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Shades Of Morocco: Ambient Lighting To Set An Exotic Mood

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Too many times have I arrived at a friend’s place for an evening meetup and am greeted with overhead lighting that is usually too bright and serves more to distract rather than add to the setting. Accent lighting, usually achieved by using hanging pendant or wall lights, is the easiest way to make nearly any space feel more inviting. It can turn a large, cavernous room into an intimate space. Conversely, it can transform a tiny nook into a feature that both you and your guests will love.

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The right lighting can quickly and inexpensively transform your space and give you the most bang for your buck. With thousands upon thousands of lighting options and styles available, it’s best to first decide on the style you want to play with and go from there.

When it comes to interior design, most people exist on a spectrum. At one end you have safe, comforting, neutral decor free from any hint of possible offensiveness to any of the senses. On the other end everything considered safe is entirely eclipsed by the bold, the risky, and the exotic. Most people exist somewhere in the region bridging the two.

I have a friend who has traveled the world extensively over the years and has amassed quite an eclectic collection of accents to pepper around the home. One of the best features, for me, has been the use of lighting accents, especially Moroccan lighting, to give a sense of striking mystery to otherwise drab corners. The rooms are enhanced, the overhead lighting is rarely flipped on, and as dinners, movies, or chats extend into the evening the rest of the house just melts away as if that space is the only one that exists.

Shed Some Light On The Matter

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You may be wondering why lighting matters. Bright overhead light may have a useful purpose when you’re cleaning, but for everyday use it tends to be too harsh and uninviting and can prevent a space from feeling calm and relaxing. The use of accent lighting can not only create a welcoming ambiance but can be a powerful tool to achieve a specific design look for your space. It gives you the flexibility to vary the lighting level to fit however you wish to use the space in any given moment.

With just a few different lamps, sconces, and/or cabinet lighting you can make your space feel extra special with minimal expense and, with the increasingly expanding array of options, you no longer need to be a skilled electrician in order to give your space a lighting upgrade. Need more light for that party? You’ve got the right lighting level to let everyone see what’s going on. Using that same space to watch a movie with someone special? Your smart lighting choices let you set the scene.

Here’s Looking At You…

Morocco, the famous setting of the movie Casablanca nestled between the North African Atlantic coast and the Mediterranean Sea, is typically thought of first when thinking of a romantically exotic place. It has been inhabited by the Berbers for thousands of years while being occupied by the Romans, Moors, Portuguese, Spanish, and French, and has also received immigrants and migrating traders from sub-Saharan Africa throughout it’s entire history. This ancient confluence of cultures has led to a unique and eclectic design style that cannot be mistaken for anything else. Some distinct elements of this style are:

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  • Strong earthy colors reflecting of the Atlantic and Mediterranean to the west and north and the Sahara desert to the east and south.
  • Luxurious fabrics draped on furniture, hung from the walls, and used as canopies.
  • Low, intricately decorated furniture made even more inviting with an abundance of pillows.
  • Purposeful use of elaborately crafted mirrors to reflect color, light, and expand small spaces.
  • Generous use of dim lighting, usually hanging, which incorporates various metals, wood, and colored glass.

Pendant Lighting

Wall Lighting

Don’t Play Coy, Use Ambient Lighting To Your Benefit

Too many times people get stuck in a rut with their spaces. It doesn’t have to be that way. Don’t be afraid to take risks. Do you like that color? Seek out accents to incorporate it. Want to try out a style like Moroccan? Invest in some pillows and fabric and a few pendant or wall lights. These types of things are easy to switch out and replace if you decide the look isn’t for you. Trust me, your space will feel much more rewarding to you if you make the attempt.

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