Light Up Your Home

Although it’s often overlooked, good lighting can make a huge difference to a home. We may spend hours poring over paint charts, but it’s actually the light that shows off a space to its best advantage or even makes it useable.

Well-planned lighting can make your home feel cool, warm, cosy or spacious.

The key is to create a flexible scheme that takes you through all the different times of day and activities of your room. At the flick of a switch, you should be able to transform it from a bright, vibrant living space to the setting for a romantic dinner for two.

According to the experts there are three major types of lighting – general lighting, task lighting and accent lighting.

General lighting provides an area with overall illumination and radiates a comfortable level of brightness evenly through a space.

Task lighting, as the name suggests, helps you perform specific tasks such as reading, sewing, cooking, homework, hobbies, games, or working in your home office. It can be provided by recessed and track lighting, pendant lighting, and portable lamps.

Accent lighting adds drama to a room or feature within a room by creating visual interest. As part of a decorating scheme, it is used to spotlight paintings, houseplants, sculptures or other prized possessions, or to highlight the texture of a wall, curtains or outdoor landscaping.

The most important rooms in your house as far as lighting is concerned are the kitchen, home office and bathroom.

Kitchens are functional spaces and therefore should have well-diffused general lighting for moving about the room safely, as well as task lighting on areas which require more
illumination, such as the stove top, sink or kitchen table/bench.

In the home office, good general lighting is also a must. Here, task lighting should be used carefully and should be focused on the desk space rather than on the computer screen.

Bathrooms are similar to the kitchen and require a good level of general lighting as well as specific task lights over the sink, shower or bath.  Dimmers are perfect in this setting, since the amount of light needed for shaving is considerably more than that required for a relaxed soak in the tub or a middle-of-the-night visit to the loo. 

When trying to decide what sort of lighting to install in your home it’s a good idea to also take into consideration the colour of your walls and furnishings. Dark colours absorb light and therefore need stronger lighting, while light colour schemes reflect light and do not need intense lighting.

No matter how many lights you install in your home it’s a good idea to put them on dimmers. This allows you to create instant ambience by mixing the amount of light you have coming from various rooms. 

Of course, if you don’t have the budget or freedom to rip out those old fluorescent tubes or pendant lights you hate, simply ignore them and scatter lamps everywhere.  Your mood lighting will then be a matter of just how many you turn on at once! 

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