Brown designs bathrooms that are light and bright without being sterile by using cross lighting in the space. “What you don’t want in a bathroom is one fixture that illuminates from the top with the beam spread moving downward. That top-down approach just creates harsh shadows on the face,” she says. “Instead, you want wall mounts on either side of the mirror, which help light the face from each side and eliminate shadows. This makes tasks like shaving and putting on makeup easier.”
Having the ability to control the amount of light in a space is also important. “You want to be able to control the general light in a room through the use of dimmer switches,” Brown says. “That way, you can set a mood by dialing up more or less light from overhead fixtures.”
The placement of lights isn’t the only important factor in a well-lit room. Since the surfaces in a room reflect light, the colors and textures on walls and floors make a big difference in how light travels. Painting white walls to dark red will affect the way light is also perceived by the eye and may also cast a rosy hue.
When remodeling or constructing a new space, Brown says it’s important to pay attention to the lighting details. “Know your overall design aesthetic and purchase fixtures that fit,” she says. “You don’t want an opulent, traditional chandelier in a very minimalistic space.”
Making a multilayered lighting plan is something best done before construction begins, because after walls and ceilings are drywalled, it becomes more difficult and costly to fix shadowy problems.
“Overall, light affects our mood, and if a room is dark and dank, it can have a powerful affect on us,” Brown says. “Conversely, if a room is lit properly, it can elevate and inspire us, without us consciously knowing that the light is right.”