Proper lighting reveals depth, form, texture, richness of color, and controls ambiance in a very significant way. Color is how you light it!
How many of you have gone to a furniture store or carpet store? You go to a carpet store, take your materials and upholstery fabrics over there, then select carpet, bring it back home and check things out, and say, “It doesn’t look right, it isn’t working.” It’s because of the fluorescent lighting at the store vs. the incandescent lighting that you have in your home, which is yellow-based; or the different array of spectral qualities that happen with sunlight as it comes in your home from sunrise to midday to sunset.
It’s always best to check all materials and finishes in the light that you’re going to be ultimately viewing them in. As a matter of fact, you can have some lighting sources that will actually take a red apple and turn it gray, and totally change it. Color is not in the object itself at all. It is how you light it. It’s the way the material absorbs certain colors of the spectrum and bounces the rest back to you. What’s bounced back to you is the color you see.
Let’s be clear, it’s not the fixtures that do the work. It’s the bulb or “lamp” as we call it in the profession. Whether it’s an “A-bulb” or whether it’s a little MR-16 that’s a mirror-reflected bulb that has more color balance to it; different bulbs perform and color things differently. Obviously, you want balanced color if you’re going to light a jewelry store. Because, you want those diamonds to have the full “fire.” And then, in terms of a backdrop, what’s better? A diamond on black velvet or brown burlap?
It’s also about the photo-metrics of every bulb or “lamp” you may employ. I could have a selection of MR-16 bulbs here that are spots or floods, and they come in different intensities and wattage, different beam spreads, etc. So it’s another whole tool box to use. It’s like a mechanic. He has a main tool box; but he’s got the special tool box also. It’s like another tool box to make your environment come alive.
We need to understand lighting. We don’t want to end up destroying, with the flick of a switch, what we’re trying to accomplish in the look and ambiance we desire in our rooms and homes. Plus, we’re also trying to bring out the architecture in a more emphatic way. We need light to reveal shape, form, texture, and color. We need to handle lighting right, so that things in our environment will “read” right. We also need enough contrast in order to “read” them right as well.