Awash with light

Awash with light

TRENDS

Chandeliers, accent lights, wall sconces and skylights are all options you can use to bring light into your home, points out A Dyuti

 “Better to light a candle than to curse the darkness,” goes an old Chinese proverb. Today, interior designers employ not one but many lights to not only rid your house of darkness but also enhance the appearance of colours and furnishings in your rooms. So, here are some basic facts about lights and your options regarding their best use.

Of course, the most important type of lighting during the day is natural light. Windows, doors and skylights are your assistants here. Sunlight varies in intensity and brightness with change of time and season. So, choose that optimal position for your windows/doors allowing maximum sunlight inside depending on the orientation and elevation of your house and the position of your particular rooms.

As for artificial lighting, throw in the right mix of ambient, task and accent lights. Ambient or general lighting lights up the entire room. Task lighting provides sufficient lighting to complete particular tasks like shaving, reading/writing, sewing, cooking, etc.

Ideally, these should be positioned to cut glare and avoid eye-strain as you perform the tasks. Accent lights channelise bright light towards a particular artwork, painting, sculpture or architectural feature. Choose from among a variety of ceiling lights, chandeliers, recessed lights, uplights, undercabinet lights, wall sconces  and table lamps to create that element of drama in your living space.

Choice of chandeliers

Today, chandeliers are available in a mind-boggling variety of sizes, shapes, colours, structures and prices. The chandelier, rather than being fixed snugly to the ceiling, is almost always hung down by means of a chain or rod, sometimes from an elaborately designed ceiling plaque’s centre. The chandelier has several arms or branches emanating from the central body, each of which contains electric lights or containers to light candles.

Conventionally, the most common location is over the dining table or in the living room. But, today, coming in mini sizes (chandelettes) too, they have been most imaginatively employed by designers to adorn almost every possible spot in homes. Medium-sized chandeliers light up particular spots in kitchens or dining rooms.
Mini chandeliers hang over kitchen islands, in bathrooms, bedrooms or dressing rooms. Lowly-hung little chandeliers act as bedside lamps even!

There are chandeliers for the outdoors too, brightening up porches and patios. Room-size, type of bulbs, cost, maintenance effort and design-compatibility with the room’s other decor elements are other factors to consider when picking up the right chandelier.

How can you effectively use wall sconces or wall-mounted light fixtures for the different lighting styles?

For ambient or general illumination, select pieces with open candelabra or clear glass casing, installing them high up on your room’s side walls as you need light that’s pervasive and yet not harsh for this purpose.

For task lighting to facilitate your performance of particular tasks, be it reading, TV watching, studying, or cooking, choose sconces that hang low and use relatively brighter bulbs. For accent lighting, sconces with dark, opaque shades focussing light that’s brighter than the surrounding ambient light in the room, onto a particular object help produce spectacular results.

How about wall sconces?

In the living room, use wall sconces around the fireplace, TV-stand or accent pieces. Today, chandeliers come with matching wall sconces too. Opt for these if your chandelier is largely decorative and you require some functional lighting fixtures in addition.

In the bedroom, wall sconces can be used in lieu of bedside lamps. In the bathroom, place sconces on either side of the mirror, supplementing the ambient lights. In the kitchen too, sconces can channelise light towards particular spots, say, the work-area, counter-tops, or wash basin.

Fix theatre sconces with enclosed incandescent lights for home-theatre lighting. Place a sconce above a doorway or several along the hallway, corridor or staircase. But, avoid placing sconces at very low heights as people may bump into them.
Tastefully arrange no-frills floor and table lamps, inset lighting for cabinets and shelves, bookcase lights, pinpoint lights to highlight artworks or corner-tables and a floor-lamp with a coloured bulb in one corner.

Avoid bright lights. They hurt the eyes and rapidly heat up the area. For a Zen bedroom and the meditation room, lighting should be calming. Paper/silk lanterns offer ambient lighting here.

In the kitchen, under-cabinet lights illuminate the areas for food preparation, while ceiling lights are ideally placed over the island.

Place halogen pendant lights over bars and counters. Install a nightlight in the bathroom. Though table lamps beside chairs and sofas aid reading the best, recessed lights above seating areas offer additional lighting. Desk lamps for reading/writing in children’s or teens’ rooms are functional while disco balls in lounge areas are fun.

Slim strip lights can be used along the edges of shelves and ledges to be illuminated. Make small rooms appear larger and dark rooms brighter using uplights, lamps and recessed lighting appropriately.

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