Catching Rays | Valentina Cirasola | Interior Designer

Sun fuels plants. Plants know how to transform sunlight, water and carbon dioxide into the energy they use to grow.
Let’s think for one moment of our interiors. The few items that make an interior beautiful are: space, light, colors and material, of which lighting is the most fundamental of all. With lighting we can obtain a serene space, or change a dull environment into a vibrant space. Don’t think lighting is all about the electrical parts, bulbs, sockets, wires and difficult wattage calculations.

The best lighting is the daylight because it enriches our homes and has a positive effect on our health. Human are drawn to light as much as plants are drawn to sun. We blossom when we are exposed to the sun. Natural light entering our eyes affects our entire nervous system, which determines how excited or relaxed we are and how awake or lethargic we feel. Natural light is more than we see, it influences our mood and the way we feel about things.

Italians (me) have a fantastic expression:
“A house where there is no sunlight is a house where the doctor will soon enter”.
To maximize natural lighting, make sure there isn’t much going on around the windows to allow the light to come straight in without dodging objects. Usually a mirror placed across a window amplifies the amount of light in the room and creates illusion to please the eye.
Often people install skylights in the ceiling thinking the volume of natural light coming in will increase, but skylights creates an enormous pool of light in one spot only. To correct this, it is important to know the geographical position of the room and know which reflective finishes to use to bounce off light.

A carpet placed near a window will absorb natural light, but a glossy wood or ceramic floor will diffuse natural light, reverberate it on the walls and make the room brighter. Consider that the outside light reflects and bounces off buildings, grass or surroundings and comes in filtered making a huge impact on the quality of light inside the room. Weather and geography make an impact as well on how natural light reacts with interior colors. A hot color in a grey weather in the Northern Hemisphere will look murky, but a hot color in a warm weather in the Southern Hemisphere will look like a jewel.

(Homeowner granted permission to photograph this home)

The second best lighting is how we illuminate with electric light to energize our spaces. Electric light has a warm and cool effect. In colder climate is best to use warm tone light and cool tone light in warmer weather.

Dramatic lighting games and layering lighting can transform any room instantly. We can’t reproduce the effect of the sun, but we can get quite clever with electric light. Central lighting only illuminates half of the space leaving the rest of the room in the dark. It is hard to relax with that one light, thus we layer lights with shadows, texture and brightness, it’s like painting with  lighting. Adding sidelights, up lights, down lights, gracing lights, task lights, table lights, floor lights, diffuse lights, directional lights and behind furniture lights, we create a fantastic layering effects, a mood and a convivial atmosphere. However, don’t think all this light layering must be turned on all at once. To create a cozy ambiance, light layering must have individual or group switches, otherwise the showroom effect is assured.

Cutting and preparation area in the kitchen need to be in bright light, but in the dining, please do create shadow of atmospheres and do illuminate a bottle of champagne with a warm temperature – down light as all the expensive merchandise in stores.

Light is good for us! Afraid of painting with lighting? Don’t be, send me an email, or call me, we will do it together. Ciao,


Copyright © 2015 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved

ValWorkingAs a designer in business since 1990, I am interested in helping people designing their interior and exterior spaces with an overall feeling of peace, relaxation and harmony that will draw them home eagerly. I am always looking to add that special touch with original findings to the spaces I design. Find copies of my three books on


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