Do you know which light tone is best used in a study? Or what effect a wall uplighter has on the perceived size of a living room? Here’s how to use different types of lighting to change the look and feel of any room:
There’s a long-held misconception among homeowners that the more natural light a house gets, the better. That’s not actually true.Too much natural light can make a room suffer from a phenomenon known as “over illumination”, which is unflattering and can actually have adverse effects on health.
In addition, there are practical considerations.A TV or computer screen with a large window behind it will suffer from glare,whichwill likely lead to you having to block out window light whenever you’re looking at the screen.
Window shutters solve both of these problems.You can use them to control the flow of natural light from your window into key rooms (like your living room or bedroom). They also allow you to dampen the effect of natural light without blocking it out completely – meaning you don’t have to choose between screen glare and watching TV in total darkness.
Interior doors with bevelled glass insets are also a great way to control the flow of natural light between rooms. They’re particularly useful if most of your larger windows are on one side of the house, helping daylight spread more evenly throughout your home. The visual effect of transparent or opaque glassalso makes the room beyond look far more inviting than doors made from a heavy wood.
Skylights provideanother great option for allowing natural light into a room. A particular favorite for loft and attic rooms, skylights can also be added to single story homes to help distribute daylight more evenly throughout living spaces.
Ambient lighting is the main source of light in a room – and it usually comes from overhead fixtures.
Adding a dimmer switch to control your ambient lighting will give you far more options as to how your living spaces are lit.You can choose the brightnessto help set the mood you want. Dimmers offer far more flexibility than a simple on/off light switch, which limit you to choosing between two extremes.
Often lumped into the same category as “romantic lighting”, mood lighting can be used to evoke a whole range of different feelings – romance being just one. The brightness, texture, and color of mood lighting – together with location of fixtures – all play a part in the overall feeling it will bring to a room.For example:
- Big, bright white lights create feelings of alertness, stimulating hormones that wake you up and make you feel happy.
- Amber lights simulate dawn and dusk, creating feelings of restfulness.
- Lights with blue wavelengths simulate the intense natural light of midday, helping us feel more focused.
So when creating a mood for your room, bear these colors of lighting in mind.Try to match them with appropriate fixtures that will amplify their effect. For example, your evening lighting for your living room should probably revolve around amber mood lighting. So choose floor lamps and uplighters that simulate the setting of the sun.
Task lighting helps create an area of focus in areas of the home that involve work and action. This is why bright LED spotlighting is used so often in kitchens and why desk lamps are a fixture in studies. Task lighting has the practical effect of adequately lighting working space, as well as creating a point of focus for the room.
For example, a study may benefit from a mixture of white and blue lighting – perhaps a bright white desk lamp and paired with a blue light corner lamp.
Accent lighting draws the eye towards a specific feature in a room – for example, to highlight a particular piece of hanging art. Choosing the right level of accent lighting means selecting the color, pattern, and texture of light that will best complement your room’s overall lighting scheme. You can achieve it through clever use of fixtures like recessed lighting and spot lighting.
For example, placing a recessed light at the foot of an exposed brick feature wall will create an up-lighting effect that washes your wall with a purposely uneven tone – the resulting look can be quite stunning without being overbearing.
Similarly, recessed uplighters can be used to accent a bay window, creating the illusion of more space in your room.