Let there be light


THE way your home is lit can dic­tate the way it feels and func­tions. The right light­ing will make your home invit­ing and pro­vide safety and se­cu­rity.

The wrong light­ing can do the op­po­site and worse. Bad light­ing can cause health prob­lems like headaches and im­paired vision. So why do we of­ten leave light­ing un­til last when we’re plan­ning a room?

We asked some ex­perts for their ad­vice on get­ting light­ing right in your home.

Ac­cord­ing to in­te­rior designer Jodie King­man, light­ing is a vi­tal el­e­ment in any room.

It sets the mood and tone of a space, says Jodie.

Bad light­ing can alien­ate the fur­ni­ture and peo­ple in the space, cre­at­ing a tense or un­com­fort­able en­vi­ron­ment.

In­te­rior designer Bron­wyn Poole says light­ing is cru­cial to mak­ing the space come to life. So how do you get the right light­ing for your home?

Firstly, you should know your light­ing op­tions.

Gen­er­ally, light­ing can be bro­ken down into three main types:

Am­bi­ent or gen­eral light­ing, which pro­vides over­all il­lu­mi­na­tion for the room.

It’s the cor­ner­stone of light­ing a room and usu­ally con­sists of ceil­ing, wall or re­cessed lights.

Task light­ing is used for spe­cific jobs like cook­ing, read­ing, putting on make-up or do­ing home­work.

Ac­cent light­ing brings drama and depth to a room by il­lu­mi­nat­ing key fea­tures like art­work, books or ar­chi­tec­tural fea­tures.

A great room will have all three, says Bron­wyn.

Cre­ate a light­ing plan

Given how in­te­gral light­ing is to our ex­pe­ri­ence of a build­ing, most ex­perts agree that you should plan it, just like you plan any other part of a build or renovation.

Many light­ing shops of­fer free ad­vice but for larger projects con­sider en­gag­ing a light­ing ex­pert. A well-con­sid­ered light­ing plan can help cre­ate con­ti­nu­ity, build invit­ing spa­ces and solve prob­lem ar­eas. Work out your needs, but don t over­com­pli­cate it.

Each room has dif­fer­ent light­ing needs.

Bath­room: Com­bine strong task light­ing with am­bi­ent light­ing. Light mir­rors from each side or above. Avoid shad­owy cor­ner in show­ers or baths by adding some light.

Bed­room: Think about mood light­ing, dim­mer switches, wardrobe light­ing, dress­ing ta­ble and bed­side ta­ble lamps. Chil­dren and ba­bies might need safe night lights. Lounge: Feature lights can add a dec­o­ra­tive splash. Make sure you can ad­just the light­ing or dim it for watch­ing TV. Ac­cent light­ing works well in a lounge and don’t for­get about the cosy warmth of fire light in win­ter.

Kitchen: Your kitchen cab­i­nets can show­case your trea­sures and col­lectibles with feature light­ing. Re­cessed down­lights and task light­ing are also great in kitchens. Bron­wyn sug­gests you con­sider prac­ti­cal ap­pli­ca­tions such as a sen­sor to turn your light on when you open your pantry door.

Din­ing: Can­dle­light can be a great ad­di­tional light source and din­ing ta­bles lend them­selves to feature pen­dants or chan­de­liers but bear in mind ex­perts say the light should be nar­rower than the ta­ble.

Hall­ways: Hall­ways are rooms too and need to be safely lit. Light stairs from above if there’s one cen­tral light and make sure there are no dark shad­ows or cor­ners. Us­ing ac­cent light­ing on paint­ings or trea­sures can turn a thor­ough­fare into a gallery.

Work with ex­ist­ing nat­u­ral light

The best (and cheap­est) light is nat­u­ral light. But the qual­ity of your nat­u­ral light de­pends on the as­pect of your room. East-fac­ing rooms are sunny in the morn­ings while west-fac­ing rooms suf­fer af­ter­noon glare. If it faces north you might be try­ing to tone it down but if it faces south you ll be try­ing to amp it up.

In­for­ma­tion sup­plied by www.realestate.com.au.


NOT HEALTHY: Bad light­ing can cause headaches and im­paired vision.

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