Lighting is one of the most efficient and cost effective ways to transform your home. It impacts how we interact, think, feel and move within a space and can have lasting emotional and physical impacts on us, even if we don’t know it.
How many times have you walked into a friend’s living room and said something along the lines of “it’s so light and airy in here!” or on the other end of the spectrum, “it’s a bit dark and dank, don’t you think?”
Harsh lighting can give us headaches, poor lighting can make us squint and strong lighting can even make us feel hot and bothered.
If you’re thinking of changing your lighting or if you’re designing a new space for the first time, choosing the right kind of lighting is important. Not just for form and function but also to ensure you’re happy, healthy and in harmony with your home.
As you begin to think about lighting in more detail, you’ll also begin to pick up on all of the subconscious and subtle ways it influences how we live our lives. To ‘shed light’ on how to pick the best interior lighting for your home, here are four tips we’ve put together, with support from Urban Lighting.
Work with your aesthetic
Lighting is like hair. That sounds strange I know, but when you consider that they say 80% of a person’s ‘look’ is made up of how they do their hair, it seems pretty accurate. Imagine yourself with a comb over, bob, braids, dreadlocks, corn rows, afro or with no hair at all! You’d look so different in each instance and you might dress in a fashion that matches your hair, changing your entire look. With lighting, the same thought could be applied.
How you light your lounge room can drastically affect the kind of furniture you purchase or the way you style it. Imagine mid-century inspired minimalism beneath a flourished French provincial wall sconce; it simply doesn’t go.
If you’re not sure what kind of aesthetic you want or if you want to change your style often, go for minimal lighting with down lights. If you want to dress the space up, you could add a pendant or chandelier which can easily be changed or rotated often.
When it comes to aesthetics, be conscious about your intentions. Start with a style in mind and choose your lighting to fit the look.
Use natural light
There’s no point trying to fight fire with fire, which is why you must factor in the natural light that flows into your home. In terrace houses it can be difficult for natural light to penetrate the length of the building, whereas a freestanding worker’s cottage might have ample windows and a shallow room depth. Whatever your floor plans, you’ll need to understand how the structure of your home and the sun interact throughout the day.
For example, if you’re in perpetual darkness a great tip is to use floor lighting to add depth and layers to your home. You can do this through LED strips, or even a freestanding floor lamp which will look great at the end of a long hallway.
For those of you with plenty of sunlight or large glass panes, you may wish to go with something softer at night to prevent internal reflections. An interior track or spot light can draw the eye to a focal point, distracting you and your guests from the impersonality of vast glass surfaces or wide open spaces.
Dwell on ambience
Really think about what you’ll be doing in your space. Dinner parties are always better with dimmer switches, studies or homework areas are much more practical when lit up (but not too harshly) whilst entrance ways give you license to dazzle and amaze.
Lighting can surprise and stun you and your guests, but there are also times in which it should be understated and subtle. Having a clear vision on what type of ambience and environment you would like to create will help you pick the right option for you.
If you have a versatile space, think about dynamic lighting like hanging pendants or ceiling fan lights which can make rooms seem multipurpose and adaptable.
Lastly, think about your materials. I’m not referring to just the materials that the light fittings are made of, (although that is important.) I’m talking about the materials in the environment you are lighting. Are your polished concrete floors highly reflective? Does your upcycled timber furniture soak in a lot of light? Does your carpet hue look different under different types of lighting? Will your matte countertop discolour over time?
It’s not unheard of for novice interior designers to pick the perfect lighting for their home, which looks the part, fits the purpose and hits the right price point, only to realise that the materials they’ve built the room with don’t interact with their choice of lighting well.
That’s why it’s always worth talking to professionals like the friendly team at Urban Lighting to ensure that you get the best kind of interior lighting for your home.
This post was written with support from Urban Lighting.