Lighting 101: The Do’s and Don’ts

Lighting can really set the mood of a room. It can make it feel homey and cosy, or it can make a room feel stark and uninviting. If you are looking to liven up your living room or give your kitchen a makeover, one of the most effective ways to do so is to change the lighting. 

You can swap out wall sconces with pendant lighting for dramatic flair in your living room or you can invest in modern table lamps in your bedroom for the ultimate in mood lighting. For more tips on how to (and how not to) use lighting in your home, read on below.

Lighting Do’s

Do be careful with bathroom lighting

Bathroom lighting is often overlooked when it comes to interior design, but you should be extra careful when choosing it. Concentrate on lighting the sink and mirror with lighting that surrounds the face. Add in separate switches for different lights used for different tasks and invest in a low voltage strip LED rope light underneath the cabinet counter.

If you have a light like this in the bathroom, you can switch it on for ambient lighting when bathing, helping to set a highly relaxing atmosphere. Bathroom lighting should not be harsh and clinical, but rather soft and relaxing. Look for pendant lighting that has a soft glow rather than a ceiling light that shines harshly over the bath and sink.

Do keep this mix in mind

When choosing lighting, it is important to use a mix of task, ambient and accent. These are the three main types of lighting and you should try to include them in every room of your house. You can achieve this by using a mixture of table lamps, floor lamps, sconces and overhead fixtures.

While you do not have to have every one of these types of lighting, you should have at least two in each room, if possible. Having task lighting in the kitchen and bathroom is essential, as these are rooms that need to be brightly lit in order to properly function. Having ambient and accent lighting in your living room and bedroom can help to set the mood and make the room feel cosier and more inviting.

Do choose decorative as well as functional

Instead of simply choosing pendant lighting or table lamps because they serve a purpose, remember to look for ones that are visually pleasing and that match the rest of your decor. Your lighting should look just as good turned off as it does switched on.

Look for lampshades in exciting colours and patterns, and choose table lamps with stands in copper, bronze or even cement. Of course, look for chandeliers for sale with unique designs, such as crystals arranged to look like a waterfall or fringes instead of crystals. Keep them decorative and creative as well as functional.

Lighting Don’ts

Don’t be satisfied with one overhead light

It is important not be satisfied with only one overhead light in a room. As mentioned above, you should have multiple light sources in order to truly set the mood of any room. However, if you cannot fit a floor lamp and wall sconce into a small study, you will have to compromise and create a plan.

You could invest in a dimmer switch for your pendant lighting if it is to be the only source of light, but it is a better idea to purchase a small desk lamp or two for ambient and accent lighting. One overhead light might seem like the more affordable option, but you will be losing out on mood and ambience by not having another light source.

Don’t forget about dimmers

Having dimmer switches is essential if you have recessed ceiling lights, and you should try to have a dimmer switch in almost all of the rooms in your house. DImmer lighting will help you to save on electricity and it’s more flattering for everyone who is in the room.

A dimmer switch is easy to install, but it is best to ask a qualified electrician to do so. You can tell them what intensity you would like the highest setting to be, and how dim the lowest setting should be. You will be able to create the right atmosphere for a party, but also have the right lighting for using the kitchen or study.

Light the way

Often, the lighting in a home is forgotten or overlooked during the furnishing or decorating process. If you are careful with bathroom lighting, keep the mixture of task, ambient and accent lighting in mind and look for pieces that are decorative as well as functional, your home will soon be well-lit and welcoming. Don’t forget about dimmers and never be satisfied with only one source of light. Your home will only be as bright and creative as you are, so let your imagination run wild.