Home lighting isn't just a matter of dotting a lamp or two around the house. Getting your home to look great and having the light you need to work or play is a little more complicated than that! That's why we've put together a list of the hottest lighting tips around, making lighting your home easier than ever.
Don't forget, before you start playing with electricity, you need to make sure that the mains are switched off to prevent accidents! And check out your home insurance policy too, since you'll want to know whether accidents (either personal accidents or damage to your home when installing lighting) are covered. Now, on with the show!
Remember the Four Layers of Lighting
According to the experts, there are four layers of lighting that you need to consider in every room. The first is ambient lighting, which is indirect and spreads light around the room (including natural light, and overhead lights). The second is task lighting, which spotlights areas where you need to work (think a desk lamp or reading lamp). Thirdly, there's accent lighting, which is designed to show off art or ornaments. And finally, there's decorative lighting, which basically means lights that look pretty such as chandeliers or beautiful lamp that you don't necessarily need the light from. To have a well balanced room, you should include each of these four elements.
Consider Installing Dimmer Switches
Though it might add a little to the cost of installing lighting, most lamps and lighting can be controlled with dimmer switches. Dimmer switches will give you more flexibility, since you won't be limited by the power of the bulb you use and can adjust lighting levels to suit your mood or the activity going on in a space.
Don't Forget Outside Lighting!
With all the lighting decisions to make inside it can be easy to forget about the exterior of your home. However, outside lighting is also important. You'll need to make sure that exterior lights are designed for security and safety (such as lighting areas with steps). But outside lighting can also reflect inside a room, with garden lights providing soft ambient light in a living or dining room, for example. All exterior lights MUST be waterproof, so stick to lights that were specifically designed for use outdoors to prevent accidents.
Think About Night Lighting
Obviously you're going to use most of your lights at night, but what we mean here is lighting for use when you should be sleeping. Children's rooms and nurseries often have soft night lighting that stays on all night. However, you may also want to think about night lighting in hallways, particularly those that lead to bathrooms, so that little ones and visitors can easily find their way around.
LED Lights Are Awesome!
You're going to find that there are plenty of lightbulb choices around, but think about using LED lights and lightbulbs as far as possible. LED bulbs use less electricity (you can find out more by reading our article on How to Save Electricity), so keep costs down. However, they also produce little heat, which makes LED lighting a good choice for things like bookshelf lighting, kitchen counter lighting and even desk lamps.
Save Money By Changing Shades, Not Lights
If you're on a budget then rather than replacing all the lighting in a room you can get a modern, updated look simply by changing light shades. For a lamp this is pretty easy, but even overhead lighting sometimes has removable shades. The cost of a shade is a fraction of that of a new light, and you'll have a whole new look.
Dark Needs More Light
Okay, it sounds pretty obvious to say that dark needs more light, but what we're talking about here is colour, rather than real darkness. Walls that are painted in dark colours, or darker coloured furniture, absorb more light than those in lighter colours. This means that these areas of your home will need either more lighting or stronger lighting to create a unified effect. If you have one dark wall in your bedroom, for example, it's best to focus lighting on that wall.
Variety is Good
When it comes to home lighting, variety is a good thing in two different ways. Firstly, having lights on different levels is important, so consider overhead lighting, table lighting as well as floor lamps and wall lighting. These combine to make an overall impression of a well lit room. Secondly, vary brightness within the room, having some lamps dimmer than others. This prevents what is called “lighting fatigue,” that feeling of tired eyes that you get when working in an office with fluorescent lighting, for example.
Different Lighting Creates Different Effects
Finally, you might want to experiment a little, as lighting is great for creating optical illusions. If you want your ceilings to appear higher then hang your overhead lights lower. If you want to create the illusion of more space use “wall washers” which are specially designed to spread light over a wall, and make sure that all four corners of the room are lit. If you want a room to look cosy and welcoming then use plenty of lamps.
Great lighting will make your home look like it was designed by a professional, just don't be put off by the variety of options that you have. Remember the tips listed above and you'll have a beautiful and well lit home in no time!
Main subject: lighting