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Lighting Your Home

This article provide strategies to light your home and get the very best moods and effects from every room.

Entrance Hall and Foyer Lighting

This is the first place where your guests enter, so this room should be well lit, as first impressions are critical. To create a welcoming mood, use table lamps or wall lighting. This will set a soft entry, and the overall effect will be to create a great impact in the minds of those who enter your home.

A chandelier or a pendant light is very popular in entrances, but if the ceiling is low, we recommend you resist the temptation, as this will create the illusion of your entrance being smaller than it really is. An alternative solution is to use a direct light which can be fitted in a corner of the room. Downlights are also an excellent solution as these provide a dramatic look.

Entrance hall lighting with chandelier or a pendant light
Entrance hall lighting with downlights

Living Room and Dining Room Lighting

Living room and dining room lighting should be designed for impact as well as functionality. A good strategy for achieving this is to use several sources of light, such as a combination of ambient lighting such as a pendant light or chanelier fitted with dimmer switches, floor standing lamps, spotlights and downlights. Dimmers are used to achieve a huge ranges of moods any time of the day or night, and are almost a mandatory accessory in this modern age, where correct lighting is considered so important. Task lighting may also be used depending upon the size and use of the room. For living rooms and dining rooms that have paintings, scupltures or interesting furniture such as beautiful sofas or mirrors, accent lighting works extremely well.

Kitchen Lighting

Kitchen lighting is often the room that suffers most in the home, as most people light their kitchen with one extremely bright ceiling-mounted light - thinking this design is both correct and cheap. This is a mistake, as the kitchen should be considered as carefully as any other room. By lighting the kitchen in this way what often happens is that the kitchen becomes white-washed and full of unpleasant shadows. A grid lighting is better, but not by much.

The correct approach is to use multiple lighting, keeping the actual structure of the kitchen in place. This will involve a combination of overall warm ambient lighting via a pendant light; task lights (ideally below the top cabinets) for points where food is prepared, cooked and eaten as well as for the pantry; and accent lights for fixtures such as the china and glassware. Dimmers should be considered in the kithen to optimise brightness and moods.

Family Room Lighting

Family rooms generally require simple lighting to assist in basic mood and activity. A pendant light or with a dimmer or ceiling mounted light, are good for ambient lighting. It is vital to provide task lighting using downlights, desk lamps or flooor lamps.

Bedroom Lighting

Bedroom lighting must be able to provide excellent mood lighting as well as very functional task lighting. For quite small bedrooms, one pendant or ceiling light might be sufficient, but in general you need to combine this with various task lights for dressing and reading. Task lights for cupboards and closets using recessed or ceiling lights are particularly important to get right, else the bedroom will have unconfortable dark shadows. Dimmers are strongly recommended for ensuring that the correct level of illumination is provided for at all times.

Hallway and Stairway Lighting

Hallways and stairways should be lit to provide the correct mood, and just enough illumination to move comfortably. Downlights work greatin these areas.

Bathroom Lighting

The bathroom is another room that often suffers from inadequate lighting. It too should contain one light to provide warm ambience and various task lights (such as downlights, ceiling lights or wall lights) for task lighting. Bathroom fixtures must be rated for damp locations.

Outdoor Lighting

Outdoor lighting needs to carefully balance three things: mood, functionality and security. Remember that it embodies your entire house and provides an absolute first impression, and is a statement of personal style and aesthetics. Good outdoor lighting can also increase the overall value of your house.

Many homes now have movement sensors that switch on lights to reduce their energy consumption, enhance safety and provide a welcome to all their guests.

Spotlights all around the house are an excellent way to provide outdoor lighting. Remember to note that outdoor fixtures must be rated for external use and will require appropriate wiring against dampness or rain.