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Don’t forget the lights!

Lighting real women advice

When you are decorating your room don’t forget to give your lighting some consideration.  Different lighting styles and techniques are available that can help boost your décor in achieving that ‘wow’ factor, it can also help to enhance the nice aspects of the room, and disguise the bad ones.  However, to create maximum impact, consider your lights carefully; the fittings you choose for your room are the most important accessory, get it wrong and the effect could be disasterous!

The light we use comes from two main sources – natural and artificial. Natural light comes from the sun or from combustion sources, such as fireplaces and candles. Artifical lighting is generated by electricity and falls into three main types; ambient, accent and task.

Ambient lighting; is the general, everday lighting that you would normally use in the room
Accent lighting; is used to create drama to a specific area or item
Task lighting; provides targeted light enabling various tasks to be completed safely and comfortably

So what lighting do you use where?

Firstly consider what moods you want to be able to create in each room, for instance:-

The use of the room – is it used mainly during the day or at night? Is it an area for study or entertaining? Is it a room that has to cater for various tasks for both adults and children? If so, think about how you are going to style it to meet both demands
The colours of your room – is your room light and airy?  Or does it have a warm, cosy décor? Remember, pale colours reflect light, dark colours and material absorb light so be aware of how much daylight the room receives and for how long
The positioning and density of furniture – play with your layout, think about the different uses you want from the room, if you have a large open space think about creating different zones. If there a specific piece of artwork or areas that you want to accenuate think about the best way to achieve this
Size and positioning of windows - remember natural light can provide a variety of effects throughout the day; from making the room feel light and airy to subdued and tranquil so consider how much natural light your room gets and try to utilise it as much as possible

Next stage think about each specific room and the tasks completed therein:-

Kitchens and utility areas require bright general lighting and task lighting for the countertops and preparation areas. So under cupboard lighting and strategically placed small lights are key.  To help create atmosphere, lights in glass fronted cabinets or lights embedded into the kick boards are great additions, especially for those long, dark winter evenings
Living rooms, dens, and family rooms require bright general lighting for the busy, hectic times during the day and early evening, strategically placed lamps for tasks such as reading and writing and then gentle, ambient lighting for when it’s time to sit back, relax and watch the TV
Bathrooms and dressing tables require areas of stark light so detailed tasks can be completed, this can be achieved more effectively if the light fixtures are mounted on, above or on each side of the mirror.  This will help to create maximum impact by keeping shadows at bay
Bedrooms and dining rooms may require some task lighting for late night reading or completing homework, but also think about adding some subtle yet sparkling lighting that can be adjusted to suit (or set) the mood!

Lastly, time to decide on what type of artificial lighting to use.  There are many different styles to choose from, but they fall into the four main categories below:-
Decorative Lighting – usually ceiling lights and lamps which provide the visual focus of the room and the general lighting requirements
Downlighters (Spotlights) – these can be recessed into the ceiling or wall mounted and can be static or moveable to allow the light to be focused
Uplighters – these are flexible as they can be free standing (floor lamp) or wall mounted.  They cast light onto the ceiling to provide a nice even glow.
Wall washers – provide a focused even light on a wall area.

Whatever your requirements, consider a selection of lights during the design.  Remember lighting is an integral feature of your room design so choose wisely – style and colour is imperative if you want to achieve your desired look.

Sue Hessom
Tidy Interiors


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