Creating drama with light

Creating drama with light


Lighting is of prime essence to any interior décor solution-be it residential or commercial. Proper lighting can lay emphasis to a certain space or art form that requires clear definition, it can also set the mood for comfort and elegance. 

On the other hand, it can be quite distracting when improper lighting conditions are used. Improper lighting could contort one’s view from the contents of the room or diminish a room in entirety. Hence it is necessary to first understand your room type and corresponding types of lighting before making a selection. 

There are five steps to creating a perfect lighting design:

Determining the type of lighting

First evaluate the functions of a room and then decide its lighting needs. There are three types of lighting viz ambient/ general lighting, task lighting and accent lighting. 

General/ambient lighting

This is the most fundamental form of lighting required in a room. Its main purpose is to divulge brightness and expel the dark. It is the basic form of illuminating a room and consists of a chandelier dropped from the centre of a room, table lamps, wall lamps or any other ceiling fixtures. In other words, it is the modern way of replacing natural light.  
Tips to remember while using ambient lighting:

Ceiling lamps must be hung at an appropriate height, taking into consideration the room size and distance from the floor.

If hung too high, they could cause discomfort to the eye and cast shadows. When hung too low, they tend to lose focus on the objects in question.

Use adjustable chains to modify the length of the ceiling fixture. Kitchen lamps can be at a greater height from the kitchen table, while bedroom lamps must be installed closer to the focus area.

Task lighting

This is a supplement to ambient lighting and as the name suggests, it is used to bring focus to a specific area or space so as to bring in comfort during working. task lighting is essentially used for reading, preparing food or playing board games. 

Tips to remember while using task lighting:

When task lighting is used for reading purposes, make sure the light falls from behind the shoulder.

Movable floor lamps can be placed anywhere behind the chair.

Wall lamps are suited best for working at the desk

Accent lighting

Accent lighting is particularly used to bring out the aesthetic value of an object such as an architectural design or a painting or portrait. It is not necessarily used to illuminate the room. Examples of this include lighting used within a cabinet or across a fireplace.  
Other indirect forms of light include candle stands, scones and period lamps that can be placed near wardrobes, mirrors or murals and they have both functional and aesthetic value. At any given time, make use of two or more of the above lighting and it can change the mood and function of a room to bring about drama, romance, fun or work.
First define the activity to be performed in the room and start with setting up ambient lighting conditions.

Then determine if there is a certain area of visual interest that you would like to highlight, perform this with accent lighting. Last, throw in some reading lamps for work that involves some concentration and this will form the basis of task lighting. 

Selecting the bulb

Now that you have made note of suitable lighting to be used within the room, it is time to decide on the bulbs being used within the fixtures. An amalgamation of right bulb in the right fixture and lighting condition is essential for any good lighting décor.  There are three types of bulbs: Incandescent bulbs: These are basic bulbs which can be used in all the above lighting applications-ambient, task and accent. Halogen bulbs: Primarily used in accent and task lighting.

Fluoroscent bulbs: This acts as pseudo lighting and can be applied to ambient, task and accent lighting. 

Deciding the lamp shade

The next step is to decide the lamp shade. Without shades, the light will not have direction and will be harsh on the eyes. Conical shades serve well for accent lighting whereas cylinder shades help scatter light in the room and hence can serve as good ambient lighting. Shades can be made from mica, glass or fabric.

Theme based setting

Next, you can use a theme-based lighting for your room, which can be structured around different countries:

Japanese inspired lighting

Traditional Japanese lighting has strong lines and pure definition of strength.
Mori light is an example of this and can be made out of different patterns of paper and can suit any contemporary style. 

African inspired lighting

This theme makes use of coloured glass and is best used in the porch or veranda. 

Middle-East inspired lighting

Egyptian and Moroccan lamps are examples of this theme and can serve as an excellent piece of art in the room. 

British inspired lighting

Victorian style lamps and iron or metal lamps form the basis of this theme and can be used to bring a degree of sophistication to the room. 

Designing your area

Finally, it’s time to design your perfect lighting area taking into consideration the above guidelines. Follow these simple tips below and you are assured to succeed.

Bring in a dash of whites

Paint your walls in light shades of white to enable light to bounce around in the room, giving it a sense of brightness. You can also add a white carpet to the floor for greater effect. 


Add some mirrors or a chandelier to the room that will serve as a good source of reflection for the natural light seeping in through your window.

This will also add a second degree of brightness. 

Area lighting conditions

This will essentially help demarcate areas within a room like a reading space within the living room and can be decorated with just enough task lighting. Fluorescent bulbs can be employed for this purpose. 

Bigger window frames

This is a simple trick to make windows look bigger. Build a frame that is bigger than the window itself and fix in some sheer curtains to let natural light enter. 

By employing the simple five-step guide to lighting décor , you can be assured that your room will never look the same again and you can modify it to suit varied moods.