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Space Planning and Light

Space Planning and Light in Interior Design

 

Before digging deeper into space planning and light, it’s important to understand two of the Elements of Interior Design, Light & Space.

Space is one of the seven imperative elements and building blocks of interior design. Space encompasses all into one entity. Whatever your project, consider any living space as a whole, the entire volume. Design, re-design or decorate your space with a holistic approach. And, take into account your own and your fellow occupants’ wellbeing.

Moreover, joining Space, are all the other design elements. These are line, shape, colour, pattern, texture and light and they all combine. They take hands as a team, as a close band of brothers. All within any space or area, to form an entity.

 

Be sure to check out this article about Small Space Interior Design if you haven’t already.

 

Sunny small dining room

Sunny small dining room

 

Light is Vital for any Interior Space

 

Shadow and light reflection from a glass

Shadow & light reflection from a glass

 

Mr Light is an element that involves two distinct aspects. That is natural and artificial light which we have to study and work with, in an interior. Certainly, light is the means through which we can observe our surroundings. Light is a very powerful tool. To clarify, we can totally transform the feeling of a space by changing the colour, intensity and placement of light. We tend to think of lighting in terms of artificial light. However, it is important to optimally utilise natural light. Above all, we need to exploit it in terms of practical use and to acknowledge the beauty of a space.

 

Dramatic light patterns in room

Dramatic light patterns in a room

 

Importantly, consider both artificial and natural light when creating an interior design from scratch. Also, when working with an existing scheme, one can do a lot to make improvements. Light is obviously essential for safety, security and to easily perform specific tasks. Further, light can give the impression of pattern, texture, movement and colour.

Like Space is a designer’s canvas, Light is the designer’s aid in creating shadow, highlights, contrast, movement and interest. That is to say, light can be a strong, theatrical decorative element in any interior setting.

 

Artistic light and shadow pattern

Artistic light and shadow pattern

 

How to Exploit Light in Interior Design 

 

Light can be a purely decorative element. For instance, it can cast shadows on even surfaces, or brighten a feature wall. It can create illusions and interest. Also, light can illuminate a ceiling to create a sense of spaciousness. How we use reflective materials and windows holds a lot of potential for natural light. Light unlocks the awareness and perception of space. A lighter space just seems more open and expansive. Usually. Do you agree?

 

Light and bright small bathroom with light pattern and interesting shadows

A light, bright small bathroom with interesting shadows

 

Firstly, one must evaluate how much natural light is visible within an area. Consider the orientation of the walls with windows. Notice if the interior space has north, east, south, or western light. Or, does the room have little natural light available?

As the angle of the sun changes throughout the day, the traits of natural light fluctuate in an interior space. The intensity and angle of sunlight also differ between winter and summer. Importantly, this assessment is one of our starting points. The availability of natural light in an interior leads and limits many essential design choices.

 

A light pattern in the room is formed by a patterned screen outside

A light pattern in the room is formed by a patterned screen outside

 

Space Planning with Natural & Artificial Light

 

The direction of light affects space planning and the placement of art, furniture and other objects. For example, direct, late afternoon sunlight glaring on the television or computer screen is not ideal. However, this type of light can also be beneficial in creating dramatic shadow effects. Artificial light can neutralise this sort of light if the shadows impose on your tasks.

 

Home office with natural light entering at an angle - space planning consideration

Home office with natural light entering at an angle

 

It doesn’t matter what climate you live in. Consider the quality of available light for an interior space along with its reflecting colours. This is vital when deciding on what finishes and colours you want to use. Above all, consider this when doing your space planning. Moreover, study how shadows fall when planning furniture placement and colour application.

Also, consider light and shadows during daytime and night-time. In other words, study natural light and artificial light and the need thereof. Importantly, this is part of the information guiding your project path.

 

Clever space planning: Room with dark walls and light, reflective materials and angled light

Room with dark walls and light, reflective materials and angled light

 

How Light Falls Where

 

The curve of light directly from and facing the equator, tend to not reach so deeply into an interior space. In a north-south exposure, the sun tends to rise and set in a higher curve overhead. Therefore, in a north-south orientation, it is likely that there are fewer sharp slants of light. As a result, the natural light in a room with this position is more consistent throughout the day. Although there may be fewer fading and dark corners, there may also be fewer theatrical moments.

A room facing away from the equator will naturally be darker and cooler. In other words, a south-facing room in the southern hemisphere, and a north-facing room in the northern hemisphere.

 

Clever space planning and light application; sitting room; separate conversations spots; daytime lighting in shady room

Small cosy space planning; sitting room with separate conversation spots; daytime lighting in a shady room

 

 

Shadow of plant creating beautiful pattern on wall

Shadow of a plant creating a beautiful pattern on a wall

 

Planning and Designing a Space with Little Natural Light Available

 

It may be necessary to treat a room as such with aiding daytime artificial lighting effects. Also, there may be a need for more stress on a dramatic arrangement of items in this type of room. The same may apply to rooms facing east or west when the sun is shining in the opposite direction of the window orientation. Not to fret, for this may be an advantage depending on the climate and use of the room.

