How to Make Light Work in Your Home
Saturday, 1 October 2016 | Karen
THE LIGHT IN YOUR HOME
Lighting is as much part of the room decor as colour or pattern and in some cases can be a tool that isn't used to its full potential.
Light can transform the dullest of rooms into a place where you want to be. A place that is welcoming, that looks comfortable, that looks inviting.
Your home will benefit from three types of lighting:
Ambient light is the light around us, it provides a room with overall illumination. Ambient light is a comfortable level of brightness, not glaring but allows you to see clearly and move about safely. You can achieve a good ambient light using ceiling lights, chandeliers, a central pendant light or recessed lights. Having a good source of ambient light in a room is essential to a well thought out lighting arrangement.
This is as it says it is lighting to help you perform a task, such as sewing, knitting, reading. Task lighting needs to bright enough to see clearly to perform your task. This lighting can be portable and can be provided by a desk light or table lamp placed near to where you are sitting. This light can be brighter as it can be switched off when not in use.
Lights! Action! Accent lighting adds drama to a room. Use accent lighting to draw attention to those things that you want visitors to your
home to notice. You can have accent lighting on a plant or flowers to create shadow and highlight the shape. It maybe a painting that you want to draw the eye to creating a focal point on the wall, a particular architectural feature in the room or it may be the wall itself to highlight texture and colour in the bricks.
You can use picture lights, wall mounted lights or recessed track lights to provide accent lighting in a room.
Balancing the daylight with functional artificial light in your home means you need to consider all of the sources of natural light that you have in each of your rooms have.
For almost all of us the natural light sources in our home will come from windows set within the walls, door or roof and the way the light floods through these windows will vary.
The source of our natural light is the sun, however sunlight will have different characteristics at different times of the day and or during different weather conditions.
Clouds affect sunlight, clouds are translucent and will let diffuse light as pass through. The light from a cloudy day can be 'subdued', quiet and calming, it can also be dramatic and threatening.
The midday sun is strong and bright and can have the effect of bleaching out colours. The evening sunlight can be warm and soft, until the point where the sun sets when the colours can become strong and dramatic.
For example: An east facing kitchen will mean that you will have sunlight in the morning for breakfast, but will mean that you may need task lighting at other times of the day if you are planning to use your kitchen as a home office during the day.
Windows and light sources
The light from :-
- North facing windows, tends to be cold and stark
- South facing windows will be warm and bright for most of the day
- East facing windows, will be bright first thing in the morning, but little or no sun during the day
- West facing windows will be bright during the afternoon and evening
So when you start thinking about the light that you need in a certain room you must think about
- The orientation of the room
- The natural light that is coming into the room
- Ask the question 'What do I use the room for?'
- At what time of the day is the room used?
- The size of the room
- Think about the surfaces, walls, carpets, ceilings, floors. All of these surfaces will absorb and reflect light in a different way
- The colours within the room, light and dark colours will absorb and reflect light in different ways
The surfaces and colours within the space will have an impact on how much of the natural light coming into the room will actually be of benefit to you
In order to complement the natural light in your home, choose lighting that complements your home, your home and lifestyle will be enhanced by using natural light and artificial light together in harmony.
Using artificial light to complement the natural light means that the artificial light must be easy to use and be flexible and versatile to make it easy to use different rooms at different times of the day for a variety of purposes throughout the year. Areas that serve more than one purpose, will require more than one style of lighting. Your lighting needs to be controllable this can be done using separate switches and or dimmer switches to create the lighting that you desire in a given space.
When lighting in your home is used properly it will make a positive impression in your home both inside and out. Good lighting can make the difference between a home that looks loved and welcoming to one that you would rather not spend time in. So think carefully about your lighting.