Indoor Lighting Essentials For The Home
One of the easiest ways to improve the appearance of your home is to have it well lit inside. Good lighting cheers up a room, brightens colors and gives an open, fresh look to the space. Even if your home is blessed with abundant natural light during the day, you will still need to depend on artificial light once the sun goes down.
Lighting serves several functions in your home. Aside from the obvious action of providing enough light to see by, your interior lighting also brings out the drama of your décor; becomes a decorating accent in its own right; and also serves as a safety measure. A poorly lit home not only looks drab and dreary, it also makes it easier to trip, bang into furniture or knock things over.
What Are The Categories Of Artificial Light?
- Ambient Lighting: Provides the general, base lighting indoors. This is your overhead lighting, including recessed lights, chandeliers and hanging and fixed light fixtures.
- Accent Lighting: Adds to the ambient lighting, but also can spotlight a particular feature. Track lighting, sconces and spotlights are all examples of accent lighting.
- Task Lighting: Includes localized sources of light used for a specific purpose, such as table lamps, bathroom vanity lighting, under cabinet kitchen lights or desk lamps.
- Decorative Lighting: More for appearance than utility, though it also adds to the general illumination of a room. Small lamps, nightlights, decorative sconces or illuminated collectibles are all decorative lighting fixtures.
Are You Lighting the Living Room?
As the busiest room of your home, the living room requires excellent lighting and options from each category to achieve that goal. In a large room, running recessed lighting along the ceiling will provide good ambient lighting, and a ceiling fan with a light fixture will further brighten things up, along with providing air circulation. Lights on dimmers or remote controlled lights make it more enjoyable to watch television or play videogames.
Each seating area of your living room should have a light source. A floor lamp behind the couch or a beautiful lamp on a side table will make it easy to read or focus on a craft. Use wall sconce lights to highlight the fireplace or small track lights to spotlight a treasured work of art. Finally, decorative lamps or faux candles will add a touch of romance in the evening.
Does Your Bedroom Need Brightening?
The majority of your time in the bedroom is spent with the lights out, but you need proper illumination for dressing, reading in bed or working at a small desk. Though many smaller bedrooms have no overhead light, if your room is large, a ceiling fixture or a ceiling fan with a remote control to work lights and fan will brighten things up enough to be cheery without overly bright.
Bedside lamps are a must, or if you want to keep your nightstands uncluttered, mount a pair of wall sconces on either side of the bed. The bedroom is the perfect place for glowing décor to give just a touch of romantic light to set a mood.
Is Your Kitchen Dreary?
Many older homes still have kitchens with ugly light boxes containing long, fluorescent lights. Update your kitchen by removing the old-fashioned light box. Instead, install hanging pendant lights as accents and a contemporary ceiling fixture to illuminate the room properly.
Your kitchen is a busy place and needs excellent lighting for food preparation, reading recipes, seeing into cupboards and washing dishes. You can mount small kitchen lights underneath your upper cabinets to provide extra light and add a little touch of drama to the room at night. Cleanliness and safety are paramount in the kitchen, so avoid lamps, long cords, lights that dangle near the stove and anything with a shade that could collect grease and dust.
Is Your Bathroom Boring?
Very often, the bathroom has only one small ceiling fixture to light the entire space. Unless your bathroom is very small, or has excellent natural light (rare in a bathroom), one lone fixture probably leaves the room dim, dull-looking and without enough light for applying makeup, shaving or other personal grooming needs.
Along with a ceiling fixture in the toilet area, your sink should have lighting over the vanity. Vanity lights directly over the mirror can create shadows, making it tough to get a true view of your appearance, so consider vanity lights, sconces or small wall lights on either side of the mirror for more natural lighting.
If you have a large bathroom with a recessed tub, large shower area or extended dressing area, make use of recessed lights with a dimmer switch so you can choose just the level of brightness you want.
Don’t leave your home in the dark. Let the light into every room, and watch how your mood improves along with the brightness. There are almost limitless choices of indoor lighting, so mix and match throughout your home to add to the ambience, improve utility and keep things safe.