Lighting design – Which type do you use for your homes interior?

Advice, lighting, The decorating process

Lighting design plays a very important part of a rooms look and for that reason I thought I would go through some of the key things to consider when selecting your lighting. I am by no means a lighting technician  so this post doesn’t cover the technical elements of lighting and the angles of it, in relation to user’s specific needs but hopefully you will gain some basic understanding of what to look out for and then team up with a lighting technician for the finer points.

There are four types of ways you can light a space these are ambient, task, mood and accent lighting.  Its important that you think through each room in your home and how it is used then choose your lighting types accordingly.  I would recommend that you always layer your lighting throughout the various living areas of your home using a mix of the four types so you create just the right atmosphere for your spaces.

Ambient lighting is used to provide general light to a room.  Often seen as a pendant light, ceiling sconce in the middle of a room or downlights to name a few.

Task lighting, which is as the name states lighting that specifically illuminates a given task you are working on. This may be reading, sewing, using your smart phone etc… so a stronger focussed light is needed to actually help you clearly see what you are doing.  Also used over kitchen counters, home offices, under cabinet lighting and in many other applications too.

Mood lighting creates ambiance in a space, giving you the opportunity to turn of your ambient lighting and pop on your mood lighting instead which at night creates a lovely soft light to a room helping users start to wind down after a long day. Depending on the lamp you have, lighting may splay up against walls, or furnishings bringing a soft or dramatic play to a rooms mood.

Accent lighting is used to highlight or draw attention to an object, be it a sculpture or some art.

Lighting tone is a key element to consider with lighting, namely cool/white or warm lighting.  I find for domestic home applications warm lighting is the best and for some commercial applications cool lighting is ideal.

The ambient lighting is off and only mood lighting of lamps are lighting this lounge. Also note the tone of the light is warm, creating a lovely relaxing cosy feel to this lounge room.

The ambient lighting is off and only mood lighting of lamps are lighting this lounge. Also note the tone of the light is warm, creating a lovely relaxing cosy feel to this lounge room.

This room doesn't feel as cosy due to the cool/white lamp tone used you will also notice that the accent light beam is too strong making me think that a lighting technician wasn't involved in the lighting of this room.

This room doesn’t feel as cosy due to the cool/white lamp tone used you will also notice that the accent light beam is too strong making me think that a lighting technician wasn’t involved in the lighting of this room.

This room features accent lighting but it does just that accents the art and pieces in the shelving rather than drawing your eye to the beam. Accent lighting is done well when you don't notice the beam or light but the featured piece instead. Another lovely example of warm lighting too.

This room features accent lighting but it does just that accents the art and pieces in the shelving rather than drawing your eye to the beam. Accent lighting is done well when you don’t notice the beam or light but the featured piece instead. Another lovely example of warm lighting too.

Dimmers are a fabulous way of changing ambient lighting to mood lighting, for example in a dining room when entertaining you may want to create a more intimate dining experience dimmers are an ideal way to achieve this.  The same can apply in bedrooms and bathrooms.

A few notes about lamps, floor verses standard lamps.  I always say to my client you can never have enough lamps that create mood lighting, you can pop them on side tables in your lounge, hall or console tables, in kitchens (yes thats right who said lamps couldn’t be used in a kitchen to create some interesting ambiance). Carefully consider shape of the base and shade of the lamp and also of the scale in relation to what the lamp may be sitting on, you want to be sure that your shade size works well in your room.

If you are building or renovating and wanting to have accurately lit spaces I would recommend you consult a lighting technician, definitely worth the investment as they will work out what your lighting needs are and come up with the ideal lighting solution for those needs, often resulting in using less lights as they can calculate the beam angles and therefore you will achieve a balanced evenly lit space with no dark spots.  You also want to ensure you have enough power points for floor and table lamps too, so include this thinking in your planning.

Finally, consider the visual impact the pendent, floor lamp, wall sconce can have on a space. It can be the perfect opportunity to either add a striking designer element to your home or choose to have it played down so that other pieces feature.  I have found it’s these decisions that can make or break the overall finish of a space so take the time to think through all the decision making that surrounds lighting and if you are finding yourself overwhelmed definitely get in a lighting technician to assist with the technical side and a designer for the visual aspect.

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