When it comes to illuminating the interiors of our homes we often forget that lighting a room isn’t simply a practical matter. Even when we spend a great deal of time, effort and money on creating exactly the right style for our interiors we can overlook the effects that carefully considered lighting can have.
Color is important: what kind of lampshades, filters or light bulbs do you need to cast exactly the right hue? Colored lighting will dictate what shades will be reflected from your furniture, knick-knacks and surfaces. Intensity and radius of light will affect the mood and visibility of the interior too. Do you want narrow beams of light or wide cones? Where do you want to soften areas by leaving them in shadow and which areas need to be highlighted? Do you want to pick out certain items or de-emphasis others?
There are straightforward guidelines to help you in your quest to complement your décor to the best advantage and only six categories of light to consider.
Uplights can be mounted via brackets on a wall or set on the floor. Wall lights ought to be a little above the eyeline to throw light onto a ceiling. Floor lights can emphasize anything in the room if directed judiciously. Ceilings should be flawless as uplighting can mercilessly expose defects. Be sure that you know the heat output of a floor lamp to obviate damage.
Downlights are directional or pointed straight downwards. A downlight with a wide beam projects with a radius of up to fifty degrees. Recess them into ceilings, choose low-voltage lamps for a brighter, whiter beam.
Wall wash lights can be mounted on the surface of a wall or recessed into an alcove. Textured surfaces can benefit from this kind of lighting.
Decorative lights are most effective on a wall or ceiling. Fibre-optic lights can also be fitted overhead. Avoid suspending a pendant lamp from a low ceiling. It can look intrusive and easily attract dust and dirt.
Discreet lights are hidden lights that disguise the source of the beam. Use this style for bookshelves, storage units and cabinet interiors to create a mellow, warm mood.
Lamps go on tables or floors. If you want to create a softly diffused light-effect put a translucent shade over the bulb. A more solid beam can be projected with the use of an opaque shade.
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