Now that the clock has “fallen back” out of Daylight Saving Time, we’ve gained an extra hour of sleep. With the shift, there’s a chill in the air and the light has changed significantly — both inside and out of our homes. While we crave more light this time of year, late fall is also the perfect opportunity to create a sense of warmth with a few lighting tricks. We can leverage our lighting schemes in ways that create both ambiance and comfort, not to mention efficiency.
Dimmers and Light Bulbs
Without Daylight Saving Time, more artificial light is required in our homes. Dimmer switches — which we recommend to clients for every room, no matter the season — are a great way to not only control the light level, but the amount of electricity being used, as well.
Light is directly related to mood, especially during the winter months. However, bright lights 24/7 are not going to improve anyone’s attitude. Dimming the light softens the environment, creating a real sense of coziness and warmth. CFL light bulbs and incandescent bulbs offer the most warmth in tone, but you may want to consider better task lighting, too. Even LED light bulbs can run on a dimmer, giving you the intensity you need to accomplish tasks and the warmth you want when the work is complete.
During winter, you will want to maximize the light captured during daylight hours. Consider swapping out draperies that kept the room cool and dark all summer for sheer or gauzy panels that let more of that light in, while maintaining some privacy. Simply add a lightweight panel behind your existing draperies. This will keep warmth in when both the panel and the sheer are drawn, but allow you the option to let the light in — while it’s available — by simply drawing the sheer. Fall and winter are also a great time to shake up your furniture by relocating your seating arrangement closer to the natural light.
What gives more ambiance and warmth than a little candle light? Candles make a great design element due to their stylish containers and comforting fragrance, but they go “next level” when actually lit. During the winter months, a candlelit dinner or even a cozy evening on the couch with some secondary lighting from candles can immediately transport us to a warmer state of mind.
Under-cabinet lighting is a very efficient and effective design addition, regardless of the time of year. In fact, LED light bulbs mounted under cabinets may be the most versatile layer of lighting you can incorporate into your space. Whether you’re mounting a fixture, installing a simple puck light, or having a little fun with an LED strip, this is a lighting option you will want to consider for your winter plan.
Under-cabinet placement makes for great accent lighting that adds to the sense of intimacy in a space. We love the look in the bathroom, where we often install toe-kick LED lighting in base cabinets. It makes for great night lighting, illuminates your walking path and also allows you to feel like you’re experiencing an evening at the spa rather than at home.
Lamps and Accent Lighting
Table and floor lamps are a very efficient form of lighting in their own way. They’re versatile in terms of their aesthetic and work triple duty during the fall and winter months. Lamps can serve as great task lighting for reading or desk work, but can also add a sense of coziness as the ambient light source in the room. If you incorporate the use of three-way light bulbs, you will gain the control you need while creating the mood you’re striving for. Accent lighting, in general, helps to create a sense of intimacy and drama that warms the space and the mood instantly.
A fireplace is the ultimate home accessory in terms of efficiency and ambiance. You may not use a crackling fire to read by, but you can’t deny the mood a roaring fire creates, whether it’s you and your partner relaxing on the couch, the whole family enjoying movie night, or an evening of hot cocoa with friends. Today’s fireplace inserts feature such sophisticated heating and venting systems that your fireplace really can become a part of a more efficient and less expensive energy plan.
We’d love to hear your tips for making the most of the waning natural light this winter!
Kerrie Kelly, an interior designer and founder of KKDL, writes for The Home Depot about design and décor topics. If you are looking to spruce up your lighting with some of the cool LED and CFL options that Kerrie talks about in her post, check out homedepot.com.
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