If you regularly find yourself lusting over the very latest interior design trends online and wondering how exactly you might achieve the same look in your home, this article is for you! While you may not have the beautiful Persian rugs, the iconic Eames lounge chair, or the loft-style apartment with exposed brickwork, there are lighting tricks you can adopt throughout your home to get that striking designer look.
Lighting plays a major role in setting the ambience of a room, and we’ll guide you through dozens of handy lighting tips to help you illuminate your home, room by room.
Lighting 101: the basics
Whether you’re looking to transform your living room into a cosy nest or craft a truly relaxing ambience in your bathroom, we’ll pulled together lighting basics to help you get to grips with lighting terminology.
Natural lighting – just as the name suggests, natural lighting is the sunlight that enters a room. A great asset to any home, natural lighting will change a room’s ambience at different times of day, and can be accentuated through using reflective objects and surfaces such as mirrors, glass tiles, and glossed woods.
Ambient lighting – at its simplest, ambient lighting is a light or series of lights that supply general illumination in a space. Required in every room, ambient lighting is often welcoming and inviting, and ensures that there is enough illumination for every-day general tasks.
Task lighting – this type of lighting ensures that rooms are adequately lit for activities, such as reading, preparing food or doing homework. Task lighting often uses a combination of glare and shadow-free lights that can be adjusted with ease to suit different activities.
Accent lighting – also known as directional lighting, accent lighting uses a combination of lights to highlight different features, subtly adding focus, depth and even texture to a room. By drawing attention to a beautiful chimney breast or dining table, you can also keep unfinished or unsightly elements from sight.
Minimalist lighting – this type of lighting is all about simplicity and subtlety, with decoration and detail kept to an absolute minimum. Minimalist lighting promotes clean and peaceful living, and is best used in uncluttered spaces to increase the sense of airiness in a room.
Colour temperature – the intensity and colour of a light bulb can affect the ambience of a room. Bright white bulbs, for example, are great for helping productivity, while using a dimmer switch can help craft a more relaxing feeling in a room.
A lighting plan for your home
Before you begin rearranging your lighting or dashing out to buy new fixtures and fittings, take time to review the rooms you want to perfect, and take note of the following:
- Identify the uses of the room – what are the main activities carried out day-to-day in the room? This will help you decide what type of lighting scheme will be most appropriate.
- Consider the current lighting setup – what are the things you like and dislike about the current lighting setup? For example, is there a glare when you’re watching TV? Or do you struggle to read in the evenings? And how much natural light is there during the day?
- Take note of lighting fixtures and plug sockets – immovable lighting fixtures and the location and number of plug sockets will somewhat determine your lighting plan. Be careful not to use too many power leads and adapters, and always check the safety labels on all sockets and lighting fixtures.
Lighting your home: room-by-room
With your lighting setup reviewed, this is where the fun begins! We’ll guide you through different lighting scheme ideas for your home, room by home…
Living room lighting
One of the most frequently used rooms in the home, living room lighting can be extremely creative to craft homely, cosy atmospheres for the family to enjoy and relax. Often brimming with classic interior features such as high ceilings, exposed chimney breasts and built-in shelving, you can use a mixture of ambient and accent lighting to perfect your living room lighting.
Our top tips:
- Accentuate high ceilings with up-lighters mounted on the walls
- Highlight feature shelving and bookcases with alcove lighting
- Make the most of natural lighting and experiment with the placement of mirrors to reflect the light during the day time
- Place table lamps at various heights around the room – on a high shelf, cabinet and on a side table for a cosy feel
- Experiment with lamp placement to avoid dark shadows or glare on your television screen
A room with plenty of potential for an interesting lighting scheme, the kitchen is often the busiest room in the home. From children using the kitchen table to complete their homework to adults cooking up new recipes for dinner parties with friends, there are various ways to experiment with task lighting in your kitchen.
Our top tips:
- Pendant lights can be the perfect way to light a kitchen table
- Spotlights or track lights work well in kitchens, and can be adjusted with ease to light different areas of activity
- Under-counter lighting can help provide plenty of illumination for tasks like preparing food
- Replace old fluorescent lighting with energy efficient LEDs – they’ll save you money on your electricity bill give your kitchen a brighter and more airy feel
- If you’re using free-standing lighting that requires a socket, be sure not to overload the socket by also plugging in various kitchen items like blenders and food processors
Dining room lighting
Whether you use your dining room daily or every now and then for special occasions, crafting the right ambience for mealtimes is essential. Lighting can make or break an intimate gathering, and when it comes to presenting your signature recipes, it can help your food become the feature of your room!
Our top tips:
- Consider the length of your dining table and how many guests you can sit – does one pendant light or chandelier above the table offer enough light?
- Use warm coloured bulbs to create a welcoming and comfortable ambience
- Install a dimmer switch so that you can adjust the intensity of the room’s lighting
- Novelty lighting such as fairy lights, lanterns and candles dotted around the dining room can help craft an intimate atmosphere
Updating the lighting in your bedroom can be one of the trickiest to get right. While you’ll want a cosy ambience during the evenings to help you relax and sleep, you’ll also need good lighting for getting dressed on dark mornings or doing your hair and makeup.
Our top tips:
- Light your dressing table horizontally to avoid creating shadows on your face and body
- Avoid using candles and opt instead for a dimmer switch – you wouldn’t want to fall asleep and leave candles burning
- For bedrooms facing east, use a lightweight voile or muslin curtain to diffuse glaring morning sunlight
- Consider the placement of your light switch – if it’s near the door and means getting out of bed to switch off the light, place a lamp next to your bed
There are many safety regulations surrounding bathroom fittings, and we always advise consulting an electrician if you want to make any drastic changes to your lighting. However, there are a number of simple things you can do to improve your bathroom lighting, whether the room is large and spacious or extremely small.
Our top tips:
- Maximise natural light by removing curtains and blinds and opting instead for simple window frosting
- Update existing wall fittings or sconces with frosted ones – this will give a softer glow
- Change bulbs to ones with green or blue hues for a clean and relaxing ambience
- If you have a small bathroom and can’t make any major changes, place a couple of battery-operated colour-changing LED spheres on shelving to brighten the room
Often overlooked when it comes to interior design, getting your hallway lighting just right so that it’s both inviting and safe is no mean feat. Whether your hallways and staircases are narrow and creaking or spacious and modern, it’s easy to extend good lighting principles to these spaces too.
Our top tips:
- Use a warm hued bulb to create an inviting entranceway to your home
- For staircases and hallways with several turning points, use a number of spot or pendant lights to illuminate each section adequately
- Accentuate the space in narrow halls and staircases by placing simple up-lighters at intervals along the walls
Share your lighting tips with us!
What lighting tips and tricks have you used for lighting different rooms in your home? Let us and our readers know in the comments box below!
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