Effective lighting needs to be an essential part of any home renovation or interior re-vamp project. A good lighting plan needs to be thought of in the early stages of the renovation process. It should not be an afterthought…….
It is essential when creating a lighting plan for your house that each room has a source of ambient, task and decorative light. Ideally these lights should be dimmable so that certain moods can be created at different times of the day. Each room in your house has a different purpose so will therefore have different lighting needs. Lighting can give the room its mood; playful, cold, inviting, romantic etc. so it is very important in interior design to get it right!
Let’s look at each type of lighting in a bit more detail:
Ambient lighting in a home is the general light source. It provides an even wash of light throughout the room as opposed to a direct specific light, which is provided by task lighting. Ambient light can be made up of artificial lights as well as natural sunlight from windows. To decide what the source of ambient light should be, it is important to take into consideration what the room will be used for. Different rooms will have different lighting needs.
The dining room is a hard room in which to create ambient lighting. The best way to create the perfect ambient lighting in a dining room is to use floor uplighters or wall sconces. These are best on a dimmable switch so you can create the type of mood you want depending on the occasion.
Wall sconces let you create a lovely ambient light in a dining room especially when you want the lighting to be dimmed after the meal for coffee and desserts.
In the bathroom, ambient light can be provided by overhead, recessed downlighters. This will give a nice light to the whole bathroom and create an open, bright feel. Downlights are also great, as they will not cause as many shadows as a single ceiling light would.
Living rooms these days are often multi purpose. It is important to layer your light sources and have different sources of light to accommodate all the activities that might possibly be taking place in the room.
These hanging lights are a nice source of ambient light. They are placed high up and therefore reflect off of the ceiling. Not only do the lights add general light to the room, they add interest as well. The fact that there is a very large window in the room as well is important and that in itself is another source of ambient light and can add another dimension of light.
Task lighting is, as the name implies, lights that are used for a very specific task. Task lighting can be very important is rooms such as the kitchen, bathroom and office. It is a good idea to have your task lighting on a different switch than your ambient or decorative lighting so that you can turn on only the task light when needed.
These under counter lights in the kitchen are task lights. They help illuminate the counter top so that the person cooking can see what they are doing better. If these lights were not place under the cupboards the area directly below the cupboard would be in shadow. This would be very detrimental during cooking as well as when cleaning the countertops.
Although task lighting is a practical consideration, that does not mean they cannot add to the feel and atmosphere of the room. A reading light is a common task light that is placed in a living room. The style of reading lamp can say a lot about the feel of the room.
These two rooms both have floor lamps that are being used as task lighting yet each lamp gives a different feel and compliments the rest of the room. The first one gives the room a more industrial feel while the second one is more contemporary and minimal.
The bathroom is another room where task lighting is important. Task lighting can be placed beside the mirror to help with shaving and putting on make-up. The task lighting should be placed on each side of the mirror to ensure even, flattering lighting of the face. Otherwise, the light can be placed above the mirror as well.
These wall lights placed between the mirrors provide a specific light to see your face more clearly.
Decorative lighting can consist of many different types of light fixtures. They can be pendants, chandeliers or table lamps. The important thing to remember with decorative lighting is that the form or style of the lighting fixture that is generally more important than the amount of light it gives off.
This multi-coloured table lamp, pictured above, by Zero Interiors is more of a fun statement piece than a viable source of light. The lampshade and base is sliced up into rings and then placed back together to create the design. It acts as a piece of art as well as a table lamp.
Another fun, whimsical decorative table lamp is the iconic British “Innermost Jeeves Bowler Hat Lamp”.
According to the designer, the bowler hat associates the wearer with a particular culture, heritage or race and reminisces about an era now past. In this case, not only is the lamp decorative, it makes a playful statement as well.
A chandelier or pendent light can be a great light fixture to use as a decorative piece. The style of light can really set the mood in the room.
This black chandelier, although traditional in design, can actually add quite a statement to a room. The black colour adds drama and glamour and can make a room feel very romantic.
On the other hand, this modern pendent light below can give a completely different vibe to the room.
It is a clean design and very contemporary. Again, it is almost like a piece of art in the room and draws attention to itself.