Natural sunlight beaming through the windows of a home and basking everything in its light is a pleasure to the eyes as well as the mind. However, when the sun goes down, the need for artificial light arises so activities can be continued.
If you’re looking to add more light to your home, or are looking for ideas of how to use lighting effects to cheer up a gloomy room, here are some nifty tricks on how to use various lighting fixtures and lighting accessories to spruce it with light.
Determine Your Need
There are three main types of lighting which are normally used together in various degrees to provide light for a room. Those three layers consist of general lighting, task lighting and accent lighting.
If you are planning on adding or changing the light in a room, you first need to determine the functions which the room supports and what types of lighting are required in order to meet those requirements. For example, a kitchen can be improved by adding a general light source, such as an overhead fluorescent light, combined with task lighting via under cabinet or recessed puck lights, further combined with accent sconces placed on either side of a painting hanging over a breakfast nook.
On the other hand, a small den may only require a general source of light, such as can be provided by a central pendant fixture, and a couple of table or floor lamps for reading or background illumination while watching TV. The types of lighting fixtures used in each room are determined by the individual lighting needs. Using dimmer switches on certain lights adds to the variety of lighting moods which can be created and allows complete control of the amount of energy used.
Think Sufficiency, Position and Convenience for Task Lighting
Task lighting is the type that most people complain the most about not having enough of. Therefore, when planning light for a work area, think over-lighting. It is much better to use lower watt bulbs to tone done bright task light than it is to suffer from not having sufficient illumination. Many lighting fixtures work on dimmers which allow you to adjust the brightness of light depending on the need.
You also want to focus on the correct positioning of your task light fixtures. A reading light, such as a floor or table lamp, should be positioned behind and just over your shoulder for the best light angle and to reduce glare. A work bench, on the other hand, requires direct overhead lighting, like what recessed pucks or track lights provide, or front-facing wall fixtures, such as spot lights, to expose the work area without casting shadows caused by obstructing items.
Convenience is another quality which needs to be considered when planning task lighting. Swing-arm fixtures, either floor-type or wall mounted, allow you to adjust the distance or use the light for other purposes. Recessed puck lights that swivel, or track lights which can be moved, are other options which add to the convenience of adjusting the light source.
Dress Up a Room with Accent Lighting
When you want to highlight special items, textures, or qualities of a room, or you simply want to add to the room’s ambiance, accent lighting will do the trick. Such light adds aesthetically pleasing tones to a room and accentuates the beauty of its various attractive characteristics.
Candles are still a fun source of accent light, but you can find more permanent sources in fixtures such as wall sconces, spotlights and Torchiere lamps. A dark room can even be brightened by placing sconces on either side of a large mirror which will reflect light out into the room.
Proper Use of Light Bulbs
What bulbs you use is just as important as the lighting fixtures themselves. The type of bulb as well as the wattage plays an important role in home lighting. General lighting can be achieved with lower watt bulbs while task lighting requires wattage of between 75 and 100. Accent lights normally only require bulbs around the 15 watt range because they are used mainly for decoration. Also, lower watt bulbs may be best when utilizing numerous bulbs in a fixture such as a chandelier or series of track lights since the combined light will be sufficient.
There are a variety of light bulbs which can now be utilized in home lighting. Of course, traditional incandescent bulbs are still available. However, they are rapidly being replaced by other lighting options. Fluorescent bulbs come in various shapes and sizes and meet a variety of lighting needs. Halogen and Xenon bulbs are other options which provide a strong light, but one that is easy on the eyes. LED bulbs are another up and coming lighting option which is being heralded as the lighting source of the future due to economy, long performance life, low heat and other attractive features.
You must be sure that the fixtures you desire are compatible with the types of bulbs you want to use as not all fixtures accommodate all types of bulbs. As for the wattage, look for the UL (Underwriters Laboratories) tag on fixtures for the recommended maximum wattage.
Utilizing these lighting tricks will help you transform your dark, dreary house into a warm and inviting home.