Brighten up: When it comes to good lighting, layering is key

Photo: Virginia Hamrick Photo: Virginia Hamrick

Good things come in threes: primary colors, books in a trilogy and, says designer Kori Messenger, lighting.

“There are three layers of lighting: ambient, accent and task lighting,” she says. “We like to see all three in a space if possible.”

In a recent client’s home, Messenger and her designer partner at Foxchase Design, Nicole Fagerli, reimagined the lighting concept in the dining room, moving sconces from above the hunt board to its sides to make room for lamps, creating accent lighting. For task lighting, the designers replaced the original chandelier with an antique piece they found while traveling, and added hurricanes with candles (“to mimic the circle chain link crystals in the chandelier”) to the table for ambient light.

Photo: Virginia Hamrick
Photo: Virginia Hamrick

Lighting, Messenger says, can make a room feel alive and invite people into a space. But where’s a good place to start in your own home? The shades. “Sometimes the lamp shades wear out before the base,” Messenger says. “Replacing [them] can create a different look for the lamp and the space.” And, she adds, consider adding a dimmer, which can help eliminate visual hot spots or dark shadows.