 

Skylight and light, reflective surfaces in a kitchen; good space planning

Skylight and light, reflective surfaces in a kitchen

 

There are infinite inspired strategies to deal with equalising and deploying natural light. One can turn what seems like a drawback into a striking positive thru lateral thinking that expresses creativity. That is to say, the angle of a room and lighting are both matters where one can explore inventive solutions. Don’t be afraid to approach a problem in another way and see how you can turn it into something delightful.

 

DeLIGHTful little corner with table, chairs and plants - space planning and light

De-LIGHT-ful little corner

 

Draw on Natural Light during Daytime

 

Each orientation has its own rewards and shortcomings. It is part of creative practice to spot the snags and abolish them. After that, exploit the dramatic likelihood that the value of light in a space offer. There are tactics you can use to array natural light and diversify effects in a space. For example, use mirrors and other reflective material, clerestory windows, light wells or skylights. These aids are especially effective in small spaces.

 

Light shining through skylights brightens up dark stairway

Light shining through skylights brightens up an otherwise dark stairway

 

Clerestory windows for natural light plus aiding artificial light sources and reflective surfaces

Clerestory windows for natural light plus aiding artificial light sources and reflective surfaces

 

Window in sloped roof of cosy bedroom

Window in the sloped roof of a cosy bedroom

 

When, for instance, you want to utilise a tiny attic room, consider fitting a glass skylight. As a result, it will eliminate the “camping” and cramped feeling of a sloping roof. This will make even the tiniest attic room seem spacious. Also, professional installation may be well worth the cost.

 

Lovely bright light shining through skylights and round window in an attic room - space planning

Lovely bright light shining through skylights and round window in an attic room

 

Lovely light effects can change a space and influence your furniture layout and other planning.

Importantly, once again, assess the quality and constraints of natural light in a raw space. Then, you will be able to know what you can and must do to achieve the design goals you desire.

On the other hand, artificial light has no limits. The value of artificial light sources can be controlled. To clarify, it can be as bright and clear as the morning light, or as warm and soft as the light at sundown. One can also decrease or increase the intensity of light by using a dimmer switch. A spotlight can highlight an object, or dispersed light can subtly glow around architectural detail.

 

Daytime lighting - impressive light anchors the sitting area

Daytime lighting – impressive light anchors the sitting area

 

There are many ways to produce excitement and drama. Especially in rooms that may have less of a light benefit at daytime.

Lamp creating beautiful shadows complementing the wallpaper

Lamp creating beautiful shadows complementing the wallpaper

 

Some spaces have remarkable views day and night. However, even a high-rise balcony or plain suburban lawn can become a lovely sight or focal point. For instance, exploit wall washer lights and spotlights. Also, carefully and cleverly plan the placement of objects.

 

A light creating a theatrical pattern on the wall

A light creating a theatrical pattern on the wall

 

What does one perceive in a properly lit room? Ceilings or walls washed with a glow of light and radiant lamps behind softening shades. Moreover, one sees light splashes which emphasizes detail and interesting items. Also, one may notice fascinating patterns of light cast across objects, walls and floors. Meanwhile, these patterns can provide humour, dimension and mystery. It can let the viewer see something exciting not visible with natural light only.

 

Light and shadow patterns formed by lanterns

Light and shadow patterns formed by lanterns

 

Lantern light cast shadows to create depth and drama

Lantern light cast shadows to create depth and drama

 

Daytime lighting in dark, cosy corner

Daytime lighting in dark, cosy corner

 

How one exploits light in a small and shady space, is quite important.

As mentioned before, keep in mind that one can utilise artificial lighting during the day in shady rooms. The choice of paint colour and other items in the room is also important. In addition, it is important to consider including reflective surfaces in your scheme.

Perhaps you want to paint the far-off wall in a small, shady room a flat or matt charcoal teal or midnight blue. But this may not be the best use of a feature wall. Certainly, don’t do this if it is only because it matches a chair fabric. Or, just because you like the colour. This will only close in the room and make it look shadier and darker.

However, try painting the same wall, with a warm, off-white reflective paint. This will ensure all-out light reflection with a warm and sunny result. You can still add your favourite darker or cooler colours in different ways, like accents. For example, add pops of these colours throughout pieces of wall art on that same off-white accent wall. Then, emphasise the arrangement with spotlights.

 

Warm light and comfy, cuddly textured fabric in a shady room

Warm light and comfy, cuddly textured fabric in a shady room

 

Dramatic natural and artificial light

Dramatic natural and artificial light

 

I truly hope this inspired you

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Check out the useful pointers in this FREE Decorating on a Budget WORKBOOK! These will help guide your planning choices. Also, it will help you determine what outcome a job requires. It’s especially handy when working with a tight budget!

 

One Comment

  1. […] Be sure to check out this post for tips on how you can utilise light in a small space.  […]

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