Good lighting is one of the most important aspects of a living space. However, “lighting” is often reduced to choosing nice looking fixtures and the “light planning” is done only once the rest of the home is set, which means that we actually spend months (years!) living in a poorly lit home
Big mistake! Read on and you will see clear 😉
There are three ways to light a home:
- General lighting: typically overhead, placed somewhere at the middle of the ceiling. It provides even light to a room and allows you to move around safely.
- Task lighting: the one which helps you to complete certain tasks you do in that room
- Accent lighting: brings visual interest to a room, eg. It can highlight a painting or a nice, textured wall. It can also act as “mood lighting”
Ideally, include all three types in each room (provided they are big enough) for a perfect “layered” approach. Start asking yourself about the (potential) functions of each space and about what “feeling” the room should convey at different times of the day.
How would that look like in each room?
- Task lights under the cabinet / shelves are a must. They are super useful to illuminate the worktop while cooking – these can be dimmable too, and so help to create a nice atmosphere when you are not working.
- If you have a bar or an island, you can hang pendants (one or more, depending on how large it is) over it – voilá, functional and decorative
- Install a nice pendant as focal point (if the ceiling is high enough) and you’ll have a beautiful light source good enough for general tasks (folding clothes, tidying up.).
- Bedside lamps: be careful, they should be strong enough for you to be able to read and, at the same time, for the other one to be able to sleep 😉 Wall sconces are a trend that I am loving right now. They not only look great, but your bedside table is free for other 100 things.
- You can use a general light fixture which can be very decorative and reflect the style of the room.
- As the living room is usually a hub of activity we want to make sure that this space is properly lit for reading, watching TV, entertaining… there are so many options: what about some accent lighting in the form of a floor-lamp with a texture that casts beautiful patterned shadows in the walls? A floor lamp next to an armchair will be a perfect task lighting for reading. And some candles lit in the right moment will definitely set the mood for a nice evening!
- Apart from a general source of light which does not blind you if you go to the bathroom in the night, install lighting on both sides of the mirror, as they will give you the necessary task light for some real work (makeup, shaving…) without creating shadows.
- If you are one of the lucky ones who has a bath… include candles or some other soft, accent light!
A few more tips:
- Ideally a good lighting plan should be created before building a new home or doing a significant renovation. However, there are good ways to improve any existing lighting situation.
- Don’t forget that light fixtures play an important role in setting the tone or mood of a space. Therefore, pick the ones in a style that speaks to you and feels right in the space.
- Keep proportions in mind: an impressive industrial pendant over a small dining table would make the room look unbalanced.
- Colour temperature is also a thing, because, who wants a home that feels like a dentist room? As a rule of thumb, we can say that warm light is yellow and cool light is blue. More accurately, colour temperature is measured in Kelvin (K) and, the higher the temperature, the cooler the light. Warm light is perfect for spaces where we want to feel comfortable, whereas cool light is recommendable for areas where you want to see clearly (at a working desk).
– Nuria –