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From Sound to Light: Interior Design Tips You Need to Know

Creating a space that seamlessly blends aesthetics with functionality is an art form. Professional interior designers understand the nuances of design, incorporating elements like light, color, texture and sound, to craft environments that look stunning and enhance your quality of life. Here are some expert tips for creating a harmonious home.

Master the Play of Light

Lighting is a powerful way to influence the mood and perception of a room. Natural light is a timeless favorite; however, it isn’t always available. In some situations, sunlight may even be undesirable. Enter the world of artificial lighting. A well designed interior is very dependent on good lighting. We can’t function without good lighting. Color and texture depends on lighting. It creates atmosphere, and affects our well- being. Lighting is a huge topic, but here are some points and tips to consider when lighting a home:

  1. Most homes, old and new, are terribly under lit. Working for years in new construction, if a builder has given you an allowance on lighting, triple it.

  2. The best lighting ambiance is a combination of both light from below (i.e. lamps, under cabinet lighting) with recess and decorative fixtures from above.

  3. The advent of the LED “wafer” downlight has revolutionized both the remodel and the new construction industries. Without needing bulky housings, adding recessed lights has never been easier. Also consider smaller 4” vs. traditional 6”.

  4. Speaking of downlights, pay attention to the temperature of the lighting. The warmth of the light quality is measured in Kelvins. 2700K is equivalent to the traditional incandescent light bulb. Sunlight is around 5000K. My personal favorite for most rooms in a home is 3000K. The good news is many of these lights are color adjustable for personal preference.

  5. Add some drama. Focal points and artwork come to life under accent lighting.

  6. Embrace flexible lighting to create different ambiances:

  7. Add specialty lighting according to your lifestyle:

o   Soft lighting in the bathroom for middle of the night visits.

o   Soft lighting in the kitchen; just enough to make coffee when you’re half awake.

o   Low lighting in staircases.

Crafting a Color Palette

Lighting and color go hand-in-hand. You can’t have color without light. Colors directly correlate to our moods and can dictate the overall ambiance of a space. Often when starting a new project with homeowners, I ask them how they want that room to feel. Do they want their bathroom to feel like a light and airy spa? A sexy dining room? A cozy library?... Whatever the response, color will play a very important part of the solution. No wonder people agonize over selections in the paint aisles. There are so many considerations, but here a few tips:

  1. Pay attention to the established architecture and permanent materials:

  • Address the available daylight.

  • Wood floors, fireplace stone, color of your millwork. These will be foundational in establishing your neutrals.

  1. Consider your inventory:

  • Are there specific pieces of furniture or artwork you’re planning on using?

  • Artwork can be a great point of departure when developing a room.

  1. Do you have an item that is the genesis of the palette?

  • Can I tell you how many color schemes started with a pillow?

  1. Beware of the middle section of paint fan deck pages:

  • They tend to be too intense on a large scale.

  • And watch out for the greys; they can go blue on you before you know it.

  1. Professional designers often recommend starting with a neutral base color, then adding contrasts through artwork, furniture, accessories, or accent walls.

Embracing Texture and Materials

If everything is flat, it can be so… blah. Consider adding textures for visual interest or to make a room more inviting. Mixing materials like wood, metal, glass, and fabric can add complexity to the design, preventing it from feeling monotonous. Consider the tactile experience of different surfaces – smooth and glossy surfaces can reflect light, while textured materials like rugs and cushions provide warmth and coziness.  Some specifics to consider:

  1. Typically the more monochromatic the color palette, the more it needs textural contrasts.

  2. People often don’t realize their walls don’t need to be flat:

  • Wallcoverings are not just wallpapers and can create wonderful textural effects like linen, organic materials, wood…

  1. Don’t forget to enhance textures with lighting.

Harmonizing with Sound

Sound plays an often overlooked role in interior design. A well-designed space should account for acoustics to ensure a peaceful and comfortable environment. Soft furnishings like carpets, drapes, and upholstered furniture help absorb sound, reducing echoes and creating a more serene atmosphere. Additionally, incorporating sound-absorbing panels or decorative wall treatments can be both functional and stylish, enhancing the overall sensory experience of a room. Here are some points to keep in mind with the current home trends:

  1. Hard flooring vs. wall-to-wall carpeting reigns. This has increased the need for area rugs.

  • The difference in sound quality before compared to after rugs are positioned is huge.

  • Keep in mind, this will probably double your flooring budget.

  1. Window treatments really help with acoustics even if they are only stationary side panels.

  2. During new construction and larger remodel projects; acoustical insulation in certain parts of the home should be considered.

  3. Solid core interior doors are worth the money especially for bedrooms.

  4. And just like lighting, would you like to have controlled music throughout your home?


Professional interior design is a holistic approach that considers every element of a space to create a stunning and functional environment. Work with Laura Gills Interior Design to bring your vision to life.


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