There are a lot of aspects to consider before designing the lighting for a house. Of course, it needs to add beauty to spaces, but more importantly, it should be efficient. While natural light is the best source of illumination in any house, one needs to build in sufficient artificial illumination to complement it. How do you decide on which type of lighting is ideal for a room? Will the lighting fixtures suit the design style of your house? Can you combine several types of lighting within a space? These are questions for which homeowners seek answers.
To help you decide on the perfect lighting for your house, we’ve put together this ideabook.
A common mistake that many homeowners make is to focus on using lighting to add beauty to the space. As a result, the lighting might prove inefficient for performing simple tasks. Therefore, it’s vital to focus primarily on people when designing the lighting for a space as this will help to decide the functions that lighting will provide. For example, in a bedroom, creating a beautiful false ceiling with recessed lighting will make the room look stylish, but it won’t provide sufficient direct lighting when you want to read at bedtime. Once the desired efficiency is achieved, you can incorporate lighting to highlight the architecture or art in a room.
You can use several types of lighting to create layers within the room so that it is efficient as well as elegant. In general, lighting can be categorized into four primary types:
Ambient lighting: This refers to the soft, diffused light that fills the entire room and minimizes shadows. It creates warmth and comfort within a space. Natural light is the best source of ambient lighting. However, you need to have alternative solutions to keep the room illuminated after sundown.
Task lighting: Like the name suggests, this type of lighting provides the additional illumination required to complete a task. Lighting that illuminates the countertop in a kitchen to allow you to work in comfort and without risking injury is an example of task lighting. Similarly, task lighting is essential on a study desk or even in a reading area.
Accent lighting: This type of lighting is used to highlight or draw attention to specific items in the room. These could be paintings, photographs, architectural details or even a flower arrangement.
Decorative lighting: This best describes lights that are used primarily to beautify the room. Chandeliers are the best example of decorative lighting as they are installed with the sole purpose of adding a stunning feature to the room.
Besides the four primary sources, you can employ a few other techniques to add interest to a room’s design. These include:
Wall washing: This is a technique used by interior designers to create ambient light in a space. The lights are placed so that they shine directly on the wall. This results in diffused light filling up the space.
Silhouetting: Placing light behind an object to create a dramatic play of light and shadow is a technique used to bring an interesting decorative element to a space.
Grazing: In this technique, a narrow beam of light is used to highlight the wall texture.
In a bedroom, you need to have brightness during the day and a soothing or romantic ambiance at night. Besides natural light, you should have a soft background light that keeps the area illuminated. You can use accent lights to focus on decorative features such as a unique headboard. Additionally, the bedroom can benefit from task lighting, whether it’s a reading lamp built into the headboard or recessed lighting along the floor at the entrance of the room. Dimmer switches are essential for bedrooms as it helps to control the brightness and is an easy solution for creating a soothing feel or a romantic setting inside the space.
Get ideas for creating lighting for every mood.
The living area needs a combination of different lighting types. After all, the room serves several purposes such as relaxing, socialising and entertaining visitors. Earlier, a chandelier or a central pendant was an essential feature in the lighting design of a living room, but nowadays, it’s more common to see layers created through a combination of floor lamps, uplights, downlights, picture lights, concealed lighting as well as task lighting. Using a perfect mix of lighting layers can create a stylish and cosy feel in a living room.
In a dining room, the table is the primary focus, so hanging pendant lights or a ring light over the table is an excellent way to highlight it. Additionally, you can use techniques such as wall washing to create ambient lighting or use spotlights or picture lights to draw attention to decorative features such as a classy sideboard or a beautiful picture. Wall sconces can be added to provide more brightness whenever it is required.
Kitchens need a mix of task lighting and accent or decorative lighting that adds style to the space. Fix fluorescent lights or recessed lights under the top cabinets so that they illuminate the workspace. To supplement this, you can use downlights to draw attention to the texture or the colour of cabinets. Pendant lights can be installed over an island or the eat-in area of the kitchen to infuse cosiness into the space.
Find inspiration for your kitchen from these kitchen lighting ideas.
Choosing the right type of lighting fixtures can help to enhance the style of a room. For instance, for a home with a classic design-style, vintage light fixtures such as chandeliers, wall sconces, flush and ceiling mounted lampshades, antique pendants, metal lampshades and lantern-style lamps for the outdoors are the most suitable options.
Similarly, for a rustic home, D-I-Y ideas such as lanterns installed on the headboard to serve as reading lights, a table lamp with a driftwood base, a recycled chandelier or upcycled wine bottles as pendant lights are some ideas that can be used to add to the theme of the room.
In any house, you need to plan the lighting at the time of designing the interiors so that you can incorporate layers to create the desired effect. Of course, you want the lighting to make your rooms look more beautiful, but not at the cost of efficiency. Asking the following questions will help you to get a better perspective on the factors to be included:
- How much natural light does the room have?
- What tasks will you perform in the room?
- What features do you want to highlight?
- Are they any features in the room that you want to hide?
- What sort of lighting do you prefer?
- Is there a type of lighting that you dislike?
Running through these questions with your interior architect or designer will help you to get a clearer idea about the lighting design that is perfect for each room in your house.