[Weekender] Lights, the quickest way to transform a room

By Lim Jeong-yeo

Lights determine the mood of a living space, create subtle partitions within one-rooms

  • Published : Jun 15, 2018 - 15:15
  • Updated : Jun 26, 2018 - 19:25

Light is what surrounds us and fills the space we are in. Yet we seldom pay attention to its importance or the effect it casts on the things it touches. In interior design, lights are coordinated not only to brighten up the space, but also to direct people’s gaze and to illuminate or shadow objects.

For Kwon Ho-jung, a 29-year-old office worker in Seoul, multiple lightings go beyond the role of illuminating her living space. Kwon’s is one of the increasing one-person households in urban Korea. As the sole occupant of her flat, Kwon does not need a massive space, and so she lives in a semi-underground one-room. Where the sunlight does not reach, Kwon has placed jars of scented candles to add warmth, and to draw an intangible line between the kitchen, the living room and the bedroom.

“The lights cast from my lamps are what partitions the room according to the purpose of the space. Lights are the quickest way to transform the ambiance of a room,” Kwon said, adding that she alternates between moods by brightening and dimming the lights in different corners of the room, like how the lightings work on a stage for a play.

The lights for a bedroom and a study cannot be the same. A representative from Vittz, a lights company that has fast expanded with social media marketing, said that while unity has its effect on the overall mood of interior designing, using different lights for living room, dining room and bedroom can be useful to set the right tone for each space. “Lights are central to determining the ambiance of a space,” he said.

About 60 people sign up every month to create customized decorative electroluminescent lights. (Spantastic Place)

Kim Hee-hyen, a 26-year-old office worker living on her own, thinks that lights take up 70 percent of a room’s identity. Kim is sensitive to her surrounding space, and has filled her room with objects matching her taste, such as a deep green plush couch and a selection of foliage and soft, yellow lights to illuminate the key objects inside her safe place.

“I believe the space I live in reflects the person I am,” said Kim. Recently, she has begun to think about creating a customized centerpiece lighting that would speak for her character. “I want to add my personal colors to the room, to walk in to it and know that this place belongs to me,” she said.

About 60 people sign up every month to create customized decorative electroluminescent lights. (Spantastic Place)

Kim has been looking into the neon sign lights used as decorative interior lighting. The thought of the light stuck with her ever since Kim first saw one in celebrated comedian Park Na-rae’s house, unveiled in a TV program.

Park‘s house was accentuated with the neon light that was shaped to spell “Narae Bar” in pinkish strobe. Bringing in the throbbing neon colors indoors to a house is a novel concept in Korea, but thanks to Park’s bold attempt, more Korean are giving it a try.

Shin Yun-jung, 29, is the CEO of a “do it yourself” craft class for making electroluminescent wire lights. Shin has seen a steady demand from those in 20s and 30s who are interested in room decorations, who likes the subculture that is associated with neon lights, namely social drinks and tropical vibes.

Shin Yun-jung, CEO of Spantastic Place, a D-I-Y lights craft workshop. (Lim Jeong-yeo/The Korea Herald)

“The class-takers bring the designs they prepared and at the class we draw it on paper and trace the design with EL wires,” Shin explained, showing examples of the neon lights one can make. A sign pulsated the word “Youth” in Korean, with a red flame burning on top of it. Another showed the lines of a woman’s face, dancing dolphins and more words in Korean.

Each one-off class lasts for two hours and Shin only takes in about six people per class, even though she gets some 60 applicants per month.

“Lights are like filters on the mobile phone cameras. An interior design could have its mood defined by the kind of lights one chooses to use,” Shin said, turning on and off the light of an orange colored sign reading “Rise & Fall.”

By Lim Jeong-yeo (