"A family with a more rugged country lifestyle will feel more comfortable with something more functional, and less glitzy."
As the nights draw in and the days are getting shorter, choosing the right lighting for our homes becomes increasingly important. After all, coming home to a warm, beautifully lit home is sure to ward off those winter blues and create the cosy haven you need at this time of year.
Lighting plays a vital role when planning your interior scheme and should be considered at the beginning of any home décor project. As well as being functional, it helps to bring a space together and creates atmosphere; an essential ingredient of your living spaces.
Statement lighting is very popular these days and is a great way to show off your personal style. With so much choice and a wonderful range of lighting from quirky pendants and chandeliers to unusual and striking lamps, you can use lighting to make an impact in every room of your home.
Setting the mood
Accent lighting predominantly defines atmosphere and you can let your creativity flow with it. This is light for its own sake and it should be treated as almost sculptural.
Wall lighting is wonderful for creating ambient light. Whether opting for decorative lights or picture lights, the style and position needs to be thought through before the decorating stage, as wires may need to be trunked from the skirting boards up to the wall light position.
Pendant lighting, too, needs careful planning in order to create the right ambience. A pendant or chandelier should be positioned centrally and at the right height above the table to provide the best light for all, yet not obscure the line of sight. Dimmer switches are essential for both wall and pendant lights to adapt the level of lighting to suit the mood of the occasion.
Table lamps are an excellent way to update a room’s ambience without too much expense and upheaval. They can add cosiness and a warm atmosphere to a room, which is essential during the colder months.
Layers of light
When planning your lighting it is always good to consider your lifestyle and how you use each room. For instance, someone who enjoys a lot of formal entertaining will want to have twinkly and dramatic lighting, whereas a family with a more rugged country lifestyle will feel more comfortable with something more functional, and less glitzy.
There are generally three types of lighting to consider in any scheme: ambient (overall light), accent (highlighting) and task lighting (focuses on specific areas where tasks are undertaken e.g. food preparation). Once lifestyle factors and functionality of the room have been established, along with structural elements such as which way the room faces and how many windows there are, you can think about how to incorporate ideally all three different types of lighting. It’s always important to think about what you are lighting; drawing up a floor plan is very useful at this stage to indicate where each piece of furniture will go.
If a room has many functions it is particularly good to think about zoning. For example in a bedroom, you might want to have good strong overhead lighting over a dressing table where you do your hair and make-up. However, if you like to read in bed, you will need softer, more restful light, which can ideally be switched on and off from both the door and the bed.
Creating the wow factor
Where there is sufficient height and space consider installing a chandelier; whether traditional or contemporary, there are so many inspiring options available. A chandelier is like a piece of art and can really give a room wow factor.
Whatever type of lighting you choose, remember lighting doesn’t need to be large to make a statement; it just needs to be beautiful.
• Plan you lighting at the start of your home décor project
• Think about the type of lighting you need in the room to create the right ambience
• Make a room plan detailing the areas that need to be lit
• Think about zoning and layering your lighting, particularly useful for different times of day
• Consider a statement chandelier/light fitting for dramatic effect, if space allows
• It’s always a good idea to ask for advice from a professional and use an accredited electrician to make any changes
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