Lighting is something that is often overlooked when styling our homes but plays a very important part in defining the mood of a room. The right lighting can add depth and texture to even the blandest of spaces.
Have you ever thought about the lighting in a supermarket? The stark white light used by retailers to make you feel alert and more likely to buy from them – Or the soft lighting in restaurants making you feel at ease and wanting to linger over the desert menu? These are just a couple of examples of how lighting can affect the feel of a space.
Lighting is a rather lengthily subject but I have tried to condense in down into a few points to consider when adding lighting to your home. You’ll be amazed at how it can transform a room!
TYPES OF ARTIFICIAL LIGHTS
There are 3 main types of artifical lighting so i thought i would give a brief outline of these…
General lighting- this usually comes in the form of a ceiling light. Very functional and used to give light to a space when there is a lack of natural light. Used solely on its own it can be quite boring but serves a purpose.
Task Lighting- this is a direct beam of light that targets an area for specific tasks. Used in Kitchens to highlight work surfaces, dining areas and other parts of the house where activities such as reading/ writing take place. Task lighting comes in the forms of spot lights, pendants and floor or desk lamps.
Accent lighting- mainly used for decorative effect. Used to highlight areas or objects of interest such as artwork, architectural features or ornaments. These come in the forms of lamps, uplighters, LED strip lights or downlighters.
WHAT ACTIVITES TAKE PLACE IN A ROOM?
Now you have a basic idea of the types of lighting available the next step is to consider what type of activities happen in each room. This will impact your decision when it comes to lighting types.
For instance do you enjoy reading in bed? Has your bathroom got adequate lighting for you to shave/ apply make up etc?
Your living room may be somewhere that you go to relax and watch tv so you may just require soft lighting. Or do you have some architectural details that you would like to highlight?
Once you have established what types of activities will be carried out in each room you can focus on the style of lighting.
INSTALL A DIMMER SWITCH
As functional as overhead ceiling lights are, they don’t offer much when it comes to ambiance. My first tip would be to install a dimmer switch (well, ask a professional). This will enable you to control the amount of light given off and create a softer feel to the room. These are ideal for living and dining rooms when you want to create a sense of intimacy. Just remember that not all light fittings are dimmable so this is something to look into when buying your light fitting.
CREATE A FOCAL POINT
Adding a beautiful chandelier or a contemporary light shade can create the feeling of grandeur and turn a boring light fitting into a wonderful talking point! ( just take into account the ceiling height). Hallways are an excellent example of where this will work as it is the first room that guests will walk into and will set the tone for the rest of the house.
LAYER UP YOUR LIGHTING
Using a combination of different types of lighting can really add drama to a room! This will create highlights and shadows that will add different dimensions and texture. Think of a floor lamp directed over an arm chair- a perfect reading space, down lighters over your beautiful artwork, a table lamp on your favorite console table. All of a sudden you have yourself a room that feels intimate and cozy. You could even add some candle light for good measure!
USE LIGHTING TO CREATE DIFFERENT ‘ZONES’
The way we live has changed over the years and people are no longer wanting the separate rooms that our older properties provide, but are in favor of large open plan layouts which have become the hub of the home. Sometimes these rooms can seem difficult to style due to the size of them and quite often feel cold and lifeless.
One way in which we can inject some atmosphere into these large areas is to separate them into zones with lighting. The kitchen zone could have task lighting -perhaps in the form of downlighters over the work surfaces and kitchen island. Open shelves or glass cabinets would look great with LED strip lights to highlight your displays. The dining zone could have pendant lighting over the dinner table which is controlled by a dimmer switch. A separate seating area where people go to relax would benefit from a table or floor lamp to add a little warmth and intimacy. So as you can see, you can begin to visualize how lighting can work to enhance certain spaces- even in the largest of rooms.
My final tip is always consider the temperature of the lights you are fitting. Most bulbs come in a range of temperatures but usually they will specify ‘warm white’ and ‘cool white’. Warm white is the most popular colour temperature as it creates more of an ambient glow. This light is best suited to areas where you want to relax such as bedrooms and living rooms.
Cool white is a brighter, whiter light which is more commonly used in task areas such as reading lamps and kitchen areas. This colour is closer to natural sunlight so is a good choice for rooms that don’t benefit from much natural light.
My advice would be to try and use the same colour temperature in any one room where possible, to create balance and harmony throughout the space.
Well I hope you have found these lighting tips useful and enjoy putting them into practice. Once you have discovered the art of lighting your home will be transformed!
I would love to know how you get on so please feel free to leave a comment.