Lighting, when planned and used correctly, can work wonders in a living space. It can raise the aesthetic appeal, change the mood and even increase the perceived size of a room. With the right placement and style, you can enhance the colours, size and furniture of the room to create the perfect combination of functionality and style.
Read on to learn more about lighting — the basics, the different types, and some handy tips.
You can use lighting to bring out or tone down the overall colours of a room, or enhance a particular area. Darker-coloured walls make a room feel smaller and confined, while lighter walls do the opposite — to create an ‘illusion of space’.
Lights can help you highlight specific elements. For example, track lighting — where lamps with adjustable necks can be pointed at specific elements such as a wall painting or a vase of flowers.
Lighting needs to serve a specific purpose. It’s important to identify the appropriate type of illumination your living space requires. For example, chandeliers are perfect for large rooms because they’re are designed to throw light over the entire area. Consider the style of lighting you want and ensure you get the best directional or luminescent type for the room. Look into task-specific lighting for desks and other work areas where functionality is more important than overall room illumination.
Both natural and man-made lighting helps create an illusion of space. If your room doesn’t have sufficient lighting, it can feel cramped. Corner lamps, wall sconces and centrally hanging lights on the ceiling can help brighten a room if natural lighting is not available. To bring in more natural light consider skylights and large windows or use sheer drapes and curtains.
Now that we have understood some key aspects to lighting, let’s take a look at the three main types:
● General Lighting — provides overall light to the room
● Task Lighting — offers enough illumination to perform specific tasks such as reading or cooking
● Accent Lighting — highlights a particular focal point such as a wall painting
Combining these three types can help you create well-balanced lighting for your interiors.
The goal of general lighting is to provide even lighting to a room. This can come from upward and downward-facing lights.
● Upward-facing lights comprise torchieres and wall sconces
● Downward-facing lights include recessed lights (cans) and track lights
● Some lights, such as table and floor lamps, are versatile because they cast light toward both the ceiling and the floor
Pro Tip: Always use dimmers with ambient lighting. This way you can adjust the level of illumination based on the time of day or mood you’d like to create.
Task light should be three times as bright as general lighting to provide enough illumination for you to work easily.
● Table lamps and floor lamps are perfect for reading in living areas and bedrooms
● Pendant and under-cabinet lighting can be used in kitchens to illuminate cooking and food preparation areas
● Task lighting for bathrooms include bath bars and sconces. For a contemporary look consider adding a pendant light
Pro Tip: Good task lighting fixture choices are well-positioned, recessed lights, track lighting, pendants, table or floor lamps, and under-cabinet lighting strips.
Accent lighting is best used to highlight art, textured walls and architectural features.
● Place a light below or behind an accent wall, a striking piece of art or another object. This will create a prominent halo effect
● Use a bulb that’s no more than three times as bright as the surrounding ambient light
● Position the fixture in such a way that light doesn’t block your line of sight so that no glaring reflections bounce back
Pro Tip: Halogen makes the best accent light because of its intensity and brilliance.
By layering these three types of lighting and keeping the basics in mind, you can solve a very important piece of the interior design puzzle. Go ahead, try using what you’ve learnt here and transform your home into a perfectly lit space!