Lighting is important for any home, and open floor plans demand extra attention. Anne Yates is a lighting designer with Elume, a Park City lighting firm, and she has expertise in planning for new construction as well as remodels. Yates says there is added complexity in lighting open floor plans. “You have to make certain that everything is coordinated, which is different from matching. With open floor plans, there are views to the top of the fixtures from stairs and from across the room, as well as from below. There is a lot to consider,” she explains, noting the necessity for a lighting plan early in the project to guide the electrical work.

Asked how she begins a lighting plan for an open area, Yates provides this list of initial planning elements: five layers of lighting that are the same for any home.

167Architectural Lighting: These fixtures include uplights for path lighting and features such as pillars, cove lighting, fireplace lights, and lights that graze the walls.

General Lighting: Usually recessed cans, they set the baseline level of lighting.

Decorative Lighting: These eye-catching fixtures like chandeliers and pendants are found in the entry, dining room, kitchen, and breakfast nook.

Task Lighting: Activity areas like kitchen counters, desks, and bathroom vanities need more light.

Accent Lighting: This includes illuminating framed art or sculpture for optimal viewing.

“The coordination of these types of lighting is very important. It is very easy to over clutter an open space with too many hanging decorative lights, and it is especially important to hang chandeliers at the proper height over the table,” Yates notes. “Now, there are a lot of colors for lamps (the industry term for bulbs), especially with LEDs. I ensure that all the lighting sustains the same temperature (meaning the same color of light) so the whole space looks well orchestrated.”

A good plan goes a long way. A lighting plan finishes a home so that the lighting looks coordinated, sophisticated, and finished. With open floor plans, it is easier to make mistakes, but the right approach will make your home look and function even better.

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