Light has a huge impact on mood. Most people have heard about the connection between lack of natural light and depression, but in more subtle and immediate ways, lighting can help cue different moods and it can help us relax and focus our attention. We asked award-winning lighting designer Rebecca Picherak (who is admittedly more familiar with lighting theatres than she is bedrooms) for some ideas on how to light a room for any erotic encounter. Here are her top tips.
1. Experiment—Every Space Is Different
Invest a little time playing with the light in your room. Each space is going to be different, from the furniture that's in the space and how it is positioned to the size and angle of the walls and height of the ceiling. There are very few absolutes in lighting; it depends on what you're going for.
2. Consider the Mood You're Trying to Set
Are you going for a frenetic night of animalistic abandon in a club atmosphere? Or, are you going for the feel of a slightly mysterious, titillating French brothel from the '20s? Or what about a cozy lair, comfortable enough to make even the most uptight let go of their inhibitions? What lights you use, and how you use them will depend on the sexual tone you are trying to set.
3. Dimmers Are Good
Consider installing dimmers on any overhead lights. This isn't hard to do as long as you have some good safety instructions and make sure to flip the right breakers. Dimmers make a world of difference.
4. Fluorescent Is Bad
Even the low wattage, fluorescent Ikea ones that are trying not to be offensive still are. Fluorescent lights are not stable—they rapidly flicker on and off, and though it is not necessarily perceptible to the eye, for many it causes headaches and fatigues the eyes. Also, it just doesn't look good.
5. Be Strategic With Light Placement
It's better to use lots of localized points of light. Grab whatever desk lamps or reading lights you've got and play around. Point them at the wall, into a plant, or at a painting. Lights that illuminate specific points of focus are great for making a room look beautiful. You can use this technique both to draw attention to parts of the room as well as hide corners that are filled with junk.
6. Don't Spend a Ton
Put a light on the floor or try turning the TV around to face a white wall for a colorful moving effect. Play with what you've got.
7. Keep Candles in Mind
Candles, of course, are great. If you are prone to falling asleep before extinguishing all fire hazards, use tea lights in a little candle holder. Paper shades are also great to soften incandescent light bulbs. (Again, a dimmer will go a long way to creating a warm and sultry atmosphere.)
8. Work With Shadows
Experiment with using your lamps to make shadows on the walls. Aim a light at a wall through colored glass and you may get beautiful patterns, but even better, position a light so that the moving shadows of you and your partner are projected larger than life onto the walls around you. Shadowplay can be hilarious and very sexy.