How early in an interior design project do you consider the lighting? I suspect we’re all a little guilty of leaving this particular element of a room re-vamp until the later stages, concentrating instead on things like room layout, paint colours and furniture. But really, lighting should be one of the first things we consider when embarking on an interiors project, because it’s so integral to the finished ‘feel’ and functionality of a room.
If you’re a little unsure when it comes to choosing interior lighting, here are some tips on how to get it right.
A layered approach
When it comes to designing interior lighting, a well-known approach is to think of the lighting in layers, with each layer serving a different purpose. It’s not as complicated as you might think!
This is your basic starting point for the lighting in a room. It consists of any natural light that the room receives from windows, plus lighting that is there to light the room in general. Ceiling lights are the most common source of ambient light, but other lights that provide more than a spotlight are also included in this category – for example, wall lights.
Think of ambient lighting as a general source of light, upon which you can then build additional layers of lighting to focus on specific areas or functions of a room.
Task lighting is specific to the particular tasks you want to perform in a room. So that’s things like working at a desk, reading, preparing food or getting ready to go out.
When you’re working on your room design, spend some time thinking about what you’ll actually do in the space on a regular basis, and select task lighting to suit those activities. Table lamps, floor lamps, desk lamps, pendant lights and recessed kitchen unit lights are all examples of task lighting.
Think of task lighting as the functional lighting that allows a room to serve it’s purpose well.
The final interior lighting layer, accent lighting is used to create a mood or highlight a particular feature. Picture lights, wall lights, up-lights and candles are all examples of accent lighting. You can also make your ambient lighting multi-task as accent lighting by adding dimmer switches.
When choosing accent lighting, decide which elements of your room you’d like to really draw attention to, and how you’d like the room to feel. You can also use accent lighting to draw attention away from an area you’re not keen on!
Find style inspiration online
As with any interiors project, it’s a good idea to do your research when it comes to lighting styles. Obviously you will want your lighting style to complement the overall look you’re going for in the room, so use this as a starting point. I’m a big fan of Pinterest for this type of research, it’s a great resource for helping to firm up the look you’re going for before you get into the details.
Once you’ve nailed the layer and style of lighting you’re going for, you’re ready to start looking for specific products. Online lighting store Lights has a really comprehensive range of lighting to suit all styles and functions, and is a great place to carry on that search for inspiration.
Stick to the same bulb colours
This is a simple tip that makes all the difference to the overall effect of lighting in a room. Light bulbs give off light in a range of shades of white, from cool blue tones right through to warm yellows. Choosing bulbs that have a similar colour rating for all the lights in your room will create a really harmonious lighting effect.
Choose the right size fitting
It’s important to get the size of light fitting right in relation to your room. A fitting that’s too big or too small can look out of place, and may not provide the right amount of light for the space. Try to scope out the amount of space your chosen fitting will occupy in the room before buying it, and make sure you check product dimensions carefully if you’re ordering online.
And there you have it – a few easy ways to really nail the lighting on your next interiors project. I hope you find them useful – and if you’ve got any great interior lighting tips to add then please share them in the comments!
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