Natural vs. Artificial Lighting in Interior Design- Knowing how to Pair them Strategically

Natural vs. Artificial Lighting in Interior Design- Knowing how to Pair them Strategically

Kitchen Designed by Stewart-Schafer

There are many key elements in a room that make it impressionable upon first glance. Typically, your eyes may be fixated on the furniture selection in a room, or it might even be the architectural design that captures your attention. While both of these certainly contribute in creating a well-designed room, lighting is integral in enhancing the style and design of a room.

As a matter of fact, lighting even has the potential to impact your mood. Some research has suggested that having an adequate amount of lighting can improve one’s mood and energy. On the other hand, poor lighting can have adverse effects, where it can contribute to depression and other negativities to one’s overall mood.

Consider some of the public spaces that you have been to and how these spaces have utilized lighting. Whether it’s in restaurants, or in retail spaces, you may have noticed that these spaces make sure to effectively use lighting because it can have an impact on how their customers may feel.

In the case of a restaurant, the ambiance has to look warm and welcoming, which is why many fine-dining restaurants lean towards using warm-hued light fixtures to create that cozy atmosphere that is suitable when dining.

On the other hand, retail spaces have the goal of making their products look presentable in the best way possible to ensure that customers are more inclined to purchase it. Think of the fitting rooms in clothing stores where they purposely select the most flattering type of lighting to try and make anything that you may try on look the best it could be to entice you to buy.

At Stewart-Schafer, we believe that interior lighting is very impactful as noted from the examples above. It has the potential to transform a fantastic space into something notable and extraordinary. Despite its importance, many seem to overlook how much of an importance lighting can have in altering the overall look of a given room.

Lighting can be divided into two categories - natural lighting and artificial lighting. Well-designed and strategically placed natural and artificial lighting can have the potential to influence moods and perception in a given space. They also have the capacity to bring your luxury interior design project to life, but it’s important to consider which lighting option works best.

Whether you’re an interior designer, an architect, or a casual reader who has an interest in lighting, understanding how natural and artificial lighting can be put to good use can help you make a better decision in choosing how to better illuminate a space.

Pairing Natural and Artificial Lighting Strategically

If you are situated in the city, it may be harder to capture natural light as the shadows casted from skyscrapers and tall buildings may affect the light that is openly available. You also need to consider that depending on the direction that your room is located in, this will have an impact on how natural light will enter your space.

Kitchen interior design with a focus on natural lighting

To better understand this, consider where the sun rises and sets in your space. Usually, this may impact how you set your artificial lighting fixtures in a room, as there may be certain times where you may have ample brightness just from natural lighting, but other times where it’s not as present due to the timing.

Ultimately, it comes down to whether or not your space has enough window fixtures to facilitate the best use of natural lighting.

While it may be tricky to understand how you can make the best use of natural and artificial lighting together in a space, an interior lighting designer can step in to help you better understand how certain light fixtures can be best used in certain spaces, especially if there is not as much natural light available.

On the other hand, an architect can also provide their insight, especially if they designed the space, as they will have a strong understanding of how certain fixtures can be best used in the space they built.

However, the best combination is an interior lighting designer and an architect who are able to work together in harmony with the interior design team to create a functional space that makes a strategic and stylish use of natural and artificial lighting.

To understand how to pair them together, consider how these lighting types impact each other and determine how you can place them in the best way possible. Whether it’s for a room in your home, or even your office, these tips will provide you with an overview of what impact these lighting types can have and how they can be used together.

The Impact of Natural Lighting

As previously mentioned, one of the important considerations when designing a space is to understand where the natural light is coming from. Interior designers often have to work with the window placements that are already built in a room to best determine how the natural light can be used as effectively as possible.

Often, those who have the luxury to build from scratch will have architects who will determine the best way to build a space, with keeping natural lighting placement in mind when windows and other fixtures are placed.

Since natural light is dependent on the time of day, you will need to be mindful of how certain furnishings will be placed within a room. For example, if there is a lot of natural light present in the afternoon, it may be beneficial to get curtains or blinds to ensure that the room is not too bright.

Sunlight shines brighter depending on the time of day, and the amount of light is dependent on the direction of the room relative to the sun. Keep in mind that bright and lively colors should be used extensively in rooms facing north, whilst cool and neutral colors should be used in rooms facing south to establish a balance.

Unfortunately, natural light only lasts for so long throughout the day, and it can even be shorter depending on the season. Natural light cannot penetrate if your space is somewhere in between buildings, in such cases, artificial light is the savior that can be used to bring in brightness when needed.

As a final note, natural light can be positively impactful towards an individual’s mood and energy, so it should be utilized as much as possible if the space allows.

The Impact of Artificial Lighting

Compared to natural lighting, artificial lighting gives interior designers much more flexibility as it can be utilized in various ways. With artificial lighting, you can add brightness to spaces that may not have windows to allow natural light in, such as windowless dens in apartments or condos, or basements in houses.

Because artificial lighting can be more technical, there are some things that you may want to keep in mind when selecting an artificial light fixture. Consider some of the points below which go over how artificial lighting and its constituents affect a given environment:

  • Color temperature: You need to understand the different colored lighting and what the advantages of each one are. Color temperature is measured in Kelvin. For a bright blue cold light, 300K plus is what we recommend, cold light stimulates mental and physical activity. For a more moody light, we recommend around 2700k, which alternatively creates a cozy and relaxing environment
  • Color rendering Index: It is important to take into account the CRI while choosing the lighting for your space. The higher the CRI, the more vivid the colors appear to your eyes. A high CRI is recommended for ambient lighting.
  • LED: LED technology has advanced significantly in terms of illumination quality. Remember to double-check that all components of the LED are compatible. Some websites provide a list of what is and isn't compatible so make sure to do your research ahead of time.
  • Color Shadow: Try to understand how to cast light on a surface and what tone and mood it will set in your interior space. Some colors are more pleasant to look at than others, which is based on the principles of color psychology.

Artificial lighting is something that requires a trained interior designer's eye. Our professional interior lighting design experts will help you achieve the results possible in any given project that you may be working on.

If you have an interior design project in New York or Connecticut that requires some professional expertise, contact us today! We offer no obligations phone calls to answer any of your questions or concerns.

Stewart Schafer is an Interior and Architectural firm based in New York and Connecticut, click here to view some of our past projects and see how we can help.

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