We recently moved into our home and have just finished putting all the furniture and furnishings in place. After searching the markets for light fittings, we are now confused by what kind of lights to put where. We are also unclear about how to use lights to ‘finish’ the space without having the standard boring wall and ceiling fittings.
Lighting plays a very important role in blending the various elements of the space, but more importantly in actually setting the mood and ambience for your home.
Here’s a simple breakdown: Task lights—let them be bright; general lights—let them be basic; ambient lights—let them be soft.
Task lights cover lights for specific tasks of every home: the reading light on the bedside or study table, the kitchen light above the counter for chopping and cooking, the toilet lights above the mirror, and the wardrobe lights. These lights have specific objectives and should be strong enough to support the task they are meant for. They tend to be on for longer hours, so ensure they are energy-efficient. The shades and fittings should be smart and should focus and point towards the task or subject. The fittings should be simple and not make a statement—just simply supplement the practicality of needing the light.
Coffee table lamps should be used as sculptural pieces, not for lighting up the room
General lights are the standard wall and ceiling lights spread throughout your home, which are switched on at sundown. These lights should be basic, energy-efficient lights—simple fittings in tune with the design theme of your home. The bulbs and fittings should not be exposed, and these lights are best with subtle shades to ensure they aren’t too strong or dull. Avoid lights that are too ornate or attract too much attention—save those for the next category.
Ambient lights should be the focal light fixture in your room. This is where you go all out after covering the basic lighting needs of your space. Pick a spot where you can put a focus ambient light, maybe a chandelier, that serves as a decorative piece. Be bold—use colour or smoked bulbs for a soft and striking effect. Keep the wattage low, around 40 watts will be enough. Let the size and colour of the fitting speak for itself and enjoy the impact it has on your home. Play with the corner for this light’s ideal placement. Let it hang in a corner, lower than usual, instead of the standard ceiling centre.
If you don’t have a perfect ceiling point, put it on a pedestal and that itself would make it stand out as a decorative lamp post.
Here are a couple of options to use for ambient lighting:
The cluster: Create a cluster of lights, such as paper lamps or lanterns. They can be various colours of the same shape or various sizes of the same colour hanging in a corner or placed on the floor at various levels. They serve no purpose of ‘lighting’ up something, but are visually interesting.
To be visually stimulating, hang ambient lights at eye level
The spot: This accentuates a collection, memorabilia, or a favourite furniture piece. This piece of lighting can work wonders. It could be as simple as being focused on a Buddha on the console or the hand-embroidered throw on the couch.
The wall washer: If you have been bold enough to paint a wall a bold colour or texture or add character to it in any other way, then go further by accentuating it with lights. It does not necessarily brighten up the wall, but simply washes it with soft lights, either lighting up from the floor or down from the ceiling as a series of fittings across the span of the wall.
The table lamps: To be used on a console or sofa side tables. Be generous because you are more likely to come in direct contact with this fitting than any other. Let it have a story, a meaning or a history. Embroider the shade, add embellishments, but let this piece be different!
The planter lights: Just a lonely indoor plant in home corners cannot do anything by itself. Soft-coloured spotlights hidden behind it can completely transform the entire space by lighting up nature’s gift in your home.
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