Lighting Your Home
You may not realise it but good lighting is the key to a comfortable and well furnished home. Bad lighting can contribute to health issues, causing headaches and poor sight, and actually does your home no favours in terms of making the most of your living space. It can also be very frustrating when you are trying to undertake a task when you can’t see properly, and it can make your furnishings look dull and bland. When you plan any interior, lighting is crucial to the finished effect, so plan it properly and ensure you cover all the key points. Lighting your home requires layering of different types of illumination which can be used in conjunction with each other or at separate times.
There are 4 main types of lighting:
- Natural light
- Ambient light
- Accent light
- Informational lighting
Natural light is the most important, and no electrical lighting can ever truly recreate the warmth and space good natural light can create. Depending which way your room faces, there are different types of natural light, from colder north facing light to south facing which will give you warmth and light throughout the day. You can maximize your available natural light by using mirrors opposite windows, and choosing pale, reflective fabrics and surfaces to make the most of the light in the room.
Ambient lighting is the background to your scheme, and the electric version of natural light, diffuse and general. It provides the overall idea of daylight and offers the easiest way to light your source. Usually from ceiling lights, pendant lights or uplighters around the room, this can be very flat on it’s own, and usually needs extra help to bring both depth and focus to your setting.
Accent lighting supplements your ambient light by highlighting specific areas, and providing texture to the general light. Lamps, uplighters and spot lights can all help create different effects in different areas of your home, and should be layered to create warmth and interest.
Lastly, you may need to include informational lighting, which is the light that leads the way and makes your home safe – understair lighting, motion sensor activated, or insets on the stairs. This sort of lighting should fit in with the general texture of your lighting plan as well as being functional, and can be used in much the same way as accent lighting to create drama and interest.
Take into consideration when planning your lighting as to when the room will be used, the function you need it to serve, and of course any decorative features you want to make a feature point of with a spot light or similar. Rooms which are used more in the day time may require less complex lighting, while a dining room may need to serve several purposes, with a brightly lit area for homework at the table, but the ability to flick a switch and create an intimate atmosphere for a quiet dinner, and with the right lighting this is easily achievable.