Ask any interior designer what is the most commonly overlooked and underestimated element in great room design is, and the answer will almost always be-lighting.

The importance and impact that a lighting concept has on a room’s overall mood can be so crucial, and yet so simple, that it often overlooked altogether.

Think about any fantastic space you have ever encountered. Was it the wall color that set the overall mood? The furniture? The flooring? Most likely not. The lighting in a room, whether it be natural from outside, electrical, or both- will immediately set the mood in which a great space is defined. The reason that this crucial element is so often unrecognizable however, is that it is an unconscious element that the eye doesn’t physically see or understand. Put simply, it’s not an object added to a room, it’s a feeling.

Sometimes we forget that a ‘feeling’ is exactly the goal we set out to accomplish in our home design. We want to set a mood that makes sense for the spaces in our home, whether it be for daily living, relaxing, working, entertaining, or all of the above.

These days, thanks to advances in home technology, lighting control and implementation is far simpler than it ever was in the past. You no longer have to climb up on furniture to turn on your accent cabinet lighting, or remember to flick on the up-lights, torchieres, and spotlights. You don’t have to dim down the lights for intimate dinners, or crank up the down-lighting for work and entertaining. Complete home control gives you the option to control all of these aspects, in one location, and in more ways than ever before.

My favorite addition to the lighting control world has to be complete theme lighting. With home automation, you can now set very specific parameters for all of your lighting needs or goals. There can be an endless variety of themes for individual rooms or for the entire house. Wouldn’t it be great to hit one single button and immediately dim the lights, turn on accents, porch lights, and perhaps even add a little music- setting the perfect mood for entertaining? Talk about impressing the guests!

More important than the infinite possibilities that home control can provide in making our spaces more comfortable and pleasing for us, is the ability to do the same for the environment. Not only can your home automation system make ‘lighting up’ easier, but it can also assist you in powering down– even when you forget or not there to do so. Among many of the energy saving options are lights that time out, turning off automatically or after no movement has been detected in a room. You can set lights to run on lower settings or at less wattage when more natural light is detected in the room. You can even create energy saving themes of your own, which tell the lights times they should and should not be on. The possibilities are as always-endless.

The next time you enter a room that sooths, excites, or inspires you– really take a few moments to consider what it is about the room that is causing your emotional reaction. Chances are it will be the careful use and placement of lighting. In your own home, think about what specific lighting changes could really do for the mood and feeling that you want to project. Lighting changes truly are the easiest design upgrades of them all— and with home automation, they just got a whole lot easier.