Let there be light

It is important to first decide what kind of lighting scheme you want in your house. Once you have decided on the kind of lighting you need, it is time to choose the right fixture. Several factors go into deciding the lighting, writes Ruth Dsouza Prabhu.

Lighting is an important factor for any space — exteriors, interiors and every room. Choosing the right kind of light can be an overwhelming thought, considering the kind of fixtures and lighting options available. Preeti Venugopal, a City-based interior designer, explains the various aspects of choosing the right kind of light for your space.

Choice of lighting

Preeti explains that the main criterion in choosing a lighting scheme is to identify what function a room serves. “It is always useful to have multiple light sources in a room. This gives you the ability to set the kind of mood you want in that room. Your expensive crystal piece or ornate wall art will be incomplete without a good lighting scheme to complement it,” she says.

Once you have decided on the kind of lighting you need, choosing the appropriate fixture is also equally important. Do not lose focus of the theme and style of design you are hoping to achieve for a particular room, advises Preeti. An oriental light fixture does not go well with a contemporary room and vice versa.

What you should not do is mix yellow and white light in the same room. This is especially if you have a large common space like a living cum dining room. Stick to white or yellow lighting based on your preference.

The colour of the room also plays a major role in the lighting — lighter colours reflect while darker colours absorb light. It would be best to choose a paint and lighting scheme based on the kind of ambience you are trying to set.

The choice between yellow and white lights is based purely on preference. Yellow tends to give a room a warm and personal touch, while white is a bit more flat. Yellow lights are best used in areas like the foyer, living and dining room as well as the bedrooms. Team it up with warmer colour schemes like red, orange and brown.  White lights are ideal in work areas like the kitchen and study room. Match them with cooler colours like blue and green.

Economical yet aesthetic

Preeti explains that an economical lighting scheme can be achieved with multiple light sources. For example, when you have false ceiling lighting along with wall lights in a room, you have the choice of switching on both of them or one of them, depending on the activity in the room. You do not have to switch on all the lights unless you are entertaining guests.

If you want to read a magazine in your living room, just switching on the table lamps on the end tables will suffice. Using CFL instead of incandescent lights also works well in the long run. Although the initial cost of CFLs is high, it works out economically in the long run. It lasts longer and consumes less power. With the latest LED lights hitting the market, the economical usage of lighting is only going to get easier. 

Choosing a lighting scheme is best done with the help of a professional who will be able to understand the aesthetics of your home and the requirements in every room. Being involved in the process will allow you to get what you expect from each of the lights chosen. 

Preeti provides a simple guide to lighting based on use

*Ambient light is a must in all the rooms. This is general lighting akin to daylight. The source can be a well-picked wall light fixture from the market or a well-designed false ceiling. The trick is to avoid a shadow effect.

*Task light is for areas such as the kitchen and the study. It has to throw light on the task area without giving out a glare. A well concealed task light, for example, in the kitchen, can be placed under the overhead cabinet or concealed with shutters. In the study, a light opposite your writing hand can work wonders.

*An accent light is to accentuate a particular object in a room. Examples would be focus lights trained on a painting or an eye-catching chandelier over a dining table. It draws attention to the object you want someone to focus on.

*Aesthetic light is decorative in nature. This can be a wall light fixture which forms a design pattern with the shadow effect or a strategically placed corner floor lamp which also adds to the illusion of a bigger space.

*Natural light — something you should try to get the most of. Place furniture away from windows so that they don’t obstruct light. In smaller places try being as less intrusive as possible. A backless settee against a window works well.

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