The art of fine lighting

Last Updated 29 September 2016, 19:07 IST

Lighting should enhance your space and make it feel warm and inviting. Pradeep James has some advice on how it can be achieved.

A  well-lit home is a thing of beauty. Done right, lighting sets the mood and heightens our enjoyment of space, furniture, art and decor. Good lighting strikes that pitch-perfect note between functional and feel-good, and doesn’t draw too much attention to itself. On the flipside, bad lighting is the visual equivalent of a rude jolt – impossible to ignore and an instant buzzkill. Lighting is a tell-tale sign of design quality and one of the most affordable ways to update your home.

Lighting placement, fixtures and functions are the three main ingredients to think about, when giving your living space a light makeover. The two rules of thumb before working towards the perfect lighting environment is: 

* Have a mix of light sources at different levels to create a flattering ambience.

* Make sure you have an appropriate task lighting for whatever you do in that space (reading, sautéing, getting dressed).

So, if it’s time to update the lighting in your home, consider these tips:

Use the rule of three

There are three basic types of light. Combine them in varying degrees for best results. Ambient light is general, background illumination which floods the entire room. This includes overhead lighting in the form of pendant lamps, built-in ceiling lights and floor lamps. But this kind of light can look flat and undefined. Augment ambient lighting with task lights such as wall and table lamps. They help you get work done by throwing a concentrated and focused pool of light on key areas, like kitchen counters and desks. Accent lights (like wall-mounted sconces and up-lights) add texture and mood. They create zones of visual interest by spotlighting art, bookshelves or plants.

Light unexpected places

Lighting functions as art that helps define your style, set the mood, and most importantly, perform practical tasks. Consider adding light in unexpected places — use pendant lights as reading lamps, LED lighting in kitchen cabinets etc. In the living room, place reading lamps next to the couch or chair for you to curl up with your favourite book. Include dimmers to tone down the lighting level. Floor lamps to brighten underlit portions of the house. To create a statement piece, add a chandelier or a cluster of pendant lights.

Tone down the lighting for the bedroom. Lower wattage bulbs evoke a warm, soft-glow environment. Table or wall lamps on either side of the bed work perfectly for reading and working on your laptop. A wall lamp or sconce can be used to highlight the dresser. For your dining space, modern chandeliers or pendant lights work the best. Dress up the walls with accent lights (like sconces) or use a floor lamp to spruce up the ambience.

Think layers, not wattage

A rookie mistake we make with lights: assuming that a room needs to be lit evenly, and that one source is adequate. Truth is: good lighting is layered, and comes from multiple sources. The art of layering involves mixing various types of light. Blending different zones of light within a single space creates a balanced flow.

Dimmers are perfect multitaskers

Think of lighting like a radio. You don’t want to have just one volume. Lighting should have the opportunity to be ambient lighting and task lighting. Dimmers have multitasking abilities. Good lighting should multitask and set the mood. To make the most of your lighting, install the highest-wattage lightbulb possible, then dim it down to accommodate the mood and lighting needs. Consider putting dimmers on both overhead lighting and lamp lighting.

Don’t be afraid when choosing lighting for your home, it can help your ambience and mood in the space. Just like the colour of your rooms, lighting should enhance your space and make it feel warm and inviting!

(The author is head – design & development, Urban Ladder)

(Published 29 September 2016, 16:21 IST)

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