Light Up Your Home!
Lighting is an integral part of your home decor and it plays a huge role in making your home cheerful and bright. But it is also essential to understand some basic rules of lighting otherwise you may end up with either too harsh or too less light which will create a sense of disturbance and/or also cause depression. So proper lighting is a must not just for aesthetic and pleasing atmosphere in your home but also for emotional and mental wellbeing. So try not to cut costs in this important aspect of your home decor. By understanding several aspects of lighting, your actual needs and consideration of practicality of having a particular light source, you can experiment with a lot of possibilities and successfully create mood as you desire. You also have to make allowances for functionality of all the places where you need to install light, eg. places like living room or TV room etc. are places where you entertain, relax, watch movies etc. and therefore you will not need very bright light but soft, subdued light. In places like study rooms, kitchens, where most of the work is done will need bright lights. In bedroom again, focus should be on creating a soft, mellowed atmosphere which can help you relax, so lighting again should be kept subdued. There are now many options for different kinds of lights available in the market. Make a study of those, understand your needs and then choose accordingly. This way you will be satisfied with the overall results and there will also be no need to change some light fixtures later on.
Here are some ways with which you can get the desired results:
Make a Proper Plan
Draw a proper plan of all your rooms, include the windows, doors, study tables, woprkstations etc. Decide where you want lights to be fixed. Include the light fixtures, sockets etc. in you plan which will help you identify the dark areas where you may need to install light fixtures. While doing this, you may decide the type of light sources you want in these places such as floor lamps, task lights or table lamps etc. This will help you prepare a proper list so you can buy all your needs in one go, not only this is easy but buying in large quantities is economical for your budget too.
Take into consideration the orientation of your rooms, location of windows and doors etc. the idea is to understand where the natural light comes in from and to use the natural to your optimum advantage. Eg. North and west facing rooms will get lesser amount of light than the South and East facing rooms. So you will have to adapt accordingly to lessen or increase the amount of artificial lights in such rooms.
Make allowance for an additional two or three power points than you are going to use. This will help you in future when you might change the arrangement of your furniture, study desks etc.
Get Your Wiring Inspected
Hire a qualified electrician and get your original wiring inspected. It is essential to do so before installing any new and expensive lighting fixtures as any fault in the overall wiring may damage your new lights and there is also a danger of short circuit due to overload on the old, damaged wiring. Also, any faults or misses in your plans can be detected by an electrician and he may be able to offer some solutions and/or workarounds to your problems. You can also discuss the finish of the completed work with your electrician such as whether it will be better to use a concealed wiring within the plaster or whether using plastic strips would be more beneficial etc.
Determine the Type of Lighting
Decide beforehand what type of lighting you want for separate rooms and areas.
Ambient lighting is that which provides overall illumination. For this purpose you can choose from wall or ceiling lights or a combination of both, track lighting or spot lights installed into recesses. In one single room itself, you can have either of these or a combination of all these options. eg. in your living room, you may have recessed wall or ceiling lights to create a soft, mellowed mood with spot lighting in a few places to illuminate some beautiful pieces of your decor, such as a spotlight on some beautiful showpiece or a statue etc.
Task lighting means lighting that is focused on a small area to illuminate your workplaces such as reading light, for sewing, etc. These include desk lamps, floor lamps in corner next to an easy chair, strips of lighting under your kitchen cabinets to illuminate the work counter, cooktops etc.
Accent lighting is for the purpose of illuminating the focal points in a room such as dining tables in kitchen or living areas, mirrors or pictures on walls in any room etc. The main source of light should be above the dining table so that people can see well what they are eating. For a smaller table a single pendant llight or a decorative chandelier suspended over the table will look very good. But if your table is quite long and sits large group of people, then you can use a line of pendants along the length of the table to create cheery atmosphere.
Information lighting is provided to illuminate areas for safety considerations such as to illuminate dark corridors, passages, stairways, paths in the garden outside your home etc.
Decorative lighting fixtures such as fairy lights, wall sconces, chandeliers etc. are for the purpose of adding beauty to a room. Wall sconces are a good option to have in rooms that are comparatively smaller but chandeliers should be strictly limited to rooms that are bigger and the height of the ceiling is more otherwise a chandelier in a small room with low ceiling might make the room appear even smaller than it is and also make it feel claustrophobic. So it is essential understand the spaces and the proprotions of your rooms to choose the best lighting option. You can even use scented candles for creating soft, cosy atmosphere and therefore prepare specially designated places and fixtures to place your candles.
Needs of Different Spaces
Different rooms and spaces need different types of lighting. You should assess your requirements and buy special lighting accordingly for each such space.
Bedroom is the place where your sleep and relax and the lighting should be kept such that it will help you feel relaxed and not so bright so that it might excite your brain and keep you awake. Overall ambience of this room should be relaxing and soft. Hence wall lights that are fitted with dimmer switches are good option, The lights can be brightened if you are trying to read or dimmed down if you are not reading. The side tables next to the bed, dressing tables etc. should be fitted with table lamps or wall lights right on the top so that the tables only are illuminated. In case of a walk-in closet, or a separated dressing area, top lighting in the form of shaded hanging lamps or pendulum lights can be considered.
Bathrooms need special waterproof fixtures that are of good quality because safety should be the prime consideration when installing lights and sockets. Make sure that the distance between the sockets from showers, tubs etc. are proper since these areas tend to become wet. Low, soft lighting fixed in wall recesses will create a relaxing mood. If possible you can use dimmers to experience a spa-like feel when you are soaking in the bath. If you are using a lot of metal in the lighting fixtures, make sure they are of high quality as substandard ones may rust and get discoloured due to the high humidity in the bathrooms.
Outdoors and Gardens
These areas are most often neglected in terms of lighting and usually a single buld or a fluoroscent tube is seen fitted. With a little bit of creativity and imagination, you can transform these spaces into lovely areas to relax in the evenings. Outside your main door, you can install two wall sconces on either side of the door, it looks very beautiful and also cheery, welcoming place. Try and use waterproof and high-quality fixtures again in these areas as they will be continuously exposed to the mercy of natural elements. Instal innovative garden lights such as torches, solar lanterns that come in beautiful shapes and sizes etc. If you are lucky to have a big garden with lovely bushes and foliage plants, you could even hang tealights from the branches of these bushes to have an enchanted, shimmering garden.
In conclusion, there are scores of lighting ways that you can check out and select depending on your requirements. The important thing is you first need to understand your own needs that way you cannot go wrong. There are many lovely lights now available in the market ranging from floor lamps, wall mounted lights, table lamps etc. Many specialized lights such as mood-sensing, dimmer lights now also come with a remote control. If you are conscious of the environment, there is a wide range of LED (light emitting diodes) lights now available which consume less energy. They are very durable and last for years and years so they need not be replaced. They do not produce excessive heat and hence are very friendly for your decor.
Image Source: All images are from Wikimedia commons
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