Getting your lighting right
By Lyonne Edwards
In your home the lighting requirements will vary from area to area. Some areas require strong task lighting and others ambient lighting.
Most will require a combination of both. For example, bedrooms suit soft ambient light combined with directional task lighting for reading, whereas kitchens require good task lighting with reasonably high levels of illuminance.
To achieve good lighting it is important to use a combination of light sources. Good lighting will put light onto the walls, ceilings and the task area. When studying lighting we are taught “to light the verticals first” and it is good for you to keep this in mind when lighting your home.
Directional light fittings, such as down lights, are only suitable for task lighting – like over kitchen work areas, to highlight art on walls, or to wash the walls of a room with light. General ambient lighting is achieved with fittings which give a spread of light to illuminate many surfaces in a room.
Feature lighting should also be considered as a well placed pendant can create the wow factor in your home. Downward directed fittings will leave your ceiling looking dark and create a cave like effect in a room. Instead; have fun with lighting, creating different effects and levels of illumination in the different areas of your home.
There are many fittings on the market which help create an enjoyable and attractive lighting installation. Ceiling surface mounted fittings, wall lights, table lamps and floor lamps will all contribute to creating a desirable and attractive lighting installation.
Low level lighting inset into walls down hallways and media rooms is a good option over harsh overhead lighting. Cove or pelmet lighting using dimmable lamp sources, such as LED or fluorescent, can also help create atmosphere in a room.
LED strip lighting in kitchens, over splash backs and in kickboards, under baths and vanities in the bathrooms, and on the treads in stairwells, can also be very effective.
Another important consideration is what control system to use for your lighting. There are many options available; from a simple dimmer switch to a complete system which covers lighting, audio visual and mechanical aspects throughout your home.
If your budget allows a control system this is very desirable, but if your budget is a little tighter, simply installing dimmer switches in the living areas and bedrooms is a good option.
When choosing your lighting consult a lighting professional, as they have the training required to make your home look its best.
Find someone who will help you create the kind of environment you are comfortable in, rather than someone who merely has the ability to mark up your plan with fitting placement.
A good lighting professional will offer different options for your home with the end result as the focus, rather than the number of fittings they hope to sell you.