We take a lot of pride in our homes. It’s our sanctuary, for when we get the kids fed, bathed and in bed, we want nothing more than to sit down, possibly with a glass of wine, unwind and take five minutes for ourselves. We’ve deserved it, and we need our home to have the ambience we’re striving for. A little tranquillity.
So how do we do that? Lighting. It’s one of the last things we tend to focus on when really, it can make or break a room. It’s almost an afterthought when it should be planned out right from the start.
Here are some of my biggest tips and strategies to help you use lighting to get that ambient feeling, you deserve, so you can have that kind of lighting that’s going to help you relax when your 5 spare minutes, yet be practical the rest of the day.
The first and most obvious strategy is to exploit natural lighting. This should be in the forefront of your mind when you sit down to plan out your home. Whenever possible, you want to take advantage of the exposure. If you are in the northern hemisphere, having east, west and south facing lighting sources with increase your natural light.
If you have a room that doesn’t have an abundance of natural light, one of the best strategies for maximizing natural light is the use of natural light by reflecting the light using well-placed mirrors. Simply, placing a mirror on a wall opposite a window and it will reflect the light into the room. Try it you’ll be amazed at how effective it is.
If it’s a really dark room, then you can place other mirrors in the room, for example, opposite the first mirror you’ll almost have a domino effect, with natural light bouncing around the room.
Using very light colours, white and off-white colours, in rooms with low natural light can help to reflect light, and with a well-placed mirror. Perfect.
For mood lighting, or to help light a room that gets very little natural light, recessed lighting should be something to consider. What you’re looking for is to have each light, placed in the ceiling, to cast a cone of light, on the floor.
This gives you flexibility. They can be used to add light to rooms that have limitations to natural light and rather than having overbearing light; you can use these “spot lights” to offer to light to areas of the room that don’t have access to natural light.
Halogen lighting is pretty affordable, so this is also a low budget solution with more expensive lighting options like low-voltage bulbs and LEDs, which offers a clean white light.
When we have high traffic rooms, in other words where the family might spend a lot of time, a room that perhaps has different functions, you’ll need lighting that serves you for these different functions.
A good base light, for when you need a lot of light, is fluorescent lighting. Initially, you might worry that it will feel a little “clinical”, but fluorescent lighting has come a long way in recent years. Well placed fluorescent lighting can look good and gives you that strong lighting you might need at times of the day. It’s also one of the more affordable lighting options. For softer lighting, you have used well-placed wall lights and spotlighting to generate that ambience you’re looking for in the evening when it’s time to relax.
Having both won’t be expensive, not in the installation nor the day to day costs of running, because halogen is so cost-effective, and yet, you get the best of both worlds.
There is a multitude of lighting options available that allow you to create the ambience you want for you home. The first goal is to maximize natural lighting, make it part of your thinking when you plan the layout of a room. Also, take advantage of methods to enhance that light with skylights or well-placed mirrors.
Finally, don’t fear revisiting lighting sources like halogen. It’s effective and cheap; it’s also moved on regarding design. Lots of options out there, just be sure to make it part of your planning, not an afterthought, because lighting is so important in terms of a home’s functionality and mood.