Effective lighting can make or break an interior design scheme. It can update a room in no time, without having to change anything more, but it is also very easy to get it wrong. Poorly lit, even beautiful, furnishings look cold and uninviting. This guide helps you helps you get it right.
What Type Of Lighting Do I Need?
What Type Of Lighting Do I Need?
The short answer is that all rooms require various types of lighting; ambient light, as the main light, but also task lighting, perhaps beside a reading chair or on a desk and finally, accent lighting if you have a particular feature, such as a painting, that you want to highlight.
Dare To Be Different
Redecorating is a chance to be creative. There is a huge range of modern ceiling lights available these days to suit any budget, but aside from the style of the light itself, be adventurous with the position, too. Try lighting stairs or corridors at floor level, similar to aeroplanes, or adding lights to bookcases. It is a great way to create atmosphere.
Vary The Height
A room has far more impact if the lighting is on different levels. In a living room, for example, you might have low-level lighting to add interest, perhaps even in the floor, then table lamps, maybe wall lights and then ceiling lights. Without the levels, the decor risks becoming flat; not what you want if you have spent a lot of time and money choosing colour schemes and fabrics.
Beware Too Much of A Good Thing
Table lamps are great in a living room for adding light to different seating areas, but choose lampshades carefully; imagine accessorising an expensive suit as poor quality shoes or the wrong handbag and everything looks cheap. Too many lampshades will also be very distracting!
Spotlights are very fashionable at the moment, but can be used too much in one scheme. They are used to their best when then accent a feature, a mirror or piece of artwork. Too many and the light becomes overpowering.
Be Careful In Key Areas
There are some areas in a typical home that will require additional thought because of how they are used or the volume of traffic in them:
- Often narrow
- Sometimes steep, with corners
- Risk of shadows (and danger) if light is poor
They are a great place to display art, however, so consider some beautiful spotlighting
- A social space
- Aim for atmospheric lighting
- Works best if flexible so fit dimmer switches
The benefits of lighting-created atmosphere are lost if the room is too dark to see what is for dinner!
- A great example of a room requiring task and ambient lighting
- 'Zones' in the bathroom require different levels of water-resistance
Lighting is often left until the end of a decorating scheme, but hopefully this article shows it is worth more consideration at the beginning of a project. Careful planning and some clever shopping can set off the rest of the decor beautifully. Don't forget to include natural light in the scheme and once you have looked at how the light falls at different times of the day, you might even want to move your furniture!
Peter Smith writes regularly on style-related topics for various websites and blogs. He specialises in interior design and loves the way good lighting can change a room. He has recently redesigned the bedroom in his home and was impressed with the huge range of modern ceiling lights available.