Many think that lighting your home is among the most challenging things to do right in interior design. The right lighting can make all the difference for a room, regardless of how you choose to decorate it otherwise. Since every home is different, there is no one solution which works for every room and every home, but we've collected these simple tips to make planning how to light your home a little easier!
To create a pleasantly lit room you need variation. Varying light placement, size and intensity. For a smaller room, five to seven light sources is appropriate, while a large room might need up to 10 lights to set the right mood. It may sound like a lot, but if you vary your light choices it won't feel overwhelming and over-the-top. Naturally, you don't have to have all the lights switched on at the same time either.
It's common to talk about different types of lighting, primarily functional lighting, mood lighting and general lighting. Sometimes point lighting is included as well. Functional lighting is lighting designed to help you perform different tasks. Examples include a desk lamp, or a lamp above the kitchen bench, which make sure you see what you're doing!
Mood lighting is, as the name implies, lighting which is meant to set a pleasant mood in the room. Lamps ideal for mood lighting typically cast a softer light, and are usually placed off to the sides of a room, such as on the windowsill, on top of a chest of drawers, or on a side table.
General lighting should cover a wider area, and should be the foundation of your room's lighting. Sometims a ceiling light is enough, but it is often a good idea to supplement with some indirect lighting, such as indirect lights on top of a bookshelf or wardrobe. Finally, point lighting is meant to highlight an area of the room, or a specific object, such as a painting or sculpture.
Pictured: Vinge from Örsjö Belysning
It is easy to overlook how much different light sources can vary in terms of temperature, before you place them side-by-side. Choosing the right temperature is, of course, a matter of personal preference, and depends on your desired ambiance. Warm lighting will make a room feel cozy and homely, while cool lighting will emphasise contrasts and give the room a more energetic feel.
The lighting's intensity also makes a big impact on the final result. A dimmer is great for varying the intensity of a single light source (remenber—variation is important!). It's also important to remember that dark surfacs absorb light, while light surfaces reflect it, meaning that the color of your walls and furniture can have a big impact on how bright a light can feel.
Pictured: Manola from Herstal
Since every room and home is slightly different, they all have slightly different challenges and possibilities. If you want to make your room feel airy and spacious, it's worth considering using uplights, which are lamps pointed upwards. These can also be used if your room has nice stucco elements, or other structural features which you want to emphasise. Wall lights can also give a discreet and calming background light, and often complement the other lights in the room. A well-placed floor lamp can help frame your seating, or make your reading corner more inviting.
Don't be afraid to move the lights around. Try switching up the angles and experiment with contrasts. The balance between light and shadow isn't the easiest thing to get right, but with the right tools, some planning and a bit of patience, and you'll be well on your way there!
Pictured: Aim from Flos