An introduction to sucessful interior lighting

An introduction to sucessful interior lighting

Lighting brings a critical element to interior design, but its impact may not always be obvious to the uninitiated. It takes a trained eye to be able to factor lighting into the design; to understand how it will affect the final product. But the effects of using lighting effectively are there for everyone to see. Here are a few interior lighting tips for those looking to bring the right atmosphere to their home design.

Know your lights

It helps to understand the different effect lighting can achieve, and to know which one applies to the particular environment you're working in. Here are a few examples from UK Home Improvement:

Task lighting: As evidenced by the name, task lighting is geared towards aiding you in the performance of various tasks; for example, a light that illuminates the workspace in the kitchen, or a reading light. Good task lighting will be bright enough to let you see without straining your eyes, but not so bright that it distracts you from the task at hand.

Ambient lighting: Also referred to as general lighting, ambient lighting helps you achieve the appropriate balance of light in a room, which means that the room will be bright but not glaringly bright. Normally, you'd want every room to have a strong source of ambient light.

Accent lighting: Accent lighting provides dramatic effect by highlighting the features of your home you want to stand out, such as paintings and architectural features. Ideally, accent lighting will be positioned in a way that allows three times as much light to fall on the object you want accentuated.

Decorative lighting: This lighting is there purely as a decoration, as opposed to actually illuminating a particular feature. An elaborate chandelier hanging over the dining room would be a good example.

As well as the different types of lighting there's a wide variety of lights to choose from, each one suited to creating a particular lighting effect. For example:

• Floor lamps can be used decoratively and as a form of task lighting if positioned beneath a workspace.

• Table lamps are a common form of task lighting.

• Wall lights are an effective form of ambient, task and accent lighting.

• Downlights are designed to illuminate the area directly beneath them.

Designing a light plan

A light plan requires a balance of practicality and aesthetics. Lights can be powerful decorative tools, but their primary purpose is to allow you to see what you're doing. Also, energy efficiency should be an important priority.

It's best to look at each room in the house and determine what lighting best suits the purpose of that room. For example:

Dining room: The appropriate lighting depends on whether you intend the dining room to be formal or casual. If formal, a few hanging chandeliers can provide the desired effect. Either way, the table should be the most illuminated spot in the room, with subtle lighting positioned elsewhere so the table remains the focus.

Kitchen: A place of work and socialising, the kitchen should be a focal point for any lighting plan. Make heavy use of downlights, floor lights and under-cabinet lighting so as to illuminate the workspace without creating distracting shadows.

Living room: Downlights should be prevalent to illuminate reading space. You'll want the living room to be well-lit, but it's important the light is adjustable so you can dim it to achieve the intended mood.

Stairs and hallways: For the purpose of safety, these areas need to be well-lit. You want anyone wandering the halls to easily be able to find their way around; else they might fall down the stairs or even worse, get lost and stumble upon the closet where your family’s skeletons are kept.

Bathroom: This is another area where lighting should be pragmatic rather than aesthetic. Sarah Stebbins suggests overhead lights to provide maximum illumination, especially in large spaces like the shower.

Bedroom: A mix of reading lamps for task lighting and an adjustable source of ambient light is the norm for bedroom lighting.

Looking for more home improvement tips, or advice on how home design may affect the value of your property? Don't hesitate to contact the experts at Tepilo for advice pertaining to the property market.

Get Started with Sarah Beeny's Tepilo now.