How about giving your dining room a lighting hug?
Okay, before I get to the lighting hug, let’s talk about the heart of lighting design. Light can help us see better is the absolute minimum of decent lighting. I often break this into components, or promises, like “light can help you see what you are doing so you can do it better” and “light can help you know where you are, where you are going, and who is with you.”
In a dining room, light that helps us see better needs to do two things: see the food so we can eat it and see the faces of others so we can enjoy their company. That means that strong light on the table and soft light on faces is the most important layer of light in a dining room, and that choosing a chandelier or pendant takes a little thought if you want to tackle both.
Since I make the rules, I’m going to assume that you already have a chandelier or pendant over your dining table. What is the 1THING I would do in addition to the chandelier? Give the room a lighting hug.
A lighting hug is a phrase I blurted out while on camera with Lee Travis of Wipliance a few months ago. Lee asked me for the basic idea of good landscape lighting and the words just tumbled out. It sounded a little cheesy to me, but a few months later I continue to mull it over.
What is a hug? It is, technically speaking, someone else wrapping their arms around you. But a hug is more than a squeeze. It is a gift of warmth, of care, of concern, even love. A hug speaks to our bodies and souls, comforts us, and helps us relax. I recently visited my parents, of whom I have seen precious little during the pandemic. Their hugs were better than ever.
A lighting hug will not replace a hug from a loved one, but it can help you feel a little more comfortable, a little more relaxed. There is serious research behind the ideas here, but simply put, a lighting hug is light around you. I might call it “light for feeling better” in another post, but the idea is the same. Chase a few of the shadows away and put light beyond the table.