Choosing the Right Lighting for your Home

Basics, Lighting ideas — By on May 18, 2013 3:25 pm

Well, you have already made home improvements – walls are plastered, grounded, and painted, new furniture is positioned, even the space is cleaned up; yet, you feel something is missing. After a short reflection, the problem is identified; lighting fixtures are not installed and the single bulb hanging from the ceiling on a folded cord cannot cheer you up.

Allegedly, everything was accordingly planned, carefully considered, and ordered beforehand. However, do not get despaired because it turns out to be a common issue.

Do not give yourself airs, you are not unique, but rather fall within a large group of people who refurnishing their home do not look up at the ceiling to the last moment. However, this is understandable because in 90% of the time we look at or below the horizon, both at home and outside it.

When invited to a newly furnished or just repaired home it is not surprising to see ceilings without lighting fixtures because lighting is usually an afterthought; furthermore, in many cases it is postponed for an indefinite period.

I have had drastic cases when my friends for years relied on harmful, uncomfortable and impractical illumination without even realizing how things seemingly irrelevant to lighting turn out to be preposterously connected with proper lighting;  moreover, these issues can be easily changed exactly with lighting.

kitchen lighting with pendants Choosing the Right Lighting for your Home

People do not realize that proper lighting and light in general add beauty, volume, texture, and structure to everything that surrounds us. This is particularly true for artificial lighting at homes, offices, or indoor entertainment centers.

If you doubt, make an experiment: enter your favorite, best-furnished room in the evening, shortly after the sun has disappeared behind the horizon without turning on any lights. Now, tell me … can you see the colors of the furniture and their dimensions? Can you clearly see the interior décor scheme? Can you perceive anything else except shadows and flat shapes?

bad kitchen lighting Choosing the Right Lighting for your Homegood kitchen lighting Choosing the Right Lighting for your Home

You cannot, of course, and this is perfectly normal. Eyesight is one of the most important senses; due to it, we perceive a massive amount of information every day. Eyesight can only work when there is adequate light because it helps perceive the information about the world around us.

It should be mentioned that it is all about quality light. Light is not always of good quality and even less suitable for our homes. However, let us see what my clients usually ask me. I will try to synthesize the most important questions about home lighting.

1. What is the right light I need for my living room/bedroom/kitchen?

This is the first question my clients usually ask. Though seemingly relatively simple, as associated with other factors and follow-up questions, it is one of the most complex issues. There is no a universal answer, but my practice has led to some conclusions that provide guidance and can be used for a quick evaluation of the requirements for the light intensity.

A typical rectangular living room measuring 5m x 4m x 2.5m can be well lit by 250W to 300W standard incandescent lamps provided by at least a five-light chandelier, each bulb 60W.

Each home is individual and specific parameters can be determined only after specifying other factors, such as wall colors, furniture, zoning of the space, activities performed in the space, and more.

If you have specific questions, do not hesitate to contact me or ask directly in the comments below this article.

2. Can I illuminate the space without installing additional lighting?

In rare cases it is possible, but at the expense of other quality parameters.

multiple lights instaleld Choosing the Right Lighting for your Home

The combination of chandeliers, sconces and table/floor lamps offers an opportunity to provide correct zoning of lighting, incorporate extra light wherever required, emphasize certain areas, and soften light. Creating layers of light is the best approach because the result is introducing multiple sources of moderate light positioned at our wish. Although widely spread, relying on a single source of light at maximum power is an incorrect concept; however, it is recommended for service premises, such as lavatories, closets, laundry rooms, and more.

3. Is there a difference between one- light fixtures and multiple-light fixtures?

As hinted in the previous paragraph, a single light source is not recommended. A five-light chandelier both adds comfort and elegance and spreads pleasing, diffused mixture of light from several sources.

chandelier over table Choosing the Right Lighting for your Home

Shadows are softer, shapes are more attractive, and colors of the décor are distinctive because the lighting scheme does not comprise maximum-power and bright lights. More lamps in lighting fixtures /in particular in chandeliers/ provide variability to adjust the level of light. Dimmers offer a similar option /learn more here/.

4. What is the proper height to hang a ceiling lighting fixture?

Usually, chandeliers, pendants, and other hanging lights are hung at such suspension height as to allow normal walking under them. Consider also the height of the space and some other factors, such as the purpose of the space; fixtures above a dining table can be dropped lower.

modern kitchen lighting Choosing the Right Lighting for your Home

Due to the construction of many buildings with lower ceilings, an array of elegant semi flush-mount ceiling lamps are available on the market. Even if this option creates a feeling of a smaller space, opt for ceiling lights or downlights.

5. What type of bulbs should I choose?

It is advisable /of course, in compliance with the recommendations of the manufacturer/ to choose bulbs, which complete the design of the luminaire.

Have you seen energy-saving bulbs installed to a luxurious chandelier designed for candle-like bulbs? Do not try this, although sometimes the desire to go green and environmentally friendly is overwhelming. Always consider your choice in terms of both functionality and aesthetics.

chandelier with esl Choosing the Right Lighting for your Home

Choose bulbs, which lend the look of the luminaire you would like best /Hint: In almost all cases, for their catalogues manufacturers equipped products with bulbs; you just need to see what designers have chosen/.

Energy-saving, incandescent, LED, or halogen – the choice is yours, just weigh all aesthetic and economical considerations and your personal preference. More about bulb types learn here.

As for the choice opaque, white, or transparent, unless you have no alternative, always opt for matte bulbs because they offer more diffused and softer light. Transparent bulbs create sharp shadows and lines and lend an unpleasant look to all objects, including people. Avoid them unless when installed behind shades. Do you remember that single hanging bulb from the beginning of this article; a transparent single hanging bulb is even a worse option.

6. Should the fixture match the décor?

It is compulsory. A mishmash of styles and models creates a sense of chaos, clutter, and lack of a vision of the overall interior. By the way, do you know why interior designers create such gorgeous décors?

This is because they do not do things piece by piece; furthermore, they coordinate all elements of the décor to achieve a harmonious, balanced look.

This does not necessarily mean that you should immediately run to the interior design studio you yesterday read about in a glossy brochure; however, if you are not planning to count on a designer’s expertise, consider and imagine your project beforehand.

Dining room interior Choosing the Right Lighting for your Home

Let us revert to the topic of styles; if you have modern-style furniture, do not yield to the temptation to install a classic-style, ornate chandelier in the living room, even though you think it is a good idea. Certainly, this is not a good idea.

Coordinate the color of the lights with the décor color scheme. If you have beautiful, solid-wood furniture, look for similar luminaires, such as oak fixtures. You will be surprised what a wide variety of modern, classic, and luxurious fixtures are available on the market.

In the end, there is still much to say on the subject, but I am not going to bore you more.

If you have specific questions, please, do not hesitate to write a comment and it will be addressed.

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