Improving your home lighting does not only mean putting on additional lights. The goal is to improve and also to add character… You may have seen images of interiors and exteriors of various houses on Pinterest that are jaw-dropping. You may think that the photos look good because of the quality of the camera used to take the picture, or they were edited. What makes the images Pinterest-worthy, or a Home magazine-worthy? The answer is correct lighting.

A sparsely-decorated room with correct lighting feels inviting. The lights wash any imperfections on the walls or ceiling that you might notice in a place. On the other hand, your eyes will see every single detail of a poorly-lit room. Also, the room feels dreary, confined and uncomfortable. If one of the rooms in your house feels this way, then it is time to improve the lighting in the room.

These five questions to ask yourself will help you identify what you need to improve in your room.

Home Lighting 101
A well lit room

What Function Does the Room Serve?

Each room in the house has a role. In the past, all the rooms in a house had the same lighting. Homebuilders install overhead fixtures for you to fill in with lamps of your choice. You don’t want the same light for each room in your house, especially if they do not have the same function. Pre-installed fixtures lack character and personalization.

Today, indoor lighting is based on the function of the room. Adding multiple fixtures and switches create the desired ambience of the room, illuminate tasks, and bring out an unusual feature of an object or wall. Bright lighting is a need in the kitchen, bathroom and home office when you are preparing a meal, grooming, or working. Meanwhile, the living room, dining room, bedroom and hallways need subdued lighting for relaxation.

Where Do You Need to Improve Your Home Lighting?

Check your entire household and note any lighting problem that you may notice. Are there shadows on the countertops while you are preparing a meal? Is it hard to see in the bathroom? Is it difficult to see what’s on TV because the overhead light is too bright? Are there dark corners in your bedroom?

After noting the lighting problems in your house, you can start planning the lighting that best suits the area. General lighting is usually an overhead light that provides general lighting to a room. A task lighting can be downlights or spotlights meant to illuminate a small area where you perform your tasks. Ambient lighting can come from various sources that are mostly for decorative purposes.

Do You Have Proper Fixtures?

You can now focus on the fixtures that deliver the light you need in a room after determining what needs to be improved. Most modern fixtures use LED technology. Thus, you must know their role in providing the correct lighting. Below are the fixtures and their respective functions.

Ceiling mount: They are overhead fixtures meant for overhead lighting. It is best to have ceiling mounts in hallways, entryways, bathrooms and staircases. A ceiling mount is useful to highlight the dull areas in the living room or objects. You may also use downlights to provide illumination and create ambience at the same time.

Wall-mounted: LED spotlights and sconces are the most common wall-mounted fixtures. They function as accent lighting, provide added lights and create ambience in a space.

Recessed: These fixtures are for general, task or accent lighting. Select the bulb or light that best suits the need for the area.

Chandeliers & Pendants: They are often for general lighting over a kitchen table and dining room. Most of these fixtures use LED lights that have dimmers to add a character in the area and improve mood.

Table & Floor Lamps: These are excellent, portable lighting typically used in the living and bedroom. They generally are small and offer accent lighting.

Are You Using Dimmers?

Dimmers are devices connected between the lighting fixture & the power to adjust the brightness. Regular dimmers work by changing  the voltage that the lamp uses. Thus, they can reduce the intensity of the light output. For LED lights, the dimmers work by either controlling the forward current going to the diodes or by manipulating the on and of intervals of each diode. Adding a dimmer helps lower the energy consumption of your lights. Also, they are a great instrument to improve the aesthetics in a room and set a positive mood.

Do You Have the Correct Bulbs?

LED bulbs are the best bulbs to use in your home lighting. These are energy-saving bulbs that convert 95% energy into light and very little into heat, unlike traditional incandescent bulbs. Thus, you don’t need a lot of energy to produce the brightness you need in a room. Also, they last longer than incandescent bulbs with over 15,000 light hours (and up to 50,000 hours!). These LED bulbs come in various brightness and colours, which are essential in setting the mood in your home.

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Interior designer with a special interest in lighting and how it shapes our perception of a space. Ever since I was a little girl, I loved to rearrange and reimagine virtually every room I’ve gone into, often to the great despair of my family members. I continued to pursue this inclination into adulthood, which has led me to obtain a Master’s Degree in Interior Design from the University of Brighton. Currently, I work as a freelance design consultant, helping new homeowners create a warm and welcoming atmosphere with a special emphasis on the right use of lighting. As a writer for the Simple Lighting blog, I hope to use my field experience to help countless people brighten their homes and utilize their living space in the best way possible.


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