HOW TO LIGHT YOUR HOME pt.2

Published: 07 Dec 2020
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HOW TO LIGHT EACH ROOM OF YOUR HOME

Entrance hallway

This is the first area of your home that visitors see so why not make a statement? Opt for a chandelier or another striking pendant light.

Combine lighting with a mirror that will accentuate the light in a hallway. If you position a mirror behind a table lamp at the end of a small hallway, the reflected light will make the hallway feel larger; a mirror placed to reflect light from a pendant light will do the same. 

Living room

As this is a multi-functional space, it needs a variety of light sources. Depending on the room’s aspect, you will need to include a sufficient number so the room is brightly lit during the day, but also for when the sun goes down. When doing this, make sure you take into account natural light as well.

Start with your overhead lighting, often a pendant light, and then bring in task and accent lighting which will add depth and balance and also give you the flexibility to match the lighting to the time of day and how you feel.

Especially in an open-plan space, a central pendant is great for zoning the living space – it is also an easy way of adding a decorative feature.

If positioning lighting around the television, make sure you avoid glare falling on it; lights above or in front of it can be distracting.

Dining room

A pendant light or a series of lights hung over a dining table not only casts light over the table allowing you and other diners to see what they are eating, it also creates a style statement, and in an open-plan living space, defines the dining area. Hang the pendant fairly low  – about 90cm – above the table.

Elsewhere, create pools of light that create ambience when the focus is not on the table such as a table lamp on a sideboard, wall lights or floor lamps.

Kitchen

‘The kitchen has to work hard as a room to function efficiently throughout the day and accommodate all of the activities that are carried out there,’ says Peter Cutajar of Light Design Solutions.

The main activity, is of course, food preparation and cooking and it is crucial that you have enough light to see what you are doing. ‘A good level of general light is essential as the kitchen is a working area but you also need sufficient well-positioned task lighting over the sink, hob and work surfaces,’ says Peter.

Traditionally, task lighting has been about under-cabinet lights which ensures the worktop is well and evenly lit. However, with the trend for fewer upper cabinets for a more open feel, other options are now growing in popularity such as multiples of downlit pendants and wall-mounted, anglepoise style lights.

Finally, there is accent lighting which is where you can get decorative. ‘To create impact, accent lighting and mood effects should be brought into play only at night when the task lighting is off and the general lighting dimmed,’ says Peter. ‘Accent lighting could be lighting within glass cabinets or shelving. For mood lighting, consider having lights set into the kick plinth of a central island to wash light across the surface of the floor. If the kitchen units are free-standing without a kick plinth, LED strips can be used underneath to make them appear to float.’

Bedroom

As with any room, ambient or general lighting that gives you enough light to see when you need it is the starting point.

During the day, natural light counts but you need lighting that takes over when it is dark. A single pendant is the most popular option and works well – if you can add a dimmer switch to it, even better, as this allows you to control the amount of light you have in the room.

The main task lighting you have in a room is that by your bed for reading. Here, the light source should be just above your shoulder when you’re in position.

Table lamps have long been the way to create bedside lighting but hanging a pendant or opting for a wall light are two stylish ways to do it differently. Both give a pool of light for a cosy atmosphere but also give enough light for reading; it is also a good option for a small bedroom where there is only space for a small bedside table or no space at all.

When hanging pendants, the light should be at least 30cm above the top of the bedside table (or where it would be). Smaller pendant looks best hung lower otherwise they can look lost against a large bed; larger ones, with more presence, can sit higher.

With wall lights, choose a design that is discreet or opt for one that has a flexible arm so you can place the light where you want it.

If you have a dressing table and need light to apply make-up, then you need to carefully consider where you put your lighting – see bathroom lighting for more detail.

BATHroom

A bathroom needs ambient lighting that is achieved by ceiling fixtures, and task lighting that provides adequate light for daily ablutions. ‘When it comes to task lighting, vanity lighting gets top consideration because these fixtures work the hardest as they have to illuminate the face for grooming,’ says Peter Cutajar from Lighting Design Solutions. ‘The most common mistake people make is installing recessed lighting fixtures directly over the mirror. These throw shadows on the face, making daily grooming rituals, whether shaving or applying make-up, more difficult.

‘Vertical fixtures or wall lights mounted either side of the mirror are best for casting an even light across the face thus eliminating shadows.

‘The shower is a secondary area of task lighting  – consider one or two recessed spotlights above the shower. In smaller bathrooms, however, if the stall has a clear glass door, a dedicated fixture may not be necessary. Recessed fixtures also work well over a free-standing tub or the toilet.’

Garden

Without lighting, your garden becomes an uninteresting black space when the sun sets. Instead, ‘whether the outside dining space is a roof terrace, balcony or a small garden, treat your garden as another room,’ says Peter Cutajar.

How? ‘The first thing to decide is what to light and to what intensity so that the garden is not overlit. Use light selectively to make use of the darkness, enhancing the best elements while concealing the worst. Up-lighting planting is the obvious way to add interest in an outdoor space but the right type of planting is needed to achieve the best effect.

Statement trees and multi-stem shrubs work well, creating a play or light and shade. ‘Buried recessed uplights can highlight the texture of a wall, or lighting could be built into the side of planters to throw light across the path.’

Don’t go to bright however as this makes a garden feel over bright and cold.

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