A light touch is crucial
anyone about their top priorities for building or renovating and it’s unlikely they will say lighting.
Beyond choosing a beautiful pendant light or table lamp, lighting has the power to make a room feel smaller or larger, create a party atmosphere or ready the household for bed.
Segment manager for Gerard Lighting, Peter Portelli, says a good lighting plan gives you the flexibility to change your space at the flick of a switch. “You can create a room within a room by lighting one part of the room and not the rest,” Peter says.
“It visually reduces the size of the room to make it feel more comfortable. Generally speaking, if you want a room to feel bigger, you light the walls, but if you want the room to feel snug, move the lights away from the walls.”
You can make a hallway feel more spacious, he says, by hanging artwork on the walls and then lighting each picture.
“You can even direct people through your house with light,” Peter says. “If the kitchen is dark, they will naturally move through to the living room where there are lights on.”
With a little thought, you can create different moods for the same room.
“You can have multiple ‘scenes’ by turning certain lights off and creating a different atmosphere in the same space,” he says. “But it helps a lot if the lights are dimmable.”
While big-budget building projects can factor in the cost of a lighting designer, Peter says the reality for most people is to rely on the electrician for information. But he says lighting retailers are often a great source of advice.
“Do some research online,” he says. “Our website has a section on lighting design. Even if it’s a rental — they won’t want you to change the light fittings but you can change the bulbs.”
More Gerard Lighting, gerardlighting.com.au; Living Edge, livingedge.com.auAs house sizes continue to shrink, it’s worth thinking about the various roles that each room in your home plays over the course of a day — and how a thoughtful lighting plan can facilitate that. What serves as an activity area for the kids early in the evening might become the perfect room for winding down after they’ve gone to bed. Even work areas like the kitchen and bathroom can be transformed into a late night bar or day spa respectively with the right lighting. Where possible, go for dimmable lights for overhead pendant and downlights which will allow you to go from strong light to something a little more atmospheric.