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Tips and Tricks For Lighting Your home

By Andrew Fraser on 02.23.2019 in Scotlight Direct , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Tips, Tricks, and Ideas For Lighting Your Home 

While proper lighting is a critical element of interior design, actually deciding on which lights to incorporate into your home can be incredibly difficult. 

Good, appropriate lighting is vital – it affects the ambiance, mood and feel of any home. Get it right, and your entire house will look more attractive and inviting, maximizing the room you have.

You’ll need to decide on the lamp bulb types you prefer, how to distribute your lights, the number of fixtures you’d like to use and many more confusing variables.

It’s tricky, and there’s a minefield of mixed information out there. But fear not, we’re going to be covering everything you need to know about lighting your home the right way.

Lighting Ideas For Your Living Room

The Living Room: Beautiful Lighting Ideas

Whether it’s for relaxing after a long day’s work or catching up on the news with our morning coffee, the living room is the place we tend to spend most of our time. A major part of making the most of the space comes down to lighting it the right way. 

Image source

Generally speaking, the modern-day living room requires three different types of lighting: ambient, task and accent.

  • Ambient lighting provides general illumination in a room, brightening the entire space rather than focusing light on any particular area. 
  • Task lighting works to illuminate specific work areas, enabling certain tasks to be performed by directing light towards focused zones.
  • Accent lighting highlights specific objects like pieces of art or ornaments to make them stand out.

Though these are only three basic lighting requirements, they can be combined to form an infinite number of variations. Each will create a different look and feel, shaping the overall aesthetic of your sitting room.

Whether you’re looking for something exciting and vibrant, sleek and modern, or perhaps a room that’s a little more hygge, there’s an endless supply of lighting styles for every setting.

So where do you start?

Variety is the Spice of Light

When it comes to lighting your living room the right way, it’s a good idea to mix different types of lighting together. 

Using a combination of recessed downlights, table lamps, ceiling lights, and smaller accent lights such as picture lights will provide a layered effect in your room. This will help to maximise available space whilst drawing attention to particular design elements.

In the example below, pot style downlights have been used in the ceiling to provide overall ambient lighting, whilst a subtle designer table lamp adds depth and character.P

Living Room Lighting Ideas

You can do the same – experiment with different lighting styles until you create an environment that suits your preferences. 

Lighting Style Ideas in the Living Room

Let’s take a look at some different lighting styles for inspiration.

Recessed Downlight Fixtures for a Little Extra Light

Recessed downlights provide a sleek, minimal look and feel, working to light areas of a sitting room that central overhead fixtures might not reach.

Living Room Downlights

In larger rooms, a single ambient fixture often isn’t enough to provide adequate lighting in all areas. You can work around this issue by implementing recessed lights in corners and bay windows to brighten every nook and cranny. Wall Lights can also help with this problem and can provide greater flexibility with light levels.

Hanging Fixtures

There are plenty of other options to choose from in case recessed downlight fixtures don’t suit the aesthetic of your room. Hanging pendants serve as an attractive, modern lighting source suitable for a range of homes. Lounge Ceiling Lights come in a variety of styles such as semi flush ceiling lights, contemporary ceiling lights or even antique brass ceiling lights to suit any home.

Be sure to stick with simple fixtures and hang them in a grid layout, rather than at random spaces. Opt for lights that have clean silhouettes so as to avoid creating too many shadows. 

Dar Lighting ARO0138

Using an Arc or Floor Lamp

If it isn’t possible for you to add in any more ceiling fixtures, or they just don’t suit your preferences, you can create some really attractive effects with portable floor lights. 

Arc lights or floor lamps, for example, sit high off the ground and mimic the lighting effect of ceiling fixtures (without requiring an electrician for installation.) Arcs are very modern-looking light sources and work best with contemporary designs.

Ceiling Lights

Ceilin lights can also be added to living rooms, providing a unique detail and softer illumination for during the evening. They can also draw attention to architectural features in the ceiling space, whilst adding an elegant feel to maximize the space.

Dar Lighting
Photo By Dar Lighting

Wall Lights

Unique wall spotlights or modern wall lights can act as a bold statement, providing a creative flair and adding a distinctive, contemporary feel to your living room.

The lights used in this image by Disc Interiors, for example, can be adjusted, allowing users to change their size and offering complete control over the direction of the light.

Balance Your Lights

Where table lamps and chandeliers are being added in random spots throughout your room, it’s important to create some balance. This will give the impression that, like every good interior designer, your lighting choices were intentional and carefully thought-out particularly when it comes to living room lighting.

If you have a table lamp at one end of a sofa, or a recessed fixture at one corner of the room, balance the light out by adding equal lighting to the opposite side. 

