Think of Lighting as Art for Your Home

By Hawaii Renovation Posted in: DecorRemodel
May 19, 2012

Lighting is possibly the most powerful tool you have when it comes to interior design. It does not make sense to invest in beautiful furniture, rugs, paintings and accessories if they are in the dark. The perfect light fixture not only illuminates a space — it also is a beautiful, decorative design element.

“When looking for a light fixture, think of yourself as a curator looking for a perfect piece of art,” said interior designer Laurie Smith, known for her role as a featured designer on the hit television show Trading Spaces (2000-2008). Smith said, “Like art, a fabulous fixture can make a strong design statement, as well as provide illumination for your space.”

Often consumers do not realize the difference updated lighting can make in their homes. Smith suggests finding one special piece and building a room around it. “In design school, we learned that lighting is the most exciting and mysterious medium in design. Lighting is sculptural; it’s textural, it’s exciting,” she said.

“There are so many varying styles and designs in lighting today that the possibilities are endless. Different materials and shapes are just part of what goes into determining that perfect fixture,” said Smith. “For instance, do you want the shape of your piece to contrast with your room’s schematic or coordinate with it? Taking a traditional fixture and placing it into a modern setting creates interest through contrast, while taking a sleek modern fixture and putting it into a traditional setting infuses new vitality and a sophisticated accent.”

With so many choices on the market, the task of selecting a light fixture can be difficult and overwhelming for many homeowners. It’s just a matter of developing a plan or one idea. To help consumers get started, Smith talks about the importance of lighting to interior design in a new video series. Each minute-long video, created by the American Lighting Association, focuses on a different aspect of lighting and ways to incorporate it into every homeowner’s design plan.

Videos in the series include:

• Choosing the Right Lighting Fixture

• Find an Object of Inspiration

• The Impact of a Single Lamp

• Lighting Fixtures as Art

The videos can be viewed on the ALA website at

Whether looking for one fixture or a complete lighting design plan, a great place to start is at an ALA-member lighting retail showroom. There you will find professionally trained staff to help you select the perfect light for your space. To find a local ALA showroom, call (800) 605-4448 or go to

Photo: These Hubbardton Forge fixtures not only illuminate, but also are a beautiful decorative design element.