How to light your home
By Sadira Sittampalam
As cliché as it sounds, good lighting is everything. Lighting affects so much in your home from the ambience, atmosphere and mood of a space; lighting is one of the most fundamental elements. Brighter lights can make you feel alert and awake, whereas dimmer, softer lights can be relaxing and sleep-inducing. When you get your lighting right, the whole look of your interior will improve. This article will take you through some of the best tips on how to utilise your lighting effectively so that your home can feel bigger and warmer.
Make a lighting plan
This is useful for people who are starting from scratch or planning on redecorating. First off, you should create a mini-plan that tackles the essentials; think about what you are going to be doing in the room you are going to light differently (e.g. eating in the dining room, relaxing in the living room). Then you should think about the key features of the room that you would like to highlight, as well as any obvious boundaries that you will need to take into account considering what you will be doing in the room.
So, if you are going to be eating in the dining room and want to highlight your table, you should probably not get a lamp since it will interfere with the process of eating. Instead, think of alternative light placing and types so that you can eat and highlight your table without any issues. You should also consider the style of your lights, the scale, the output and even the colour temperature of the lights before you rush into any design decisions. Again, early planning makes for a lot fewer headaches as you avoid any rushed last-minute decisions that you could regret later.
Layer your lighting
In order to make any room look interesting, a great tip would be to layer your lighting. This basically means you should have different light sources across different levels. This will create an interesting ambience and make the room look more expensive. You can also use lighting to enhance a room’s size or shape. Uplighting makes a room feel much larger, clusters of lighting bunched up in a particular place make large rooms seem cosier and low hung pendants serve to create an illusion of height. So there are plenty of lighting options that you can consider to make your room look a lot nicer, as per your requirements. You should mix up your lighting as much as possible with a mix of overhead, accent and task lights to make a room bright, beautiful and functional.
As you consider the tasks you will be taking part in each room, lighting is something that can either aid or negatively affect you. Cooking is a task that requires more concentrated lighting. In my kitchen, the lights are very badly placed and therefore, whenever I’m chopping up onions, I barely see what I’m chopping up and instead see my large looming shadow on the table, making everything dark. Thus, a better option for a kitchen would be a combination of bright downlights and recess lighting, particularly in cabinets and above stovetops. This will help ensure you can see everything you are cooking. Moreover, for reading, flexible and directional lights (lights you can adjust to any direction) that are aimed away from you is best. Dimmers are also incredibly useful as they can quickly and effectively change the atmosphere and warmth of a room.
Pick the right bulbs
While most of us just end up going to the supermarket and buying whatever looks like it would fit, the bulb you pick should be more than just an afterthought. You should consider 4 things when buying a bulb. The first one is how bright you need for your space which is measured in watts. The higher the watt, the brighter it will be. If your walls are covered in cooler tones, you might want to warm them up with a lightbulb that casts a warm glow. Conversely, you may want a cooler glow to brighten up a darker space.
Then you should think about what atmosphere you are trying to achieve in terms of colour temperature (e.g. lower temperature lighting is similar to candlelight while higher temperatures are more similar to a blue sky outside). Then you should think about energy efficiency as most lights are very wasteful. You should consider this particularly for lights that are most frequently used in your home. Finally, you should consider trying to make a design or focal statement with your lights. Think; scale, shape or colours. While lots of people are afraid of adding different colours, putting in a light in a bright hue can often turn a boring or simple room into something fun and interesting. Adding lights that are also decorative elements also helps set the mood in a space.
Don’t overdo it
While there are plenty of fun choices that can spice up your home when it comes to lighting, a lot of people might accidently overdo it with their lighting choices, ending up looking like a college dorm room with too many coloured lights. Thus, you should keep to a certain theme and ensure that colour schemes and material finishing’s are consistent throughout the home. Too many different styles throughout the home can be confusing to the eye and will cause a sense of uneasiness, especially to guests who are unfamiliar with the setting. Neutral, lighter tones will open up space and make it appear larger. Statement pops of colour will add interest, but too many colours make it look uncoordinated. Darker hues also add a touch of luxury and cosiness. Whatever you decide, keep it simple and consistent. One of the biggest mistakes that are made with lighting is adding too much overhead lighting, as it can create a lot of spots and unwanted shadows. Instead, hanging a large pendant fixture or a chandelier in common areas is a better alternative.
Fill up empty corners with lights
When you have an empty and awkward corner, one of the best tricks is to transform the space with a large floor lamp. This lamp should be complementary to the surrounding space, so make sure it fits in with your home style. Through this simple trick, an otherwise sad corner can become a polished part of your room. The best types of lamps add ambience rather than light, giving a room a low yet refined lighting style. You still need to consider things like the size, shape, height, colour and fitting of the lampshade as well. To make a good decision, you need to take a few sample shades home and see what colour will fit the best. The colour of the lampshade also affects the light, so it is better to stick to warmer fabrics.