Homes and Interiors: Lights, colour & drama

For a classy look, make sure the lighting and the colour tones complement each other.

Colours play a vital role in home decor. Not only do they brighten up spaces instantly, but they also mask poor lighting or any other flaws. Thereby, use of colours needs to be ascertained carefully to evoke desired emotions, create the right ambience and comfort.   

Generally, colour is affected by the amount of light that falls on it. For instance, an interior space with a lot of daylight will enhance the overall look depending on the choice of colour.

The angle, illumination type and the source of light help create multiple hues and ambiences from a single shade. Also, the type and colour temperature of the lighting fixtures will make a huge difference in the way colour is rendered within your home. It is essential to plan your desired look to achieve a cohesive ambience. The colour palette, design of the space, availability of natural light, and the plan for artificial light needs to be in synergy to achieve the desired look and feel.

Get the basics right

The various types of colours that need to be considered in design are primary, secondary, complementary, warm, cool, hue and tint. For example, complementary colours are the ones placed directly across from each other on the colour wheel. When used together, they emphasise each other, meaning that they appear to be more saturated. A neutral grey will appear warm on a blue (cool) background and cool when on a red (warm) background.

Colour is used to build focal points, which aids in creating a visual interest and also adds drama to your space. Understanding how light reaches any given space during different times of the day helps you pick a colour scheme that will blend through the day. Also, this factor helps you choose or plan your lighting fixtures and types accordingly.

The type and colour temperature of the bulbs will have a different impact on how the chosen colours would be rendered in the space. For instance, a warm white fixture would highlight and blend better with shades of cream, beige and yellow family, compared to a cool white fixture.

The lighting in a home changes the look and feel of a room just as it projects the size of a room. Planning of stationing objects or furniture are important aspects of design and they work in conjunction with colour selection, room size, availability of natural light and furniture choice. The elements that come together when the right lighting is achieved transforms any space into a perfect combination of aesthetics, functionality and style.

The use of lighting can add or subtract colours of a room or from only those surfaces the light is meant to enhance. Darker colours make any space feel smaller and packed, while light colours help in creating volume and a spacious look. The achieved look of space is defined by light received or reflected off the vertical surfaces like walls, partitions, or other stationary vertical elements.

Planned lighting help with this masking by further illuminating the walls. In addition, directional lighting, such as a track light, can soften the wall colours. Recessed lighting gives a soft, downward glow that illuminates the floors, not walls. This contrasts to lighting suspended in a room, which may give an ambient illumination or wall lighting. Both these lighting types affect how light or dark a coloured surface can look.

By understanding colours and the effect of lights, you can create areas of interest within a room. Consider the following points while trying to balance colour and lighting in your room:

Direct your lighting: The lighting in a room either provides illumination for the entire space or it highlights only certain surfaces. Track or set-lined lighting is one way of placement lighting. Ceiling-suspended lights, focus or spotlights can be targeted at specific elements or surfaces, such as textured walls, murals, cladding, wall art, incidental elements, a niche, breakfast table, console table, etc. Recessed lighting can also be used in floors, ceilings, panels, etc, to create segmented strips of light, contrasting to a single diverged source of light.

Keep it functional: One major role of lighting in the interior setting is functionality. Lighting needs to achieve a purpose, or it kills the space. Chandeliers can be used for large rooms like the living room, dining room, double height spaces, open foyers, etc, because of their centrality. They also provide excellent illumination for the entire room. Choose wall lights to help you emphasise the volume, vertical characteristics visually, apart from being a mere source of light. Plan the style of lighting you want to achieve to ensure you achieve the desired ambience.

Plan your space: Natural and artificial lights aid in the visualisation of space. For a poorly lit room, plan the space and arrangements so as to capture maximum natural light. Next is to plan the setting carefully. Avoid cramped furniture arrangements in a smaller setting. Corner lamps, tall lampshades and suspended hanging lights on the ceiling help brighten a room if natural lighting is not available and help create volume. You can also choose to use mirrors to reflect light and make any space appear bigger, use curtains and pick the right shade of colour, which will help in achieving a spacious look cohesively.

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