Let’s shed some light on the situation ….
Lighting is crucial to how a room feels but just like interior design it is complex and there are many things to consider. Here are 3 questions to get you started when thinking about lighting for your space.
- What kind of lighting does my room need?
Now as a rule you should have a mix of lights at different levels but it all depends really on the space and the use. Living rooms tend to need to cover a variety of functions; for example you probably don’t want the same light source for watching tv as you would for reading. Reading requires a practical light with a downward glow or a directional option to ensure you have sufficient lux levels to read without causing a strain to your eyes, however for watching television you probably want a more subtle ambient light; no one likes to watch television trying to focus on something other than the light glare and reflection on the screen. In the bedroom you will be looking to create a more cozy atmosphere, try to avoid lighting directly on or over the bed; ambient lighting needs to be subtle and you can always add beside table lamps for reading.
So think about the practicalities of your space and what you will be using the space for.
2. How do I choose the right type of fixture?
There are many options; flush mounted, semi-flush, pendant, recessed, chandelier and sconces. So how do you decide which is the best for your space. A good starting point is to consider the height of your ceilings when making your selection. It is no good falling in love with a pendant light only to find that when you install it you hit your head as the ceiling is too low. Always think about the proportion and scale of the space you don’t want to pick out a big 8 arm chandelier if you have a box room. Although you may want to make the light a feature you need to be careful that it doesn’t dominate the space. Now previously flush and semi-flush mounted fixtures where predominantly used in more classical design, however now there are modern versions available that literally add a halo to you room and they are gorgeous! (Scroll through the images to see some examples). As I touched on; pendants need adequate ceiling height and are best used over counters and tables. Recessed lights; although maybe considered a boring option can really help if you have low ceilings or want a very non fussy minimalist look to your ceiling. Chandeliers whether modern or more ornate classical can definitely add an elegance but be careful when placing large pieces over dining tables; make sure you can stand without the risk of it poking your eye out! Scones are best used in bathrooms with vanity mirrors but you need to ensure that the position is correct for an even distribution of light on your face. Fixing them a little below your eye level and not more than 40 inches apart will give the required illumination.
3. Which bulbs should I use and what the heck is wattage all about?
This all depends on the use of the light, for reading a 40-60 wattage is recommended. If you are using a computer the light in the room should be no brighter than the screen around 60 watts supplemented with some natural light should be sufficient. In a bathroom or at a vanity mirror where you might be applying make up will need a brighter light, go for between 60-80 watts (if you have scones that would be 40 per fixture)
Hope this helps, leave me a comment if you have more questions about lighting or visit the Q&A page and post your question there and I will get back to you soon.