Lighting up Your Home

It often surprises me to what extent people neglect lighting when it comes to redecorating, refurbishing or just sprucing up their homes. Imagine a room in total darkness. What can you see? Exactly, so why spend money on furnishings, paint jobs and soft furnishings and then just have the room lit by the dull grey light of day (if you’re in the UK- that’s 70% of the time) or a main light in the middle of the ceiling?

As part of your plans for giving your rooms a makeover, make sure that you add lighting into the plans (what?? You don’t plan first??!). Things can go awry if you just impulse buy bits of furniture, paints of a nice colour, and lighting that takes your fancy. The key word (after planning) is coordination. Make sure that everything will compliment everything else (and yes, you can have the occasional statement stark contrast within reason). It’s all about what mood you want to create in each room.

I would argue that one of the most important elements in home interior decorating is home lighting. Lighting is a vital factor in setting the mood of any room. When deciding what lighting to use in your new home think about how each room will be used and by whom. This will allow you to choose fixtures that fit your style, budget, enhance your architectural features and are energy efficient and functional.  As an example, there’s no point having a bedroom that is lit with coloured LEDs and not much else, if it also needs to be used as a mini-office with a bright white light source.To ensure you create the right effect in every room, check out the four basic types of

home lighting: Natural, ambient, task and accent.

Natural lighting comes through windows, doors, and skylights and depending on the time of day, season, or weather, it can vary in brightness and intensity. It can be one of the most difficult to increase without having new windows to the outside installed, but if you have a dull room, that is not overlooked, consider removing the net curtains, or replacing heavy curtains that encroach on the window’s area with blinds.

Ambient or general lighting illuminates the whole room. Because you will want to vary the amount of overall light in a rooms as you do different things in it (eat, watch TV, read etc) install a dimmer so that you have the flexibility to adjust the brightness. Ambient lighting doesn’t have to be boring- you can have excellent recessed, cove lighting, soffit lighting, valance lighting, wall light, sconces, surface-mounted lights, pendant lights, track lights, chandeliers, under-cabinet lights and of course table lamps and standard lamps.

Task lighting, as the name suggest is there for you to perform tasks. It should provide sufficient light to help you perform whatever the task is at hand, for example cooking, office/school work, reading, hobby and craftwork, etc. Examples of task lighting are valance lighting, recessed lighting, pendant lights, under-cabinet lights and portable lamps. Because tasks may be carried out in different parts of your home, seriously consider portable lighting such as desk lamps and lightweight standard lights with more than one spotlight bulb on them.

Accent lighting is focused lighting that is used to illuminate an object in your home like a sculpture, piece of art, an architectural element, even a craft model. Accent lighting illuminates the piece brightly but should be so focused that the area surrounding it remains significantly darker. Types of accent lighting include wall washers, sconces, track lights, and under-cabinet lights including LED strips.

Remember; plan, co-ordinate and carry out the redecoration and don’t forget your lighting!