1) Dim and dimmer
A sliding scale of light allows you to customise and adapt the ambience of a room to your varying needs, which provides added versatility. For example, in a dining room or living room, you may want overhead pendant or suspension lights to provide a brighter light when kids are doing their homework, and softer lighting for a more relaxed setting when you’re entertaining. Home automation companies can design, install and integrate your lighting systems to give you full control of your home’s ambient lighting at a touch of a button – even from your iPad – allowing you to set the mood throughout, dimming and brightening light in specific rooms with ease.
2) Find your focus
Lighting can be used effectively to direct attention to a focal point in your interior, such as artwork, display cabinets or the lighting fixture itself. A statement focal light has traditionally been a large chandelier that adds elegance and defines the style of the room, whether it’s in a dining room, master suite, entrance hall or even a bathroom. Low-hanging pendants work well to highlight a piece of statement furniture. For artwork, there is an array of lighting to choose from: pin spotlights allow you to adjust the direction of light into the centre of the art piece for maximum effect; mount a picture light – which can be a decorative element itself – onto the wall or the artwork; track lighting running along the ceiling adds an industrial art-gallery look. Use LED bulbs for this purpose as halogen lights can damage artwork over time.
3) Bathroom beauty
While this is undeniably a functional space that requires task lighting for applying makeup, shaving and brushing your teeth, don’t disregard it because it is still a private space in your home. Whether your bathroom is a small utilitarian room or a spa-like sanctuary, you can jazz it up with an ornate light that’s a bit unexpected. For example, a petite vintage chandelier, decorative pendants beside a mirror or something funky that makes the décor pop, will always be a pleaser. Apply dimmer switches to suit the different functions of the space – go brighter in the morning for makeup, and darker in the evening when relaxing in the bath.
4) Cool & coordinated
When it comes to choosing bulbs, there are different colour temperatures you can go for that will affect the degree of light cast and the ambience of the room. The temperature of light bulbs is measured in Kelvins (K); the higher the number of Kelvins the cooler – bluer – the light, and the lower the number is the warmer – yellower – the light. First, assess the function of each room and how much natural light there is to help you determine which colour temperature will be most suitable. Traditional incandescent light bulbs, 2700K, give a warm white, almost yellow, glow and are best used in rooms designed for relaxing in, such as living rooms and bedrooms. A 3000K bulb still emits a yellow glow but is suitable for busier areas like the kitchen, as are 4000K bulbs which have a crisper, stimulating glow. At the other end of the spectrum 6500K is a brighter, whiter light that imitates cloudy daylight and isn’t conducive to creating a cosy glow; use this bulb outdoors or in working areas like a home office.
5) Counter lighting
Under-cabinet and counter lighting is a must in the kitchen. It’s a modern approach but a practical one that has a great design effect. When installing the lights, mount them towards the front of the cabinet. The light will shine on the outer edge of the counter where it will fully illuminate kitchen tasks and add a warm glow to the most popular room in the house. Back-light glass-fronted sideboards and cabinets to highlight displays of special glassware and serveware.
6) Layered lights
Layering is a fundamental lighting tool. Think of your room as a cake with each layer building on the next. From function to fashion, there are three primary layers to consider: ambient or general lighting is the sponge, which usually provides 75% of a room’s light through chandeliers and ceiling fixtures; task lighting is the icing holding it together and adds extra light to specific areas for designated activities, such as reading a book in bed, preparing meals in the kitchen or brushing your teeth in the bathroom; accent or decorative lighting are the sprinkles or the cherry on top, adding character to the décor through features like tray ceilings, up-lit cabinets and pictures, or unique statement lighting pieces.
7) Make an entrance
Statement lighting inside your entryway can welcome guests with a lasting first impression. A stylish chandelier in a double-height foyer or an interesting pendant light in a small front hallway is a great starting point. Wall sconces are getting more and more decorative and can be displayed as a sculptural art piece. Sconces are a particularly good option if your home doesn’t have high ceilings as decorative lights flanking the entrance can be inviting, and a series of them can draw guests into your home.
8) Perfect pendants
Versatile and varied, pendant lights can be used in every room. Traditionally, they are hung from the ceiling as a single light or in a series of three of four, for example, over fixtures like a kitchen island or a dining table, however, their size variety and adjustable height allows you to arrange multiple pendants in creative ways. Try clustering pendant lights over console tables, bedside tables, in reading nooks and entryways, positioned at different heights for a staggered effect that draws the eye towards the feature.
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