How to Choose the Right Lighting for Your Home
Lighting is one of the most important elements of any home interior or exterior renovation. You will have to make key decisions about the types of lighting you incorporate into your home because lighting needs to serve a functional purpose and is a major design element. The right lighting choices will transform your space’s stylistic elements and enhance any room’s decorative scheme. With so many different types and categories of lighting available it can become confusing and overwhelming to choose the proper lighting for your home. In today’s blog, we wanted to explain the different types of lighting available to you so you can make the right choices for the different areas of your home.
Before we get to the different types of lighting, there are also bulb types that come into play when deciding the right lighting for your home. Each light bulb has a list of advantages and disadvantages while working differently in various spaces of your home. For example, incandescent is the most commonly used type of light bulb because it is the least expensive with a warm and inviting tone that is usually complementary to skin tones. However, incandescent lights are not as energy efficient as other options. Halogen lights are a variation of incandescent lights and are the closest bulb type to natural light. The white light they provide is often used to bring out any vibrant tones in your furniture and decor features. However, halogen lights can get very hot to touch and are often not used in fixtures that children can reach. We recommend opting for a xenon bulb which is a variation of halogen bulbs without the high temperature. When you think of fluorescent light, you probably think of flat and cold lighting that is often really harsh on the eyes. This harshness makes fluorescent lighting, and its many variations, perfect to light large areas like attics or basements. LED light is currently the longest-lasting and most energy-efficient type of light bulb available. They were originally expensive and provided only directional light, but with recent advance LED lights are more realistic and can emit diffused lighting.
Types of Lighting
When planning the lighting for each room, think about how it can correspond to the function or purpose of the room. Not only should lighting complement your lifestyle and design tastes, but it should also suit the individual needs of your family. Try to think about what activities will be happening in each room and the atmosphere that you want the room to take on. Since rooms can take on multiple purposes, a good lighting plan will be accommodating to this and incorporate all three types of lighting.
Ambient, sometimes referred to as general light, is the most common type of lighting you can add to your home. When you think ambient like, think chandeliers, pendants, ceiling lights, and any other architectural lighting. This type of lighting provides light to the entirety of the room and an overall uniform level of illumination. It is intended to radiate a comfortable brightness and soft glow that blankets your space to ensure easy and safe traffic throughout the room without a harsh glare. Since it is meant to replace sunlight, ambient lighting is considered natural light and should be as flat as possible. Ambient lighting is fundamental to any space as it can illuminate a room independently to other lighting sources.
Appropriately named, task lighting simply illuminates a task that you carry out in any given space. When installing task lighting, you should always avoid harsh lights that cause distracting shadows, glares, and eyestrain. This smaller, more concentrated light is often called office or focal lighting as it helps with activities like reading, computer work, writing, homework, sewing, cooking, and many other tasks. These activities require a finer, brighter light that works best when used as a contrasting light source. Popular categories of task lighting include desk, floor, and table lamps as well as undercabinet lighting and wall sconces.
Accent lighting adds style and drama to your space by drawing the eye to a focal point and creating visual interest. Recessed and track lighting are common types of accent lighting as they are used to makes spaces appear larger and strategically spotlight certain features of the space. Often used as part of the decorating scheme, accent lighting highlights architectural or interest elements of your room including things like plants, art pieces, bookshelves, and textured walls.
Lighting for Different Rooms
The living room is an all-purpose area where your family tends to spend long stretches of time doing a wide variety of activities. Your lighting choices need to reflect this diversity, so we recommend layering your lighting in the living room to accommodate all its uses. Including ambient light is crucial for this space as the room needs a sufficient amount of light throughout the day and into the night. A large pendant or chandelier often works well in living rooms as well as track or recessed lighting that can bounce ambient lighting off the ceiling or towards the walls. Task lighting should also be incorporated into specific areas with lamps or sconces. These additions will not only help you with specific living room tasks like reading or playing games but will also give your space visual depth and shading. Don’t forget to think about your accent lighting that can be used to focus on an architectural element like the fireplace or bookcase.
Kitchen and Dining Room
When looking to do a kitchen renovation or lighting upgrade, it is important to put a heavy emphasis on task lighting. The kitchen is one of the most functional rooms in the house with a heavy focus on completing tasks like cooking and cleaning. Make sure you include some type of task lighting for your counters and sink area where most of the work happens. An undercabinet light system is very helpful because it ensures all areas of the kitchen are illuminated without casting any unnecessary shadows. Since the kitchen is often the gathering spot and center of most homes, we also recommend focusing on proper ambient lighting. A central flush mount or pendant is a good idea to keep your kitchen bright and mimic as much natural light as possible.
Similarly, the dining room is a primary functional room that needs a mixture of task and ambient lighting. The main focus of the room is the table that should have a light fixture directly above it like a pendant, chandelier, or even linear suspension lighting. Your dining room is also a great space to showcase your decorative flair and create the right atmosphere. Try adding some accent lighting with wall sconces or architectural cove lighting and consider putting your lighting on a dimmer to set the right tone.
Besides the obvious need for ambient lighting, task lighting is crucial for any bathroom renovation. This is especially important around bathroom mirrors as this is the area most people prepare themselves for the day. Again, dimmers are a great feature to add to your mirror lighting so you can mimic natural light throughout the day. Try to avoid central ceiling-mounted fixtures or lighting directly above the mirror because both can cast an unhelpful shadow on you when standing in front of your mirror. Instead, consider a more useful lighting placement on the wall that will light both sides of the mirror.
Bedroom and Office
Your bedroom should be a place of relaxation with ambient lighting that creates a calming atmosphere you could fall asleep with. If you are going to go with overhead mounted lighting, we recommend setting it to a dimmer to avoid any harsh illumination. It is common for bedrooms to avoid overhead light altogether and opt for solely floor and table lamps. You can also include some task lighting with wall-mounted fixtures or nightstand table lamps flanking the bed for nighttime reading. For added convenience, test out lamps or wall-mounts with adjustable arms and their own light switches within easy reach.
If you prefer to read in your home office, we suggest a similar layering of light. It is important to consider what types of tasks you will be completing in this space before deciding on lights. For example, if you will be working with a computer screen, try to pick lighting options and positions that won’t reflect off the monitor or cause glares. Since you will be working in this space, a home office requires more function-orientated lights and a productive atmosphere. Try to maximize as much natural light as possible by positioning your workstation near any windows and pay attention to any task lights you place on your desk. A good home office incorporates floor lamps and adjustable table lamps that are conveniently accessed as well as indirect ambient lighting that reflects off walls or ceilings.
Trust CHART with Your Lighting Needs
When choosing your home’s different lighting fixtures, trust Canadian Home and Renovation Team to make the right choices. Since lighting is a functional element of any home, it is a step that is often dismissed and overlooked. We can help update your home’s lighting to maximize the look and stylistic feel of your space. Our team of Project Designers and Managers will oversee every aspect of the lighting choices and the rest of your renovation project, to ensure work is completed in line with your budget and on time. To begin your interior home design, gather your ideas and give CHART a call. You can also contact us to learn more about our process and how to get you