Lighting is often something that’s overlooked until the final stages of one's home renovation. The range of lighting options is huge and can quickly become overwhelming. How do you get it right?
Proper lighting enhances the decorating scheme in every room of your home. The right lighting transforms the space, creating a specific ambience depending on the type of light and bulb chosen.
Lighting in your home can be as simple or as sophisticated as you wish - it's all about creating the right mood and doing so in the best possible style. Here’s what you need to know.
There are three different types of lighting:
General lighting pretty much means the lighting source which provides the area’s main illumination. Typically located in the centre of the room in a symmetrical and even placement, its purpose is to ensure the entire room well-lit. Bulbs used for this type of lighting are often downlights and fluorescent lights.
Task lighting focuses light on areas where specific activities like reading and cooking are carried out. Its purpose is to enable you to better accomplish those activities and to reinforce a certain atmosphere in the room. Some examples of task lighting include table lamps and under-cabinet lighting.
This type of lighting is used to highlight special, decorative objects such as art sculptures and paintings. Accent lights come in the form of spotlights, where a strong light is focused on the object in question.
What are the different light bulbs to choose from:
Incandescent bulbs give off a warm, yellow light and are used for interior lighting. However, they are the least energy-efficient and only last for around 800 hours. This type of bulb works best as floor or table lamps, as well as chandeliers.
This cool, bright, energy-efficient light are perfect for areas that are not as important for task or mood lighting. Such areas include basements and minor hallways. Each lamp lasts long and does not require frequent replacement.
Though expensive, these bulbs last the longest and are very energy-saving as it emits bright light with small wattages. In addition, they make colours look great. Consisting of a semiconductor circuit that emits light when electricity is powered, LED lights do not cause excessive heat. Therefore, they are a great option as rooms fitted with these lights will not warm up easily. LED lights come in very diverse colours, ranging from white, yellow, red, to blue.
Halogen bulbs are often used to provide a spotlight on artistic objects in the house. Available in yellow and white light, it provides warm light but can get hot to touch. Furthermore, it consumes high levels of energy.
Tips on choosing lights for different areas of the house:
ENTRANCES, STAIRS, AND STAIRCASE LANDINGS
As these are typically the least decorated areas of a home, consider using lights to create an aesthetic appeal. A good option would be a general light with a statement design as its fixture, like a chandelier. You can also apply a layering technique which involves the use of several light sources to liven up the room. Besides using just a general light, consider adding an accent light such as a table lamp.
Communal spaces like living rooms are where diverse activities are carried out. Create an inviting mood by subtly combining general lighting along with accent lights. You can also mix and match with table lamps and floor lamps. However, do note that if the living room is small, one general light is enough to illuminate the room. On the other hand, if you have a high ceiling, choose a larger lamp pendant. The layering technique works for living rooms as well; you can add a standing lamp to provide more lighting to darker corners of the room.
Dining rooms need to be a comfortable place where the family can gather and chat over meals. To achieve an inviting atmosphere, have the main lights hang right in the middle of the dining room. Note that the lamp has to be installed at least 60cm from the table surface. For a more comfortable feel, have general lights that hang from the ceiling and accent lighting around the circumference of the room. Choose the right intensity of lights as well – you don’t want it too bright nor too dim.
General lighting with good light intensity is crucial for the kitchen area. Ensure the kitchen is well-lit by installing sufficient lights. Add supplementary lighting under the hanging cabinet or cooker hood.
Choose lights that give off a comfortable and relaxed atmosphere. Wall lights and table lamps are good choices for bedrooms. You may also want to choose lights with a special setting that allows a dimming function.
STUDY ROOM/ WORKING SPACE
When studying or working, it is important to have lighting which helps you to focus and concentrate. Install general lighting to brighten up the whole room, and add a supplementary table lamp or reading light. Ensure that it is bright enough so that you do not spoil your eyesight.
Some lights such as halogen bulbs generate lots of heat and are extremely bright. Avoid such lights as the heat generated will warm the bathroom up quickly. Instead, install general lighting and place the switch outside the bathroom for safety reasons. Avoid decorative lamps with complicated designs as they may make cleaning a lot more difficult. Bathroom lights cannot have wood, leather or fabric finishings as well, as it is susceptible to mould when in contact with moisture.