How Should I Light my Fireplace Properly?
Rooms with fireplaces are often inadequately lit – these spaces are generally designed for relaxing and entertaining but the lighting may only consist of a few lamps. If you’re lucky your builder might have thrown in a few recessed lights near the fireplace for general lighting, that is definitely needed but recessed cans are perfect for lighting the overall space and lack the layers of lighting needed to create depth and highlight the room’s features. When done properly lighting will add depth and ambiance while tying together all aspects of decor.
Fireplaces are sought after architectural details and should be highlighted in your space – start with placing two recessed lights two feet away to cross-illuminate the fireplace; keeping them close to the fireplace will ensure a person cannot step between the light source and fireplace, creating shadows and blinding an unsuspecting guest. Make sure to get an adjustable trim, either a gimbal or eyeball trim. The two lights should be positioned to wash the area above the mantel. To add some more depth, frame the fireplace with sconces on either side, which will create drama and focus attention on the centerpiece. No room for wall sconces? Or seeking a cleaner look? Accent lighting can be applied above crown molding; this will create a warm inviting glow that will balance the room.
Indirect lighting will help soften the shadows produced by the recessed lights. The exact application of this indirect lighting will depend on your space. A higher ceiling would benefit from one or two pendants or chandeliers centered on the fireplace and a smaller room with a lower ceiling might benefit from just a few lamps. Either application of indirect lighting will soften shadows and add human scale to the space. An accented fireplace will remain the focal point for the room while the layers of light create an inviting space with warmth and interest.