Lighting is such an impactful way to change the feel of a room and can be one of the most effective ways to give the feeling of cosiness and warmth during the winter months.
Ideally, a lighting plan is created as part of the design of a room to ensure that switching and power points are thoughtfully placed to allow for the lighting to be placed exactly where it is needed. This might be possible with a complete renovation or new build but can be more of a challenge when working with an existing floor plan or construction that does not allow for outlets to be easily relocated. However, even in a space with limitations a good plan for the lighting will create a dramatic improvement in the finished look and feel.
Lighting should be considered in layers to create the best impact and to ensure that there is good lighting where it’s needed for practicality. These three types of lighting should be included in the plan to give the best effect.
1 GENERAL LIGHTING
General lighting refers to the main light source to illuminate a room and is generally overhead in the form of recessed or ceiling mounted lighting fixtures. General lighting is the most common type of lighting that will be found in every room, usually as fixtures that are installed in the building and are used to provide practical light for safety and functionality. The most popular style of general lighting are recessed downlights or flush mounted fittings. General lighting is more likely to be minimal and discreet in style rather than a decorative fitting and is part of the fabric of the building.
2 TASK LIGHTING
This type of lighting is also generally a practical requirement but is used to provide more concentrated illumination in specific areas where activities such as food preparation, working or reading are done. Having said this task lighting fittings need not be dull in design and can be a great focal point in a space. Think decorative pendant lights over a kitchen island, a desk lamp, a wall mounted sconce next to a bathroom mirror. Task lighting can be a design element in a space and should be considered as part of the décor as much as for a practical purpose.
3 AMBIENT LIGHTING
This is often the type of lighting that is overlooked and is so important to giving a space the mood or feeling you desire. Ambient light can create a sense of warmth, drama, space or intimacy. Most often the source of ambient light is a table or floor lamp but can also include directional downlights to wash walls creating visual interest in a hallway and wall sconces to spot illuminate a focal point such as an artwork or console table. Ambient light is not necessarily practical but creates beauty and atmosphere and can be transformative in a space. Ambient light is the interior designers best friend for directing attention to a particular element and to give the space a desired mood.
TIPS FOR GETTING THE MOST OUT OF YOUR SPACE USING LIGHTING
CONSIDER THE TYPE OF FEELING YOU WANT TO CREATE
Do you want your room to feel cosy intimate or romantic or architectural, designer and dramatic? Think about the atmosphere when you plan your design and source lights that are going to add to this feeling. For example, if you love to snuggle up in you living area in the evening make sure you have several lamps you can turn on and use these instead of harsh overhead lights. If you love to have a long bath, incorporate some softer light sources such a wall lights in your bathroom to create a sense of relaxation. Remember if you can’t install hard wired fittings into an existing space, floor and table lamps are your best option and can be decorative in style.
CONSIDER THE LIGHTING TONE OR TEMPERATURE AND BE CONSISTENT
This is one of the least considered but most important factors in creating the desired feel in a room. Most people are aware that some light globes look ‘warm’ while others appear bluish or ‘cool’. This light temperature is measured on a scale in Kelvins with warmer (more yellow) light being lower and cooler (more blue or closer or daylight) has a higher K number. This can be found on the light globe box. Whichever is your preference ensure that your light globes are consistent in a space to avoid a jarring look between a warm and cool light source.
USE DIMMABLE SWITCHES AND GLOBES
Being able to control the brightness of your lighting is a great way to create a mood and have brighter practical light when needed. Most often dimmers need to be hardwired into switch but some new LED globes and smart lights allow dimming to be added to light or lamp and can be remotely controlled.
CHOOSE LIGHTING THAT IS COMPLIMENTARY BUT ADDS INTEREST TO THE DÉCOR
With such an amazing range of lighting options now available in Australia we are spoilt for choice! It is important however to select your light fittings to add style to your space and so that these complement each other in the finish and type of light they provide. Try choosing a common element to your lights – either in the style or colour palette to ensure a cohesive and designer result. Having said this, mix it up in the shape, texture or materials you use to give interest and a personal feel rather than have every light perfectly matched.
LAMPS, LAMPS, LAMPS!
Lamps are our favourite style of lighting and for good reason. Lamps can add extra light to an existing room easily and inexpensively and create so much impact. They can be as beautiful as they are practical with so many different styles and finishes from wood to ceramic, metal to natural stone. A quality lamp is a décor item as well as a light source and can add to the style of a room.
Need some advice or guidance with choosing your lighting – feel free to contact us to ask a question or speak to our designer about options to suit your space.