Bedroom Lighting

Lighting the Bedroom

Bedrooms, by their nature, require entirely different lighting styles to rooms like the bathroom or kitchen. Your lighting choices in each space should match the room’s function – and in the bedroom, we sleep, wake, and relax. 

It’s one of the only rooms in the house where we’re exposed to both absolute darkness and blinding sunrise, whilst required to serve as a relaxing space to zone out in the evening.

So how on earth do you light such a diverse room? 

Layering Your Lights

The key to creating the perfect lighting in your bedroom is to layer the fixtures you choose – finding the right balance between ambient, task and accent lighting. 

This balance provides you with complete control over the intensity of your lights at any one time. Need bright and stimulating first thing on a winter morning? No problem. Soft, relaxing tones for bedtime? Easy.

By the simple flick of a switch, layering your lights gives you the option to create the right type of lighting to suit any mood, creating an adaptable space perfect for all occasions.

Ambient Lighting

The layering of your lights should be determined by the tasks you aim to perform on a regular basis. Your best bet is to start with ambient or general lighting. 

Proper ambient lighting will make use of natural illumination through the use of big windows and skylights. If this isn’t possible, you can use artificial ceiling fixtures such as downlights to provide full-room illumination, allowing you to perform tasks like cleaning and dressing. 

If you’re opting for artificial fixtures, this can best be achieved using ceiling lights, pendants, and floor lamps.

Task Lighting

While most commonly used for sleeping, the bedroom is also a great place for relaxing tasks like reading, writing and watching TV. For that reason, it’s always a good idea to implement some task lighting into your space.

Task lighting doesn’t have to take the shape of traditional bedside lamps or reading lights. While these are fine, you can also experiment with a range of other fixtures, like pendant lamps hanging either side of your bed or wall-mounted beside lights.

Dar Lighting ANV7150

 

 

Accent Lighting

Traditionally, accent lighting is intended to draw attention to particular features in a room. In the bedroom, however, accent lighting can serve as a form of ambient lighting, only subdued and more subtle to give off a soft glow.

Recessed lights, wall lights and LED tape lights can all be repurposed and used as an attractive bedroom design feature.

Top 3 Lighting Layers For Your Home

Dimmers

Bright light is both a blessing and a curse in the bedroom. It’s great – essential, even, for making tasks like applying makeup and cleaning easier. But it can also seriously impair our ability to fall asleep.

Our bodies are designed to detect light and use it as a signal for sleeping/waking. Total darkness tells us it’s time to sleep, while bright, sun-like hues stimulate us. 

With this in mind, it’s always a good idea to use dimmer switches in the bedroom. Not only do these add an extra dimension to your space, but they’re inherently multifunctional.

A dimmer switch allows you to accommodate many different lighting needs, from soft hues in the evening to brighter tones in the early morning. At maximum intensity, a dimmer serves as a form of general lighting, whilst minimal illumination adds depth and softness.

Tricks & Ideas For Using LED Dimmers

Choosing the Right Bulbs

Layering your lights is important when it comes to creating the right level of ambiance in your bedroom. Your bulb types will work to determine the mood and feel in the space. 

Brightness

The intensity and color that your lamp bulbs emit have the potential to either positively or negatively affect the way you feel when performing various activities in the room. 

Before purchasing any bulb you can find, you’ll want to take the time to consider what level of brightness you’d prefer in your bedroom. This is measured in lumens, and around 2,000 – 4,000 lumens is recommended when it comes to bedroom lighting. 

Of course, the lumens you decide on will be dependent upon your personal preferences. The more lumens, the brighter the bulb will be. 

Once you’ve decided on that, you’ll want to consider whether or not your selected bulb type is dimmable. LED lamp bulbs that are dimmable will work with most standard LED dimmers, however, you should always check with the manufacturer to confirm that they are compatible with each other. You may need special dimmers for flicker/buzz-free control. 

Colour

The color of your bulbs also plays an important role when it comes to illuminating particular activities. 

To begin, consider the type of bulb you’d prefer to use. Incandescent/halogen bulbs, for instance, tend to give off a give off soft white glows (note, however, that halogen bulbs are being banned from most countries due to their inefficiency), while CFLs diffuse more blue light and are now older technology which is rarely used so we advise ignoring these.

LEDs are the strongest option as they can provide a broad spectrum of lighting hues. 

Consider, too, that both blue and white lighting have been proven to promote feelings of awake and alertness, suppressing sleep hormones like melatonin. For that reason, such tones are best used as ambient lights. 

Warmer, yellower tones, on the other hand, interfere with melatonin production much less and allow us to sleep better. These colors make for ideal task lighting when required late at night. A night lamp, for instance, will allow you to see clearly enough to read without keeping you awake. 

When you consider the range of tasks a bedroom hosts, it becomes clear why many different lighting styles and intensities are required. By providing a mixture of these, you can rest assured knowing you have everything covered. 

