Let there be light

Let there be light

Lighting is integral to the decor and ambience of a home. Make your home more appealing with the endless lighting solutions available, writes Bindu Gopal Rao.

There are two thumb rules when it comes to lighting. You should have a mix of light sources at different levels to create a flattering ambience and you need appropriate task lighting for whatever you do in that space.

“Light three of the four corners in the living room, focusing one of those lights on an object and if you have an overhead fixture, put it on dimmer. In the dining room, make the table the brightest spot in the room. Use a chandelier or a pendant above the table, limiting the total wattage to 100. In the kitchen, focus on overhead lighting  and add lower sources to illuminate work surfaces.

In the bedroom, place reading lamps or sconces by the bed but not pointed directly at it and create a cozy atmosphere. In the bathroom, an overhead light helps fill in any shadows on your face and also fully illuminates the room and in a large space, a light directly over the shower is effective,” advices Richa M Vidhani, Head, Interior Design & Projects, The Home Of The Traveler by JJ Valaya.

Today, in addition to using traditional and elegant lightings in crystal and rock crystal, architects and interior decorators look for lamps, bulbs, suspensions as well as other flamboyant filaments for lighting spaces. “The bulb is coming back to the front as a proactive element of the entire ambience that can be used in many surprising variations. Contemporary LED’s and other innovative lighting solutions have been revamped and go beyond the ordinary to adapt to new environmental requirements. Home automation is also now a part of modern interiors, it is increasingly used as it allows us to program and control the lights according to our requirements,” says Isabelle Vernhes, Co-founder, My Tailor Home.

Customisation is catching up as well. “This is because people now don't want to own the same chandeliers and cylindrical lampshade staple that homes had decades ago. If someone likes a pop character, they would want to turn that into a lamp of a sort, or own a motif they are particularly fond of,” explains Madhuri Balodi, co-founder, Kavi-The Poetry-Art Project.

In tune with the times

New trends for lighting include dispersed, hidden light sources like LED strip lights which give a uniform glow and have no bright spots. A gradual shift from CFL to LED lights is seen and layered lighting that creates different moods is becoming popular.
“Lighting domain actors are developing new services to add innovation and value to Solid State Lighting and differentiate from traditional technologies.  There are different types of lamps, studio lights, chandeliers etc that add appropriate light to the space,” says Honey Jolly, Home Ettu.

Lighting is also going digital. “Intelligent lighting is the new trend that is slowly picking up the pace. The users can now dim the light or brighten up specific corners according to their choice by the touch of an iPad, iPhone or the Android systems,” says Sumit Joshi, Head-Marketing, Philips Lighting India. Concealed lighting, where the light is placed under the coves and back of the surface of cabinets, is trendy.

A new trend seen internationally in interior spaces is geometric lighting. “Various lamps in interesting, geometric shapes, with two-tone lights add a lot of visual appeal to a living space. Additionally, there are newer designs in mood-changing lamps,” says Rahul Jagtiani, Founder, Managing Partner, plushplaza.com.

According to Seema Mahajan, HoD at Pearl Academy, “Lighting trends for 2014 would be pendant lights and suspension lights in different shapes, colours and materials like acrylic, metal and glass instead of ceiling and recessed lights. Traditional chandeliers are being replaced by slim lines and minimal styles and black will be the popular colour for the same.”

Lighting is a key element in opening up a space. A properly lit room must have three sources of light that bounce off walls and give the room a visual breadth. “Another good trick is to use mirrors that will reflect natural light and the light from lamps. It creates an illusion of a wider, deeper space,” advises Joshi.

Lighting advantage

The use of occupancy sensors, primarily used in commercial and hospitality spaces, has also made its way to larger homes. According to Sandeep Singh, Vice President, Lifespace BU, Schneider Electric India, “Lighting can be combined with motion sensors for automatic on/off in certain areas like corridors, staircases and garages. Lighting can also be automated with time scheduling and daylight harvesting to save energy and offer the perfect light levels for any time of the day.”

Avoid connecting multiple lights to a single switch, as it could lead to over lighting a room, as well as wasting light. Task light for essential work functions such as reading, working on a kitchen counter is a must. Uplighting can be effectively used to add a softer illumination, emphasise wood beams, hide spotlights placed behind furniture and create a warm and upward glow.

“Dimmers installed onto light fixtures will save you energy while toning down bright and excessively striking areas. They also extend the lifetime of bulbs and consequently reduce the frequency of changing hard-to-reach installations,” says S R Balaji, Chief Executive Officer, Do my Home. In order to use the lightning effectively, the lighting installation has to be energy efficient. “While light dimmers offer a very economical personal control of lights, the time switches can give you very interesting energy saving propositions. Apart from switching lights based on the occupancy in a particular area we can also dim lights depending on available natural light,” says Benoit Lecuyer, Managing Director, Hager India.

Go green

With LEDs the concept of energy saving has evolved and they now consume a mere fraction of the energy cost. The use of intelligent building-services technology to control various systems in accordance with the time of day and level of demand can lead to enormous energy savings. Smart lighting is called the third wave in lighting evolution, enabled through the introduction and emergence of semiconductor based digital light sources such as LEDs and OLEDs.

“This marriage of semiconductor and lighting technologies will open up an array of new functionalities and a myriad of exciting new applications and it could add up to 50% in energy consumption over traditional light sources,” says Vidhani. The new trend to have caught up in recent times is to create filters and channels which bring natural light into the household and add that golden touch to the home.

“The foremost tip to use lighting effectively is to install or set it at a place from where its throw of light can be maximum or minimum (as required) We can paint the lights as per the colour of the wall or ceiling as desired. Gives a seamless feel to home décor, creating a new look,” says Ashish Taneja, CEO, Zolijns. Go ahead and add light to your home.

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