In the old days, barns were places of work. Not just any brand of work either – but hard work. As a result, the barns and farmhouses of old were efficient in nature. Lighting for these types of spaces followed suit, with fixtures being pretty bare-bones.
However, modern barns and farmhouses have taken a different approach – with new technology and techniques allowing more considered and aesthetically pleasing lighting solutions to be designed. But, of course, choosing that design is a challenge in itself!
The perfect farmhouse lighting design for any modern barn will be about balancing the need for utility with a desire to make the space pleasing to the eye. In this guide, we’re going to try and find that balance by discussing some of the most important ways you can brighten your barn.
Ultimately, any good piece of design will follow a simple set of universally applicable principles. But, in the case of lighting, one principle stands above the rest – the layer principle.
All rooms stand to benefit the most from three primary “layers” of light: Ambient, task, and accent. Each layer has a specific goal and interacts with the other layers to complete a final design that fills the criteria for any successful room. These three layers are:
Ambient Lighting: The base layer of any room, ambient lighting is the most basic form of lighting in a room and is the most common. Ambient lighting aims to simply light a room and make a space comfortable and visible.
Task Lighting: A focused form of lighting, task lighting aims to make a specific zone, such as a workbench or kitchen counter, as easily visible as possible. Task lighting is traditionally smaller in scope compared to ambient lighting and is used as a safety measure for complex or dangerous tasks.
Accent Lighting: Where the art of lighting design is most readily expressed, accent lighting is designed to encourage a mood or vibe in a space and works to enhance a room or object rather than simply light it.
Different rooms or spaces have different requirements. For example, in the case of a barn, ambient lighting and task lighting will be vastly more important, with accent lighting being more of a luxury than a necessity.
Keeping It Natural
Generally speaking, a barn is a relatively “low-tech” part of any property. Complex technology will not thrive in the rustic nature of a barn work, so keeping things as natural and straightforward as they can be is crucial.
As it turns out, when it comes to lighting, this principle is more than applicable. Daylight is about as natural as it gets. It’s also cost-efficient and downright perfect for barns looking to operate with as few hiccups as possible.
When designing your barn for natural lighting, it’s essential to plan for this as early as possible. Maximizing natural lighting involves planning around having as many windows and skylights as you can feasibly fit in, something that can be much more difficult on an established structure than a new one.
Most of your light will also come through the doors to the barn, so planning to have the largest doors as possible will make it easier for daylight to leak into the space.
Bigger is Better
Of course, natural lighting is not going to be helpful all of the time. There’s a reason why barn-style lights were made in the first place. Sometimes, daylight simply won’t cut it, maybe it’s raining or dark, or the late afternoon sun is creating shadows over your workbench. Whatever the reason, a different approach will be needed.
In the case of barns and farmhouses, the simplest solution is often the best. When concerning lighting design, there is no more straightforward solution quite like the humble ceiling light. Ceiling lights are vital providers of ambient light and, when used correctly, can provide a consistent blanket of visible light that makes the entire space comfortable.
At Steel Lighting Co., we believe that bigger is always better when it comes to barns. Our Manhattan steel ceiling light is the perfect addition to any barn and can be used to provide a gorgeous volume of light for a barn of any size. These steel farmhouse lights are designed for high ceilings and work best at a height of approximately 15-feet, making them ideal for barns and farmhouses with high roofs.
Combine this with our wall-mounted variant, the Redondo, and you have a lighting plan that can make your barn visible and comfortable at every hour of the day. The Redondo especially thrives in barns that look to have their illumination taken outside, sitting princely above barn doors or windows when fitted with a gooseneck style arm.
Working with Your Hands
As we said before, a barn is a place for some hard work. That means having just a few ceiling lights might not necessarily cut it. Having a smaller, more intimate fixture can do wonders for completing fiddly or complex tasks and makes the experience of using a workbench much easier and safer.
In that case, our Westchester fixture might be the perfect companion for any budding mechanic or handyman. The broad head of the Westchester, coupled with its wall mounting and optional gooseneck arm, make it perfect for closer work and an ideal solution for task-orientated lighting.
In the case of a farmhouse, wall-mounted fixtures are equally helpful and provide a crucial layer of light that covers the areas that are likely to be missed by even the most oversized ceiling lights. Consider placing these in spaces such as the kitchen or laundry room, where a lot of work will be needed, and the more lighting available, the better.
That’s it for our guide on how to best approach your lighting for a modern barn or farmhouse. However, if you need help making the right choice of lighting for your home or business, then contact our friendly team at Steel Lighting Co., our friendly team of experts would be more than happy to give some advice and recommendations on what kind of steel barn light can best suit your home or business needs.