Kelvins Chart Of LED Lamp Bulbs

Expert Bedroom Lighting Tips

We’ve covered the logistics of lighting a bedroom – which lamp bulbs to use, where to place them and how to layer your light. Now let’s take a look at some expert design tips for when it comes to making your sleeping space stand out. 

Be Mindful of Where Light Lands

Trained architect and interior designer Jamie Bush recommends carefully measuring everything out before adding lights into a room. 

“If there’s art on the wall, we install ceiling spotlights, set two feet in from the wall if it’s a standard eight-foot ceiling, or farther in if the ceiling is taller.”

Each and every light fixture you implement should be done so with purpose and care. Installing accent lights at eye-level will effectively make particular features like artwork or ornaments stand out. 

Pendant lamps centred in the room often sit above the bed and so shouldn’t hang too low, Bush advises. Around 12 inches from the ceiling is usually low enough.

Less is More

Bush prefers to use larger fixtures, but fewer of them. ‘Larger elements in design make larger impacts. I don’t use many small or standardized sizes. To me they seem to lay flat, or look like tchotchkes. I prefer things with presence and size and scale.’

With so many different lighting styles available, it’s easy to go overboard and crowd your bedroom with everything that comes to mind. This is a bad idea. 

Instead, be selective in your choices, choosing only fixtures which add depth or function to the bedroom. 

Balancing and Layering

Matching Floor & Ceiling Lamp

According to Bush, symmetry isn’t particularly important when it comes to lighting the bedroom, but balancing and layering are crucial. 

‘For example, I might place a floor lamp next to a lounge chair, table lamps on either side of the bed, and a decorative fixture on a dresser. I always try to have something with a shade to give a general warm glow.’

As well as layering your lights, it’s also a good idea to consider the reflection of each fixture. Bouncing light off a white wall, for instance, can work to attract visitors’ eyes to the whole room, rather than to particular design features. 

Attracting light to corners and alcoves in a room can also make the space feel bigger and more balanced, according to Bush. ‘The goal isn’t an evenly lit room, but an interestingly lit one, so your eye travels from fixture to fixture.’

Creating Flexibility

Though intended for sleeping, bedrooms have become a hotbed for a range of different tasks, such as reading, applying makeup and working. Implementing lighting that accommodates all of these functions can be difficult – but it’s doable. 

Bush addresses this problem. ‘The key is creating flexibility,’ he writes, ‘and the ability to control light levels, so if someone wants to sleep and someone wants to work, you can accommodate that. Instead of one big overhead light, use different lighting in each area.’

A workspace in the corner of a bedroom lit by a large floor lamp could be coupled with soft bedside table lamps, with a single brighter ambient fixture in the centre of a ceiling. Such a setup creates a lighting plan that provides something for everyone. 

How to Choose Bedside Lighting

When it comes to selecting bedside lights for reading, it’s important to choose lighter tones.  ‘A black or dark gray shade might look cool, but if it doesn’t glow with light you can’t read by it,’ says Bush.

Opting for a swing-arm task light will provide total choice over the positioning of your bedside lights. 

If you’re less of a reader or prefer reading on a digital device like a Kindle, sharp light isn’t so important. Softer tones with lower lumens can be soothing and warm when used as bedside lights, allowing you to drift off to sleep without interference. 

You don’t have to stick with traditional table lamps, though. Pendants can also be hung at the bedside to create an interesting, modern feel. 

Bringing Modern Lighting Into a Traditional Bedroom

Pendant Lights by Dar Lighting

If you’re trying to modernize a more traditional space, lighting can be a kind of grey area. It’s tricky knowing which fixtures to implement, and striking the right balance between old and contemporary isn’t easy.

‘It’s all about the mix,’ says Bush. 

‘You have two options: Either pick one big statement piece—a contemporary fixture in the center of a room that has scale and presence and is clearly an anomaly, the thing that breaks the rule.’

Introducing several modern fixtures can also help to make it clear that your lighting choices are intentional, rather than an accidental mish-mash of unmatched styles. 

Ideas For Lighting Your Kitchen

Lighting Your Kitchen

When it comes to lighting your kitchen effectively, the primary aim is to create a well-planned lighting scheme that sets the right mood for cooking and eating, amongst other activities.

As kitchens are becoming increasingly required to accommodate a range of functions, such as dining, relaxing and entertaining, it’s important to carefully plan your lighting choices. 

Planning Your Kitchen Lighting

The best time to think about installing your kitchen lights is, of course, at the beginning of the planning stage – when you’re finalizing your kitchen drawings. That way, you can choose where to position each and every component to suit your preferences.

The best time to think about installing your kitchen lights is, of course, at the beginning of the planning stage – when you’re finalizing your kitchen drawings. That way, you can choose where to position each and every component to suit your preferences.

