How can I Improve Lighting in my home? It’s a question we’re asked all the time.
When you improve lighting in your home, you not only add light for tasks; you also add character. You’ve probably seen photographs of homes and wondered why it looked so good. Sure, the lovely cabinetry, chic furniture and custom architectural features are part of it, but what creates the mood? The answer is lighting.
When correctly lit, even sparsely decorated rooms feel inviting. You notice the finest features and your eye moves away from faults. A poorly lit room feels confined, dreary and uncomfortable.
If you have any rooms in your home this way, it’s time to improve lighting there. Here are five questions to ask yourself so you can identify what you need to improve it. You’ll choose the ideal lighting for the room and your lifestyle.
What Function Does The Room Serve?
Each room plays a distinct role in your household. Obviously, you don’t want the same lighting in each room, although this was often what home builders offered in the past. You might have an overhead fixture and then it was up to you to fill in the dull areas with lamps.
Today’s outlook on lighting differs. Now, designers tailor lighting to room use, and you should too. They use multiple fixtures and switches and use it to create ambiance, illuminate tasks, and accent objects and unusual features.
Areas such as the kitchen, bathroom and home office require bright light when you’re cooking, grooming, or working. However, the bedroom, living room, dining room and hallways may need more subdued lighting most times.
Where Do You Need To Improve Your Lighting?
Walk through your home and note problem areas. Is it too dark in the kitchen when you’re preparing food, or is it almost impossible to see what you’re doing as you prepare for the day in the bathroom? Do you need to switch on an overhead light in the living room, but it’s too bright when you want to watch television? Is your bedroom full of shadowy corners, because you rely on bedside lamps as your only source of light?
Once you know which areas need attention, you can determine your lighting goals. Effective room lighting includes three layers of light – general, task, and ambient. General lighting is usually overhead, task lighting may be spotlights, downlights, track lighting or lamps, and ambient light comes from many sources. You’ll want to create a mood in each room with sufficient light to perform necessary tasks. Improve Lighting – improve mood!
Do You Have Proper Fixtures?
Now that you know which areas need attention, you can focus on the fixtures that deliver the light you need. LED technology offers energy savings and versatility. Here are some of the most common fixtures and how they’re often used.
Ceiling mount: These work well in entryways, hallways, stairwells, bathrooms and sometimes in bedrooms. They offer overall, dispersed light so you can manoeuvre in your home. Versatile track lighting can also be ceiling mounted and directed to highlight objects or dull areas in your living room. Down lights also work well for task lighting and to create ambiance.
Chandeliers & Pendants: Chandeliers and pendants offer general lighting over a dining room or kitchen table and can add ambiance when equipped with a dimmer. Some people also use chandeliers and pendants in the bedroom for style, or over countertops for tasks.
Wall-mounted: Many wall-mounted fixtures exist including sconces, LED spotlights, and picture lights. You can use them to create ambiance, provide additional light for tasks, or to accent artwork or areas in the room.
Recessed: Use recessed LED fixtures anywhere for general, task or accent lighting. Choose the appropriate brightness and how you want the light to disperse in the room.
Table & Floor Lamps: Lamps are still an excellent way to provide task lighting in the bedroom or living room. Scale the fixtures to your furniture. Normally, a table lamp should not be more than 1.5 times the height of the table, with an equal or smaller shade width.
Are You Using Dimmers?
Adding a dimmer to an overhead light is an excellent choice for multipurpose rooms. They reduce energy consumption and increase bulb life, but more importantly they allow you set the light level appropriately.
Dimmers improve aesthetics and set the mood. You may want bright light when the family’s eating dinner, but you may want to tone things down if you’re throwing a dinner party.
Do You Have The Correct Bulbs?
The decline of incandescent lighting changed bulb design. Consequently, wattage is no longer a reflection of brightness. Instead, you’ll shop for lumens.
The size of the room, your décor, and the mood you wish to create all determine how much light you’ll need in each room. However, some general light requirement guidelines apply. Sometimes just changing your bulbs can improve lighting in a room.
Kitchens and bathrooms need the most light – between 4,000 and 10,000 lumens. Dining rooms and home offices need between 3,000 and 6,000 lumens. Bedrooms and living rooms need the least – between 1,500 and 4,000 lumens. All rooms should utilize general, task, and ambient lighting to achieve the required lumens.
LED fixtures and bulbs offer versatility and energy efficiency. Bulbs fit existing fixtures or you can add new LED fixtures for additional light. They emit light with little heat and the bulbs last a very long time. Today, they’re also very affordable.
You’ll want to choose the correct colour temperature too. Use warm white wherever you want to create a warm cosy feeling, such as the bedroom or living room. Choose cool white in the kitchen or bathroom where you need clean, clear light. Choose daylight bulbs in areas such as above a bathroom mirror or in a craft room where you do detailed work. Hopefully we’ve given you enough information for you to feel confident that you can improve lighting in any room of your home!