A beginner's guide to lighting in the home
Posted 30 January 2016
Once upon a time all we had to light the home were candles – an inefficient and troublesome way to shed rays into the home. But today there are more ways than ever to light up your home, thanks to a huge array of fittings, fixtures and styles of lighting.
Knowing what will work best with a particular room shape, aspect and décor, however, is a skill in its own right. And that’s before one considers the type of bulbs and fittings to buy to get the best results throughout the house? There was a time when a single light or chandelier was always located in the centre of a ceiling and that was trusted to be the sole light source for a given room. Nowadays, homeowners understand that the subtle art form that is lighting, can involve layering different types of lighting to alter moods and play on the shape and size of a given space.
Here are a few quick tips on choosing lighting solutions for your home.
Get on board the LED revolution
LEDs (light emitting diodes) are tiny little bulbs that push out a seriously impressive amount of light. Not only are they incredibly economical – and as a result, environmentally friendly – but they very rarely break in the way that the traditional filament light bulb does. LED lights are also a a fraction of the size of halogen lights, regular bulbs and traditional energy efficient bulbs.
Mix things up
One of the abiding rules of lighting your home is that there are two rooms that need to be bright; the bathroom and the kitchen. Bright lights are the order of the day, but that doesn't mean that you can't mix things up a bit. A smaller set of LEDs in the bathroom can help make a calming space for relaxing baths, whilst lighting under kitchen cupboards will banish shadows and improve visibility when cooking.
After you have created a good light level, you may wish to add a little bit of something extra to add interest and functionality to a room. This gives you the ability to use a combination of your lights at any one time to generate a different feel for the room.
If you are trying to create a cosy or romantic feel in your living room on a winter’s evening, you may choose to light your fireplace and not want the firelight to be swamped by a big spotlight. Instead, a lamp or two in either corner of the room will do just enough to complement and lift the light levels without ruining the mood altogether.
Remember, too that LEDs offer great flexibility and can be used to generate a more dramatic look and feel in a home. Running a set of coloured LEDs around the wall close to the ceiling is a great way to create mood in a room, ensuring that each space has it's own particular feel and atmosphere. You won't even run up a huge bill, as LEDs use very little electricity for their output.
Don't be a slave to wattage
For too long now we've bought light bulbs based on wattage. We all have our preferences, some like a reliably bright 60 Watt whilst others prefer the subdued ambiance of 40 Watts, but why stick so rigidly to the level of light the bulb allows you to fill your room with? Using a dimmer switch will let you find the perfect light for any occasion, in any room.
Experiment in each room
Who says you can only have one type of light in each room? There's a world of possibilities out there and you should take the time to find out exactly what works for each of your rooms. For example, you could use a combination of uplighters and lamps in addition to a ceiling light to create different looks, chopping and changing depending on what you want the room for that night.
If a ceiling is particularly high, it may be important to include lamps at a lower level, while you may also need wall-mounted uplighters to lift walls that are a darker colour.
Interested to see how lighting can work in the large, open-plan spaces of a Trivselhus by Esh home? Explore the show home at Garth House Gardens.