As any interior designer will tell you, lighting is a critical characteristic of any well thought out living space; it has the capability to alter the mood of a room just as it does the size of a room
Applying accurate kind of lighting and making sure that it is correctly placed is not a simple task
Lights affect the colour palette, room size, layout, choice of fabric and furniture selection; therefore it has to be done in conjunction with each other. When each of these elements are brought together cohesively, the outcome is a fluid, seamless interior space
Firstly, let us understand the 3 basic categories of lighting:
- Ambient Lighting: This light provides general light in the room, whether it is natural light from windows & doors or artificial light from light fixtures. This light brightens the entire space of the room and is used to provide light for general tasks like walking, folding clothes, packing a bag, etc. Examples include Concealed LED Lights, Tube Lights, Chandeliers, etc.
- Task Lighting: This light provides focused light for a specific task. This is directional bright light which helps you avoid eye strain. As the name suggest, it is used while performing a specific task and therefore used occasionally. Examples include reading lamps, dresser lights, wardrobe lights, etc. While this type of lighting is critical, it is often overlooked as ambient light can seem sufficient enough
- Accent Lighting: This is used primarily for the aesthetic value as it creates visual interest and also sets the mood of a room. As the name suggests, this lighting is used to emphasise an object or area whether it be artwork or dark corners or certain furniture pieces. It can also be used as a centre piece itself, to add drama to a room. Examples include LED Strips under furniture, Spot Lights focused on certain items, table lamps, etc.
To achieve a harmonious, functional and well lit room, it is essential to layer all of these lights effectively. Every room has a different function and therefore the mix of lighting depends on how it is used.
The living room is used to hang out with family, watch TV, entertain guests and in many cases, has a dining area too. We suggest LED concealed ambient lighting placed such that it throws light across the entire space. Considering the versatility of this room, it generally does not have a single focal point. To create visual interest, create different focal points within the room.
You can combine a task and accent light by placing a pendant lamp from the ceiling to the centre of the dining table or you can place a smart table lamp on a coffee table. A living room, if large enough, is a great place to have a floor lamp too. Table lamps and floor lamps with adjustable heads can also double up as task lights for different functions.
Moving on to bedrooms, here again we recommend general or ambient lighting in the form of strategically placed concealed LEDs. If your room is small and it is a constraint to place lights for each task, consider wall mounted task lamps or directional lighting from the ceiling that can be used for multiple tasks. You can use goose neck reading lamps mounted on the headboard, freeing up space from your night stands.
Task lighting is very critical to any kitchen. We suggest using of LED strip lights above the hob or recessed lights just above the kitchen platform, such that focused light is available across the counter. One cannot forget adding accent lights in the kitchen or else it can stand out as plaid, especially when the rest of the house has been tuned to match a certain mood or function. Make sure to add nice wall scones or a nice pendant lamp to add visual appeal to this extremely functional space.
And some more points to keep in mind while planning your home lighting –
Color: To have the kitchen and bathroom well illuminated, add cool tones so that the space is bright and functional. In the bedroom, it is best to opt for warm tones as it boosts relaxation. If you are unable to decide, you can choose something in the middle for a blended design.
For a flexible cost effective solution, consider a track light that allows you to place several pendants lights on a single track and gives you the liberty to move and position the lights along the track when you want. This can also turn into a dramatic focal point in a room if done well.
Think about using dimmers. It allows you to control usage and therefore your power bill. Also it helps you change the mood of your room with a single switch. Smartly, an ambient light can be brightened to perform as a task light.
Recessed lights are our best recommendation for ambient lights in all rooms as they occupy less space, they are cheaper and they give the room a spacious air as there is no visual clutter. Correct placement on reflective surfaces can enhance the room light and space.
If you have very tight floor or table space, make use of your wall by placing adjustable wall scones to serve as task or accent lights.
Remember, while planning home lighting it is critical to create flexible options that can adapt to the usage patterns and moods. Whether it is the kind of fixture, colour, brightness or position, the aim is to create an attractive, stimulating room through the smart use of light.