Illuminating Your Life

The right lighting choices can make a difference in a room's functionality and ambiance. Here are tips to ensure your room is as inviting as it is beautiful

Lighting is crucial to add atmosphere to a room and make it a snug place to nest when it’s dark outside. Lighting is one element of interior design that is often overlooked.  But, when you consider it, the lack of proper lighting can have a tremendous impact on your space.  Lighting can affect your mood and even the overall perceived size of a space, which is why it is an essential element to any design scheme.

If you want room to look warm and welcoming you are going to need more than one source of light. Experts say there are three types of light in a well-lit room. 

Ambient light is the main light. It comes from a central overhead fitting or from recessed lights. It shouldn’t be too bright or the room might look cold. 

Accent lights add warmth. It is provided by lamps, uplighter and wall sconces. Lighting experts warn against overdoing accent light as it can make a room look too busy. 

The third kind is task lighting – light designed to help you do specific tasks such as reading, working or cooking.

Different Lights For Different Purposes

A bedroom will need general lighting for when you are looking for clothes in the wardrobe and getting dressed. Dimmer switches will make it possible to have bright light when you need it and softer light for when you are going to bed.

Other rooms have similar needs. In the kitchen, the cook will need general lighting as well as task lighting over a counter or island so chopping and preparing food can be done safely. Many older kitchens have fluorescent lights, which provide good lighting, but have zero atmosphere. Avoid them, and if you have them, change them.

A dining room might also need lights on dimmer switches to create atmosphere while people are eating, and a living room will need side lamps to create a warm tone. Wall sconces and uplighter provide wars light. Sconces and uplighter should be above eye heigh so the bulbs are not visible. 

The quickest, cheapest way to create a warm, glow in a room is to replace the “cool white” bulbs with ones marked “warm white”

CCT (Correlated Color Temperature) is the measure of the light’s color appearance. Light tends to fall into three different categories (all measured in Kelvin):

  • Warm
  • Neutral
  • Cool

Light color is measured on the Kelvin (K) scale. Lower numbers mean the light appears yellowish, and higher numbers mean the light is whiter or bluer.

It’s important to take into consideration the color temperature of your lights. Consult the images below to find the color temperature of your choice:

When shopping for light bulbs, you will probably notice these labels: soft white (2700K – 3000K), bright white/cool white (3500K – 4100K), and daylight (5000K – 6500K). Make sure you choosing the right color temperature bulb for your needs:

WARM LIGHT:

Adds a warm, cozy feel to the room, best for bedrooms and living rooms.

NEUTRAL LIGHT:

The whiter light is best for areas that require energy and focus, such as the kitchens, bathrooms, garages, and utility rooms.

COOL LIGHT:

This bright, blueish/whitish light is most similar to noon on a sunny day. This type of lighting is great for reading, projects, and other hobbies. Cooler light is better for areas where you need extra attention to detail, such as bathrooms and kitchens.

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