Light is one of the most important elements in our daily lives, yet so many homes suffer from insufficient, poorly planned or bad lighting. But it doesn’t mean you can just add a bunch of lamps to your home and everything is settled. The saying “the more the merrier” doesn’t necessary apply in this case. The key is to find that right balance between functionality, ambience, natural, comfort and style.
When it comes to interior design, lighting is actually the most crucial step. It should be planned at an early stage rather than later when all other objects have found its spot. By doing this you can bring your space to a whole other level and create fascinating scenes. Well planned lighting in your home doesn’t only provide comfort and atmosphere, it also lowers energy consumption and cut down on cost. However, not everyone has the time, recourses or energy to follow all the steps to a perfect home, so we have collected a list of 5 basic tips that will help you on the way to a better lit home!
1. Know the four basics
General Lighting- General lighting radiates a comfortable level of brightness, enabling one to see and walk around safely. Suitable fixtures would be; Traditional big lamp/ pendant lamp in the center of the ceiling, wall washers, floor lamps with soft light or fixtures that you direct towards the wall or ceiling to create an indirect reflecting light.
Task Lighting- Illuminates a particular area aimed at a specific task, like food preparation, reading and working/studying. Suitable fixtures to be used for this; reading lamps, spot-lights, pendant lamps and desk lamps.
Decorative Lighting- Probably the most fun of them all (if you love home decor). Decorative lighting draws attention to itself and can sometimes be the centerpiece of a room. This is the category where you can really show off your personal style and mix and match with other materials, colors and details in your home. Suitable fixtures: Pendant lamps, table lamps, light chains, floor lamps, chandeliers, lanterns etc.
Accent light- With this kind of fixtures, you want to create atmosphere and mood by focusing attention to particular objects. For example: Enhancing some of your artwork, a design piece or architectural features, also to spotlight paintings, houseplants or highlight the texture of a wall. Suitable fixtures; Ranging from track, spot, downlights, pendants, recessed or wall mounted lighting to candles, lanterns and other mood enhancing light.
2. Layer the light
In interior design terms, layering means putting together different textures, colors, materials etc. to create visual balance in the room. So basically layering light is all about combining the 4 basic types of lighting to create atmosphere in your home while providing useful light for different types of activities throughout the day. Start by identifying the main activity or the focal point for each and every room, this is where the brightest layer should be directed (task & accent light). The next step is a middle layer of light, this will be specific areas that you wish to light up without distracting the focal points and then the last layer is the background light (general light). When these layers are all in place you can add the fun decorative lighting.
3. Dimmers are your best friend
When it comes to creating atmosphere and visual balance as mentioned above, it is essential to use dimmers throughout your home. They let you easily change mood and feel of a room. It is also important to be able to adjust the light depending on what time of the day it is, especially during the very dark winters or the very bright summers. Dimmers also help you save energy and extend the lives of the bulbs.
4. Interact with materials
The impact on a room when light interacts with different materials, surfaces, finishes, colors and textiles is magical. This is when you can truly create visual communication and add a whole new color and feeling to a room by reflecting the light (natural and artificial). The lights ability to reflect depends on the color, material and finish of a surface. A general rule of thumb is; white/light surfaces reflects light and therefore requires less light. Black/dark surfaces absorb light and requires more light. A dark ceiling creates a lower wall height and requires more lighting fixtures spread out in the room.
5. Study the natural light
Lastly, but most importantly. Always take advantage of the natural light entering a room, this is the true light that makes us humans feel good. Before planning your lighting, study how the daylight moves inside the room. The corners or areas with the most sunshine coming in should be the area where you place your lighting fixtures.
So when it gets darker outside, the same area as during the day will be lit up properly, not creating too much contrast for the eyes, meaning throughout the whole day it is more or less the same light. However, at night you need to complement with more background light to create a smooth transition from day to night.