The lighting you choose can transform your home, yet it’s something many people struggle with. Lighting also has a powerful effect on the ambiance of a room and how you feel in a space, so it is worth taking the time to get it absolutely right. Here are eight ways to upgrade your lighting so that your rooms look their best and make you feel your best too.
And this Saturday for my Live Q&A on Instagram I’ll be chatting with Lighting expert Rocky Wall of Wink to get his tips and tricks for choosing the right lighting for all different types of spaces in your home inside and out.
Get the balance right
The trick is to get the balance of artificial and natural light right. Too much artificial light will result in a space that feels clinical. But if it is under-lit, everything will appear gloomy and uninviting.
There are four main ways to light your home: ambient, task, accent and decorative and each one provides an entirely different lighting effect. To decide which option is right for you, first determine what the area is going to be used for and let this dictate how to light the space.
Have different light sources
When planning your lighting scheme, a good rule of thumb is not to rely solely on ambient lighting. Ambient lighting is a purely functional form of lighting that provides overall illumination for space. It is generally achieved either by overhead pendants or spotlights.
If ambient lighting is your only lighting source, you will find that you have dark spots in your room. To avoid this, make sure you include different sources of secondary lighting such as floor and table lamps. Not only will this help to dress a room but it will also help to create atmosphere.
Don’t over light a space
Avoid the temptation to over light a room with too many fixed downlights – the result will be harsh and will tend to create glare. Instead, position directional fittings, so they light the walls to reflect light back into the room. These types of fittings can also be used to provide accent lighting, which highlights architectural features, artworks, or pictures in the room.
Include task lighting for working
Task or ‘directional’ lighting provides a focused source of illumination in an area where a task needs to be carried out. For example, in a home office or study space for working at a desk, above the kitchen worktop, or in the bathroom around a mirror.
Add impact with decorative lighting
Decorative lighting is both a source of illumination and a feature in its own right. A good example is a pendant light over a dining table or in a hallway. The positioning of a decorative light is very important, so think carefully about where you will locate your fixture. Remember it’s going to be a standout piece so take time to plan it’s location precisely.
Make sure you can control your lighting
Wherever possible, replace standard switches with dimmers. This will allow you to control the light quality in the room, be it low light, ambient light to relax and entertain, or brighter light to read and work.
Not all bulbs are the same.
Your choice of bulb is also very important. Different bulbs have different colour temperatures from warm to cool. The colour temperature of the bulb will have a significant impact on the look and feel of your décor – so choosing the right bulbs is of the utmost importance.
A standard incandescent bulb will give a warm yellow light, perfect for a cosy living room or bedroom. A CFL (compact fluorescent light) or LED will typically give off a whiter light – better for bathrooms and kitchens. However, there are new varieties of LED bulbs on the market now which replicate the warmer light and some colour changing versions also.
My personal favourite is the Philips LED light bulbs which provide a beautiful, warm white light, give an exceptionally long life, and immediate energy savings. Not only will your rooms look great but you’ll be saving money too.
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