It can be easy to underestimate the importance of lighting as an integral aspect of the interiors and décor of our homes. However, lighting when used intelligently imparts a warm, cheerful, and homely feel to the house. Apart from aesthetics, lighting inside the home is important for several functional reasons too.
First of all, good lighting is important for our eyes to see properly. Insufficient and improper lighting can lead to eye fatigue, causing vision and sight problems, especially in children and senior citizens. Secondly, good lighting is necessary from the safety point of view. Dark areas of the home are veritable trouble spots, where you may stumble or trip and hurt yourself. Thirdly, lighting can be used to highlight the positive or strong points, and take away attention from the negative or weak points of the home.
Types of lighting
Broadly speaking, there are three types of lighting we use for the home. All these lighting types come with their own set of rules of placement and usage, which help improve functionality and create the appropriate ambience.
Also known as ambient lighting, is the most commonly used lighting in our homes. It is used to substitute for the natural daylight emitted by the sun. The lighting is uniformly bright and casts a warm and cheery glow on the area. Preferably fixed higher up in the room, ceiling lamps and chandeliers are largely used for this type of lighting. General lighting is a standard fixture in all rooms – living, dining, bedroom, and kitchen.
This type of lighting is relatively more focused, and therefore used for concentrating light on specific areas or spots, to help complete specific tasks efficiently. These lights cover less area than general lights, but then they are more powerful in terms of intensity. Reading lamps, desk lamps and even some overhead spotlights come under this category of lighting. You can see them used in the bedroom, bathroom, and kitchen for instance. Task lighting is generally used in combination with general lighting.
It is useful for creating and highlighting the aesthetic elements of the home. Accent lights are used to effect by pulling attention to specific aspects of the interiors. You can use accent lighting to highlight a particular painting or art work or sporting trophy. This type of lighting can also be used creatively to form part of the décor itself. Generally strong lighting sources such as halogen lamps are used to create this effect. Depending upon the subject to be highlighted, and the effect to be created, accent lights can be positioned on the floor, the walls, or the ceiling. You will come across this kind of lighting more often in the living room or the games room.
Types of Lighting Fixtures
Are a great combination of functionality and aesthetics, providing ambient light apart from being highly ornate. Hanging down from the ceiling, their light points up to the ceiling and reflects back down into the room.
These types of fixtures are fixed directly to the ceiling, with the light bulb concealed behind glass or plastic shades. Ceiling light fixtures are a common source of ambient lighting in homes for several years now.
Surface-mounted to the wall, sconces can direct light upwards or downwards, and their covers or shades can add a stylistic touch to a room. Wall sconces provide ambient or task lighting.
Floor, Desk, and Table Lamps
These are handy light fixtures that come in a variety of sizes, styles and capacities. Depending upon the function and purpose, they are used for task and accent lighting in homes.
Lighting Fixtures for the Home
The idea is to incorporate functionality and aesthetics in all areas of the home.
The first part of the home that visitors come across is the entryway. You could aim for an impressive look and feel by using an overhead chandelier or a pendant light, coupled with a floor or table lamp.
Here is where the family hangs out or entertains guests and so the living room is a prime area to deploy recessed or track lighting all across. A large source of general lighting such as a ceiling lamp or chandelier can do wonders when combined with strategically placed floor lamps or table lamps.
A chandelier or pendant light hung above the dining table can be the main source of light in the dining room. You can use table or floor lamps to give dark corners a cozy look.
Considering the amount of chopping, cooking, and various other cooking activities taking place here, functionality and safety are the main concerns here. Overhead lighting is necessary to light up the entire place, which you can do with ceiling lights. You’ll also need task lighting fixtures in specific areas such as the kitchen island, the stove, and the sink.
The main source of light in the room can come from an overhead light source, while a reading lamp can be placed on the bedside table beside the headboard. You could also use corner lighting, by way of table lamps, to create a warm look and feel.
Most people rely on recessed lighting in the bath room. The mirror has task lights fixed around it, to help shave and clean up.
Play with light heights to get max impact – Avoid uniform placement of lights if you want to avoid a dull, sedate effect. Instead, experiment with the heights of light fixtures for that interesting play of contrast and diversity. Try out a combination of floor lighting, table lamps, and ceiling lights – you won’t be disappointed!
Use pendant light differently – In the kitchen, you can easily convert pendant lighting into task lighting. All you need to do is to point the pendant light down toward the kitchen island surface, and you have your task light!
Bathroom lighting made simple – Lighting around the mirrors should be arranged for creating a warm look, much like a halo, rather than anything very sober and clinical. Downlights aimed straight to the head, tend to highlight hair dye, and grey hair roots; decide if you want to see them or not. If the answer is yes, go for it. If not, avoid downlight on the head.
Lampshade fabric is the key: The lampshade color influences the overall effect of the light, so go for lampshade fabric that are warm.