When you talk to designers about what makes a beautiful interior, the first thing they’ll mention isn’t countertop materials or furniture choices but good lighting. Lighting has evolved so much in recent years that lighting design has become its own category—just ask Elizabeth Ludy, lighting designer and owner, LGHT Co. Ludy, an American Lighting Association Certified Lighting Specialist, saw a niche in Steamboat’s burgeoning design market and wanted an opportunity to collaborate with architects and designers on both new construction and remodel projects all over Steamboat.
Ludy can talk about her passion for lighting design all day long but her main goal is to make the process easier for clients who often don’t think about lighting at all. “The options have gotten so much better. It used to be you’d have to go into a showroom and look through catalogs, and people’s eyes would glaze over after the first 5 minutes, so that’s what I honed in on,” she says. Ludy favors a collaborative process and works closely with clients to come up with cohesive design concepts that coordinate with the style and feel of the space.
Whether you’re building a new home, renovating an old one, or just want to improve your current living space, upgrading the lighting in your home is one way to make a huge impact in ways you might not have even realized is possible. “It’s all about creating layers of light throughout every part of your house and thinking about how you want to illuminate different spaces for different times of day. It’s like a puzzle with small pieces that all work together,” says Ludy. “It’s not one-and-done, flip a switch and the light comes on. There are several variables to think about.”
Ludy says the key is in the balance, about creating layers of light that work together and aren’t overpowering, or what she calls “interrogation lights,” which are often a sign of lighting that is outdated. While design often requires selecting specific fixtures based on your overall style and the aesthetic of your home, what matters is how the lights function in the space and throughout the day.
Ultimately, function is the most important component of good lighting. “You want your lighting to feel comfortable at different times of day. What you need in the morning is going to be different than what you want at night. That’s where layers of light come into play,” she says.
That can be achieved in several ways, whether it means swapping out old lightbulbs in your overhead lights to create a softer glow, installing dimmer switches, or adding in subtler layers of light, maybe through a backlit mirror or a chandelier.
LED tape light has become very popular because of its versatility and its flexibility for creating layers of light, Ludy says. “LED tape light tape lights placed under a floating vanity can cast a nice glow onto the floor, can be used at the top of a ceiling to wash down on an accent wall, and are also useful in closets. A LED header light can be mounted on the back side of the closet on a motion sensor so when you open up the closet door it turns on, and when you close the door it turns off,” Ludy says. “Again, it comes down to layers, and using soft light can achieve a lot in a room, especially in areas like the bedroom or bathroom where you don’t want it to be fully lit all the time.” Lighted mirrors, a trend that started in hotels, are another way to layer lighting into a room.
Another big trend is treating lighting like a piece of art. Fixtures can be selected to be sculptural, textural, and can either brim with personality or provide a minimalist statement. “The trend is about making lighting an extension and welcomed part of your home while displaying your personality. Absolutely no need to settle for the run of the mill these days.” That’s not to be confused with art lighting, using light to illuminate pieces of art, like in a gallery. “Art lighting is having a moment in the best way,” Ludy says. “For a long time, it was seen as a luxury only used for priceless pieces, but if you have a piece of art that is special, art lighting can be really fun.”
A simple way to upgrade your lighting is to swap out old lightbulbs. “We look a lot at the temperature of light, or the color of light, which is always easy to modify by switching things out, but there are so many options that didn’t exist even a few years ago.” It’s also easy and fun to update your fixtures with something more current, like brass, which Ludy says is having a moment, as well as white. Sconces are also in, replacing old 5-bulb vanities in bathrooms and table lamps in master bedrooms. Timers and motion sensors are easy to install and handy for spaces like the bathroom and closet.
Ultimately, good lighting is about creating a mood. “We all crave this comfortable, inviting space and finding ways to get those pockets of magic, ways to boost your mood, especially during winter. “At the end of the day, I want it to feel good.” That’s what we call totally lit. // lghtco.co