If you’re still in the planning stages, take a look at the different areas of your kitchen and picture which activities will take place where. 

Spaces like above the hob, near your sink and in food preparation zones will call for task lighting, while dining and relaxing areas require ambient, softer light sources. 

Ambient lights are also important when it comes to providing general illumination – but don’t forget to make the most of any natural light sources with large windows.

The lighting requirements of each individual kitchen will, of course, differ greatly. That’s why it’s crucial for you to look at your particular situation and decide which lights are needed and where. 

Lighting Style Requirements in the Kitchen

As you can see, the kitchen demands the implementation of a range of different light sources. Let’s take a closer look at each.

 Task Lighting

Task lighting often refers to the brightest lights in the kitchen, as these tend to target the main working areas in a kitchen such as worktops, cookers and the sink. 

While task lighting in other areas of the house typically takes the shape of wall lights and table lamps, things are a little different in the kitchen. 

Under-cupboard lighting can be fitted beneath kitchen cabinets and above the hob, for example, to provide bright and focused task lighting. 

Variations to these styles include small, compact LEDs as under-cupboard downlights, LED lighting strips underneath cabinets or directional spotlights to provide focused light on particular areas. 

 Mood Lighting

When considering mood lighting, start by looking at how much natural light your kitchen already receives from windows. If your space is multifunctional, ambient illumination from dimmable lights or eyeball fixtures can provide enough soft lighting for dining and entertainment.

For relaxation zones, wall lights and wall washers add subtle background illumination without over-lighting the space.  

Feature and Accent Lighting

Accent lighting can also be used to guide the eye towards particular design features in your kitchen. 

Whether lighting shelving, inside cabinets or up-facing spotlights, feature lighting serves the purpose of making a statement, adding depth and creative flair to your kitchen.

 Pendant Lights

I

Whether hung over a kitchen table or high above a kitchen island, pendant lamps are excellent statement pieces. 

Ranging from old-school industrial shapes to trendy copper or ceramic domes, pendants can be used to make your kitchen stand out, providing soft, relaxing light for any occasion.

Lighting Control

It’s clear that the modern-day kitchen demands a range of different lighting styles, from task lights to enable cooking and cleaning, to mood lighting for evening relaxation. 

The best way to achieve this is by implementing multiple lighting sources, but it’s also wise to consider a flexible illumination control system

Thankfully, there are plenty of available options that all allow you complete choice over the intensity, mood and color of the light sources you use, adapting them for every occasion. Some can even be controlled by the simple pressing of a button on your smartphone.

Tips For Lighting Your Home

5 General Home Lighting Tips and Ideas (For Everywhere Else)

We’ve covered the kitchen, bedrooms and sitting rooms in detail. Now let’s finish by looking at some basic home lighting tips that can be used throughout your house.

  1. Consider Your Ceiling Height

When it comes to selecting hanging light fixtures like pendants, be sure to consider your ceiling height carefully. Some lights come with adjustable cables or rods, but many don’t. 

A light that’s placed too high will fail to provide enough illumination. Those that are too low, on the other hand, will restrict space and only get in the way. 

Generally speaking, a light should hand about 12-20 inches below a standard 8-foot ceiling. For every additional light, you should add an extra 3 inches

2. Plan Everything Carefully

It’s always best to consider your lighting choices during the initial stage of planning rather than working to slot fixtures in once your kitchen is finalized. 

If you’d like recessed downlights to illuminate a bay window space, for instance, it’s best to factor that in before you finish construction. 

By taking care to map everything out, your lighting design endeavors will become far easier. 

3. Mix it Up

Rather than limiting yourself only to downlights, or recessed fixtures, consider experimenting with other choices like ceiling pendants, wall lights, table lamps, and floor lamps

Be sure to avoid harsh downlighting, though, as this can cast ominous, unattractive shadows. 

4. Don’t Forget Your Lamp Bulbs

When it comes to adding fixtures, it’s important to take the bulb type into consideration too. LED bulbs, for instance, can come in a range of intensities and colors which will greatly impact the mood of each light.  

If your walls are painted with cooler tones, warming them up with soft bulbs might help to balance things out – and vice versa. 

5. Experiment With Stair Lighting

Adding lights to stair risers is a great way to light up stairways without flooding visitors with too much light at nighttime. 

As staircases are often enclosed, lighting them from the sides or embedding lights in the risers can create an attractive, artistic design effect.

Our Lighting Ideas Guide

You’re Good to Go!

From the bedroom to the kitchen, we’ve covered everything you’ll need to know when it comes to lighting your home effectively. 

Be sure to experiment with a range of different lights, keeping your preferences in mind to ensure that the end-product is one that you’re completely happy with.