You need light inside your house — that much is obvious then you should know Basic Lighting Rules. Yet, how you illuminate your home’s interior spaces can radically affect how your rooms look, feel, and function. Regardless of your aesthetic or the type of ambiance, you are trying to achieve with your interior style, you need to follow a few essential illumination guidelines to ensure that your spaces are lit up suitably.
The following five rules are hard and fast to help novice home decorator illuminate their spaces with style.
Start With at Least 2 Different Light Sources ( Basic Lighting Rules)
General or ambient light, which ensures a space has a uniform level of light throughout. You might install recessed lighting to achieve this type of light, but other lights like ceiling-mounted fixtures and wall sconces can achieve a similar effect.
Task light, which shines a bright light over a small area to help complete a task, like cooking or reading. You usually use task lights in the kitchen over countertops, where you might need them to help with food preparation; under-cabinet lights and pendant lights are good for this. You might also use a small desk or table lamp to create a task light effect.
Accent light or highlights, which serves to draw attention to certain elements of the home. It is typical for accent lights to shine on particular objects around the home, like artwork, bookcases, plants, or architectural features. The light itself might also be a worthy feature to draw the eye, such as neon lights.
Every room in your home should have general light, but to enhance the sophistication of your illumination, you should add another light source from a different light type. You might also try to position these lights on different levels — high up, toward the middle of the space or lower toward the ground. Then, you will create layers of light that add interest and complexity to your space.
Think Critically About Your Light Bulbs
Not all light bulbs are created equal. Different light bulbs can produce different amounts of light; they can generate light of a specific temperature (warm or cold) and they can draw excessive amounts of energy to increase your utility bills.
Lumens is a measure of the amount of light produced by a bulb — the more lumens, the more light. Wattage tends to be closely linked to lumens, with bulbs that draw more watts of electricity generating more illumination. Not all fixtures need the maximum amount of lumens to be functional, and in many cases, dim bulbs add more to the feeling of a space than bright ones.
The temperature of light bulbs can also have an effect on how your space feels. The technical measure of color temperature is Kelvin, with a larger number of Kelvin appearing bluer and cooler and lower Kelvin bulbs producing a warmer, yellower light. Cold bulbs can make a room feel sterile, so most designers recommend using bulbs that produce “soft white” light, between 2700 and 3000 Kelvin.
Finally, you should probably replace most of the bulbs in your home with LEDs. LEDs require remarkably little energy to function, and an LED bulb should last for around 10 years. Unless you need a bulb with more character, like an Edison bulb for an industrial-styled home, you can and should use LEDs.
Install Dimmers on Key Lighting Elements
The exact same lighting design isn’t appropriate for every event or activity in your home. Even with well-placed task lights, you might benefit from brighter general illumination some nights and dimmer ambient light other nights. Rather than filling your space with more sources of light, you should attach dimmers to the existing lights in your rooms. Dimmers give you complete control over the level of illumination of your lights provide, and they are easy to install yourself with no professional help needed.
Some rules are made to be broken, and that tends to be especially true with rules in the field of interior design. As you grow more comfortable styling your home spaces, you might feel the need to experiment with bending or breaking several illumination rules — but you should skirt the essential guidelines above only at your own risk.
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