Light It Right With Our Lighting FAQ Guide

Find out all about interior lighting design in our handy FAQ!

Good lighting doesn’t just mean you have attractive fixtures on your ceiling, on your walls or as lamps, it goes far beyond that. Our guide will unpack the wonderful world of lighting in interior design so your home can be aglow with the right type of lighting for every room and time of day. 
A lot of time when people renovate homes, lighting can often be left until last which is a big mistake. You should consider the design as a whole and incorporate lighting in the property into your grand scheme. It also means when you come to the end of your interior decorating that there is no money left for this vital aspect of home design. 

Understanding Lighting Terminology

So that you can begin to learn how to use lighting to your advantage, there are some key types of lighting you should know about. Once you learn to master these various types of lighting in your home it should be a breeze to apply the techniques to your own home, using multiple sources of light throughout the day and night to achieve the desired mood you wish to create. 
Ambient: This type of lighting is also known as background lighting because it is the main source of light in a room, usually stemming from a ceiling light in the centre of the room. It is usually the most powerful light in the room as it has to spread its light to all corners and fill the space. Sources of this kind of lighting include central hanging pendant lights, sconces, downlighting and chandeliers. 
Task: When you need that extra light to supplement the ambient lighting, task lighting is primarily designed to allow you to achieve one task in one particular space. An example of this could be a table lamp where you like to read or a floor lamp where you knit in the evenings. Sources of this light include desk, floor and table lamps. They can also be built in to furniture such as mirrors or under cupboards. 
Accent: If you have to create a feature and highlight a certain object in your home, an accent light does the job perfectly. It might be an internal light under a bookcase or in a glass cabinet or a spotlight angled to a certain piece of artwork or sculpture in the home. Examples of this lighting feature are LED style strip lighting, directional spotlights and even chandeliers hanging lower than usual over a table. 
Decorative: This style of lighting doesn’t serve any kind of purpose other than to be aesthetically pleasing. It includes low-energy fairy lights wrapped around a bedpost or plant which can be turned on to look pretty. It can also include candle lighting which casts a soft glow in a certain area of the home rather than filling the space or highlighting anything in particular. 

Why Is Lighting Important?

When you get lighting right, it has the potential to completely transform a space, making a homely and comfy space you can really enjoy as a family. However, if you misjudge your lighting needs, it can create a harsh contrast with your décor and bring with it a bad vibe that affects the entire atmosphere of the room. 

Do I Need A Lot Of Light In A Room?

For a room to be lit perfectly, you need to use around 25 watts for every square metre which equates to 250 lumens. This can be from your ambient light, or a combination of task and accent lighting. When you utilise different kinds of lighting in a room, it can section areas off and create an illusion of space.

What’s The Difference Between Day And Night Lighting?

During the day, you should have a good source of natural light to lift the space, but on darker overcast days you may need to supplement the lighting. As night falls, it’s a good idea to switch from ambient to task so the room is not completely lit up, but just enough to allow you to focus on what you’re doing. 

How Can I Create My Own Lighting Plan?

Understand how the room is used on a daily basis and work from there. You might only need task lighting in a small office space for both day and night, but for a bedroom you might want a good level of ambient light and sunlight, but then a floor lamp or bedside table lamp for the evening hours.

At What Stage Of Renovation Should I Plan The Lighting?

If you think the house you are renovating needs a rewire, then that is the perfect time to say where you want your ceiling lights and plug sockets to complement the design of the room. If all the lighting is already in place, you can experiment with different bulbs and fixtures to get the ideal look you want. 

Should I Use A Variety Of Lighting Techniques?

You may choose a large, wired ceiling light to cast across the whole room, or add subtle touches with floor lamps, table lamps and sconces. You can even use fairy lights to create that magical element. Each room should contain a minimum of 2 different lighting sources, more if it is feasible. 

Is An Interior Designer Necessary?

It can always help to have an expert eye when you are conducting home renovations, and interior designers will be able to provide that level of experience you may not have yourself. Small scale renovations may not need that much input, but a quick consultation could prove very beneficial. 

What Else Do I Need To Consider?

Lighting sources are one thing, but you should also think about the colour of the light – white or yellow and multicoloured decorative pieces are all options. You also need to think about if you need a dimmer for your main ambient light, and what shapes, shadows and angles your task and accent lighting create.

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