To light a room successfully appropriate lights must be placed where they are needed to keep the feeling of balance and proportion and bring out the charm of the room by their relation to its furnishing. They should also be so placed that the life of the household can go on as cheerfully and smoothly in the evening as in the day time.
The position and style of lighting fixtures is decided by the type of house, the size and height of the rooms, the amount of wall space, the use for which the rooms are intended, their style of furnishing, the chief center of interest, such as mantels, doors, furniture, and pictures of importance , and also the manner in which the walls are treated , whether paneled or papered. If one is building a house one should give all possible data to the architect in regard to any special pieces of furniture or pictures which one may wish to use in certain places. By doing this the tragedy of a slightly too small wall space will be escaped, and the lights will be properly placed in the beginning.
One must always remember in planning the position of the lights for a room that the eye naturally seeks the brightest spot, and badly placed lamps and side lights will upset the balance of a room. The room must not be glaringly bright, but there should be a feeling of certain evenness in the distribution of a light. A top light makes the light come from the wrong direction. Artificial light in a room should take its general idea from the lighting of the room in the day time. They daylight comes from the window, the sides of the room, and the decoration of the room is building up with that mind; so when we are planning the lighting scheme we should remember this and realize that the light should come from lamps placed advantageously on tables, and wall lights placed slightly above eye level.
Living rooms should have a sufficient number of well placed sidelights to enhance the beauty of the room, and they should be placed near centers of importance such each side of the fireplace, or wide door, or on each side of some important picture or mirror. I f there is a group of two or three windows which need to be more convincingly drawn together to form a unit, lights may be placed on each side of the group. Sidelights can be placed in the center of panels, thus forming a decoration for the panel, and, flanking paintings or mirrors or tapestries, make beautiful and formal rooms, especially for the different periods of French , English, or Italian decoration. This treatment with simpler forms of fixtures may also be used in our charming, but more or less nondescript, chintz living-rooms or dining-rooms. With a sufficient number of lamps in the room the side –or wall-lights need not be lighted during the average stay-at-home evenings but are ready if there is some special occasion for brilliancy. There are some rooms which are much improved by having no side –lights at all, all the light coming from lamps. There should be plenty of floor sockets so placed that lamps may be used on tables near sofas and armchairs and on the writing table or large living room table. It is this proper placing of lamps which has so much to do with the charm and comfort of a room when evening comes.