.
  • Lighting vertical spaces adds drama and makes the room feel more spacious. A wall sconce can also serve as a visual cue and point of interest.
  • The color and temperature of the lighting should be considered. Traditional rooms work well with typical incandescent bulbs, which give a warm, yellowish glow. Halogen light, which is clear and clean looking, and fluorescent light, which can be blue or full spectrum, work well in contemporary settings.
  • Shadow-free lighting in the bathroom is critical for hygiene routines. Lighting the face from the sides at the vanity sinks provides excellent shadow-free task illumination.

  • The most important task lighting in the bedroom is generally for reading. This type of light can be achieved with wall-mounted lamps, bedside lamps, floor lamps or recessed lights.
  • Fluorescent lights provide long life and energy efficiency. Bulbs come in a variety of shapes and colors and need to be changed only every few years.

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