One of the easiest ways to transform the look of your home’s interior is by getting the lighting right. After all, we’ve all seen the impact of a dark and dingy room; the effect is to lower energy, motivation and general enthusiasm, as well as to make it harder to carry out functional tasks and day to day life. Yet many of us do still have outdated and inadequate lighting in our homes that we’ve simply grown used to and ‘stopped seeing’.
Hallways are a classic example; many people are still using old fashioned incandescent bulbs or first generation energy-efficient lightbulbs that are largely unwieldy and vastly inferior to the latest generation models. These will often be accompanied with an old-fashioned lampshade that does nothing for the space, yet the porch or hallway is the first thing that you and your family, as well as visitors, see when they come into the home. It should be attractive, welcoming, warm and forgiving – not harshly lit and poorly considered!
There are various good options for porches and hallways. Pendants can be very attractive, especially if you invest in something attractive such as small mirrored lamp, a Tiffany style coloured lamp, an art inspired patterned lamp or something with an eye-catching element that provides plenty of illumination. Make sure that the shade doesn’t hang down too low and bop people on the head as they walk in! The light should be bright enough to carry out all the regular functions of a hallway – finding keys, doing up shoes and getting ready to leave the house. Save atmospherics and dimmers for the living areas.
In the living room
Use the lighting triangle to create a warm glow, functional areas and great ambient lighting. This means using a combination of soft overhead lighting, ideally with a dimmer, task based lights such as floor lamps and desk lamps for reading and some atmospheric lights such as wall sconces, or spotters to highlight a certain feature.
Decorative lights such as those pooled into glass bowls or hung around a mantelpiece can also look very pretty. Allow the light to be balanced and add something to the décor of your living arrangement. It should allow your family to do all the things they want to in the living room, whilst allowing for different activities to happen in different zones. For example, a dimmed area could be available to watch the television, whilst a floor lamp could provide brighter illumination for someone to read.
Lighting can also quite effectively zone up a room into different sections, without needing to add furniture.
In the kitchen
You’ll want a mix of bright lighting for tasks and background lighting. If you have a kitchen diner, you might also want a dimmable pendant or series of hanging lights over a dinner table. Old fashioned glass bulbs with lit filaments are very popular right now, but they aren’t particularly energy efficient! If you want these, only use them occasionally and have other lighting, such as LEDs or halogen recessed lights, to provide good illumination for activities.
Under cabinet lighting and floor tracker lights can also be very useful and attractive in kitchens and provide flexible home lighting for a variety of purposes.