Our homes are our safe places, our havens, and the place we spend more time being ourselves than anywhere else. We also invite people we are close to – friends and family – to our houses to see us.
Therefore, we want our homes to be relaxing, beautiful and welcoming places that are both conducive to relaxation and yet also cause just the slightest twinge of envy in those who visit!
Bright & Yet Cosy
Homes should be cosy, and yet bright enough that you can easily navigate around them. If you have an older person living with you, you might need to up the wattage of your light bulbs – old eyes need more light to see easily! Otherwise, you can create inviting pools of light in social areas: the kitchen, the living room and the dining room, while other parts of the home can be left slightly darker.
Some parts of the home might benefit from having lighting options, such as dimmer switches or several points of light to ‘mix and match’.
Teenagers’ bedrooms are often a great example of a room that can benefit from having two levels of available light: soft, dimmer lights for those dreamy, moods moments, and nice clear lights for dressing up, trying out make-up or doing homework.
Another thing to think about is the colour of the light produced by your light bulbs. While bathrooms and kitchens can benefit from bright white lights such as produced by fluorescent lights, whether you choose a regularly shaped bulb or the very long ones called battens, opting for bulbs with a warmer tint can work well in social spaces and bedrooms.
Apart from the cosy visibility, warm-toned lights are more flattering to our skin, making us look and feel better about ourselves!
Lighting can also be used to add space to your home – and even to transform the internal spaces of a room. Fact is, lighting sells houses really well.
Bright lights, installed properly, can make a room look bigger and more welcoming – and this can be enhanced if you add a large mirror feature, which can effectively double the appearance of space in the room.
Check: 12 Living Room Ideas
Avoid a single harsh overhead light. Any stage designer looking to create a dingy room in which to set their play will use this feature to create a small space where hard shadows are thrown downwards, creating the impression of an unloved, unwelcoming flat – think Harold Pinter’s Homecoming or Tennessee Williams’ Streetcar Named Desire. These homes are places filled with acrimony and fighting – they are not havens at all.
Here’re comments from Ray Brosnan from Ireland, owner of Brosnan Property Solutions, managing a team of electricians in Cork that help with full-wire electrical systems for interior design.
“Instead, create the opposite ambiance by layering lights all around a room. An overhead light can be used, but it should cast a broad, soft light – and if you can invest in a chandelier with three or four low-wattage bulbs rather than one single brighter light, so much the better! Add in table lamps, wall-mounted sconces, and even use up-lighters cunningly hidden in your skirting board to produce a lot of light in pools that are bright without being dazzling,” the expert adds.
This brings us to…
Ambient & Dazzle
Dazzle is caused when there are overly bright points of light that hurt your eyes, creating after-images and actually preventing you from seeing clearly at all! Aim to create ambient light, which is maybe best explained as being the light seen on a film set: you can see everything going on clearly because there are no areas of excess brightness, such as would be seen with a bare bulb glowing in plain sight.
Ambient light is most easily caused by using a good number of layered lights all around the room: overheads, standing lamps, table and side lamps, and wall-mounted lights, each quite dim by itself and shaded so there is no glare, but the whole adding up to a nice amount of light to see, read or work by.
Professionals Handyman Services London point up-lighters and downlighters as fantastic features that produce this soft but luminous effect. This is because their bulbs are usually hidden out of sight, and their light is cast onto a nearby wall – often one painted white or a pale colour to reflect a good level of light into the room, rather than swallowing it up.
Installing up-lighters can be an easy process if they come with their own mounting. Or it can be more intensive. Fitting up-lighters into your skirting board is time-consuming and tricky, but they look wonderful once they are cunningly hidden.
Create Light Effects
There are areas of your home that you wouldn’t, in the usual way, think about lighting. These include the stairs, your landing if it is a tiny one, and the insides of large cupboards. But adding a touch of light in these liminal places is a good idea, giving your home a professional finish and adding an unexpected amount of convenience for you.
Staircases are so much easier to navigate with just the tiniest glow of light to aid your steps, and you can get wonderful ‘cats-eye’ lights in packs of twelve or so that can be fixed next to each step. Another solution is to fit glow-in-dark tape or light-up treads to the front of each step.
Landing lights rarely need to be excessively bright, particularly if bedrooms open off the landing, but a neat wall-mounted up-lighter can again, allow just enough light for people to get to the bathroom or the top of the stairs in safety.
With a light in the walk-in wardrobe, you will spot and clean up any dust and spider webs, sort out or pick your clothes more easily.
Make Sure Your Lighting is Fit for Purpose
Finally, ensure that the lighting in the room suits the purpose of a room. Kitchens need to be a bright room full of brightness that is not too much of an exaggeration – while television or games’ rooms can be much dimmer, allowing the action on the screen to dominate
If you are still working from home – or have always done so – your home office should be clear and clutter-free and beautifully lit to allow you to see your paperwork and your screens without excessive eye strain.
Another reason for good lighting in your home office is for those ubiquitous video calls. We’ve all seen people so brightly lit that they seem almost ghostly, or so dimly shrouded, that they are all but invisible.
Overall, consider the room you are adding lights to and make sure you are not overdoing it. You could also call in an expert. There are so many interior designers in Toronto that would be delighted to start a project in your home.