Lighting up a room
Furnishing and fittings such as lighting add the final touches to your new extension or renovation, so it’s important to make the right choice. Lighting should be beautiful and functional so think about what a room is being used for before embarking on a showroom visit.
What types of lighting are available?
Broadly speaking lighting methods can be divided into four categories, task, ambient, accent and utility. Although all of these serve a general purpose – to light up a room, they do so in very different niches. For example task lighting is recommended for areas where you study, cook or do craft work such as sewing, it involved lights that shine directly onto the work surface. Ambient lighting is general light in the room, suitable for areas of entertainment such as the living room. The range and breadth of ambient lighting is increased with the use of a dimmer or split lighting so that the amount of light used can vary with the time of day. Accent lighting is similar to task in that it shines its light in a particular direction, for example on a piece of art or an architectural feature. Lastly utility lighting is when a high level of light is used to shine on the greatest area possible. Utility lighting may not be the most visually appealing but it is useful in outside areas and for security purposes. What sort of lighting you choose should depend on the purpose and feel of the room that you are lighting.
Recessed lighting or hanging lighting?
You should also consider whether or not you want recessed or hanging lighting. Recessed lighting is a popular unobtrusive option, its modern and minimalist appeal is particular popular in new houses and it is cost efficient as it generally uses less electricity. Hanging lighting on the other hand might be a great option if you would like to make a feature of the lighting, in particular in a dining or living room.
Where should I position my light?
Positioning lights can make a big difference to how useful you find them. For example putting lights under cabinets in the kitchen is a good way of achieving practical, countertop lighting. Similarly in the bathroom placing a light above the mirror will avoid the problem of poor illumination. When using accent lighting the light should be at a 30-degree angle to the object.
Where should I buy lighting?
Once you have in mind what sort of lighting you would like to purchase you should be able to narrow down the shops that stock specifically that style and range. You may also wish to buy from an outlet that offers professional installation. When looking around a showroom try to visualise each fixture on its own; often together the choice can be overwhelming so its important to take the light out of the context of the shop and think about how it would look set in your own home.
How can I make the lighting in my home energy efficient?
Energy efficiency is a hot-topic these days, particularly with rising energy bills, using energy efficient light bulbs is a quick and easy way to instantly save electricity in your home. You should also consider energy efficiency when planning out your lighting circuit: separate light switches for each light ensures that you are not using more lights than you need to. Similarly modern dimmer switches not only create a great ambiance in a room but can also reduce energy consumption by limiting the amount of electricity used.