The most important thing? Perfect lighting at all times.

— Oscar de La Renta

Light is an incredibly important component of interior design, not only because of the way it can make a space look but also because of the immediate and powerful impact it has on our feelings.

The light in our environments can alter our moods and emotions with the simple flick of a switch or dial of a dimmer. In a spa or cozy living room, ambient lighting and deep shadows can make us feel relaxed, or even evoke romantic feelings. Contrastly, layers of bright lighting (both artificial and natural) can make a luxury hotel room or home breakfast nook feel open, energizing, and inviting.

My Feelosophy is that design should heavily be dictated by the way we want to feel in a space, and lighting is an essential piece of the puzzle when it comes to mindfully influencing those feelings. This means that lighting should be one of the first things you consider when planning a redesign or new construction, not an afterthought. After all, lighting is something that can be very hard to change after the fact.

Achieving the “perfect” lighting for a space isn’t an easy task, and I always recommend bringing an experienced lighting or interior designer on board. S/he will be able to create “layers” of light to enhance the mood and effects you’re looking for as well as amping up the flexibility of how each space can be utilized.

Lighting controls as simple as dimmers ensure a variety of scenes within the room. Take it to another level by adding smart-home controls for specific scenes to be set at the touch of a button or a tap to your iPhone or iPad. Some examples include dinner setting, entertaining, or good night!

Over the last 18 years of my interior-design career, I have placed great emphasis on lighting — I have 30 collective years of experience in  lighting design (prior to starting my design practice) which allows me to guide my clients in regard to this important aspect of appointing their homes.

Lisa Samuel ASID, IIDA, is a Santa Fe native and principal of Samuel Design Group, located in the heart of downtown Santa Fe. She is an award-winning interior designer known for creating unique interiors imbued with warmth and elegance. Lisa ( is passionate about good design that supports well-being.



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