Lighting is principal to achieving high-quality interior design within your home. Not only does light affect your perception of the size of a room, but it also plays a role in how you use a space. It can set the ambiance, alter your mood and emotions, affect your productivity and the tasks you perform, and can even affect your health.
When selecting the right type of lighting for a specific room, there are three main elements you need to take into consideration. In conversation with Lighting Design Studio, they shed some light on those elements and how you can achieve a perfectly lit space.
4 Main Types of Light
Before delving into our interview, let us get you up to speed with the four main types of lighting and their function:
▪ Ambient lighting is a primary form of light and typically the main source of light within an interior space. This includes both natural lighting and artificial lighting e.g. windows and pendant fixtures. Ambient light has the power to brighten an entire room.
▪ Task lighting is used within a space when it is essential to add light for a specific activity, for instance reading lamps in an office setting and kitchen under-cabinet lights. Typically, task lights are designed with LED bulbs in mind, as they are less aggressive to the eye.
▪ Accent lighting often highlights the light and shadow of an interior to add drama or align the focus to an area. To illustrate, a sculptural piece, feature wall or artwork can be given more prominence and visibility with the correct accent lighting fixture.
▪ Decorative lighting focuses on a fixture’s aesthetic which is deemed to be more of an interest than the fixture’s brightness. To give an example, a chandelier can be ambient lighting, however, when dimmed or used with candles it becomes decorative.
Lighting Design Studio
Now that you are all caught up, we are delighted to share with you the expertise and advice of Lighting Design Studio.
Lighting Design Studio is an independent lighting design consultancy, whose aim is to explore responses to light and adapt their approach to ensure inventive solutions. Having worked on a few show homes for Taylor Wimpey, a series of high-end property development clients as well as international projects, we are proud to share pointers from our interview with them.
The Lighting Design Studio team.
Photo source: https://lightingdesignstudio.co.uk/about-us/
Light is incredibly important in a home. It can fill an interior with richness and depth whilst also being manipulated to create moods and feelings. It can highlight furniture as well as define a room’s architecture, patterns, and textures.
If your home has too little lighting, key elements of your room can go unnoticed and under-appreciated. Good lighting guarantees a warm, welcoming, and functional vibe in your home; not only for yourself but for guests as well.
When creating a snug ambience in your home, especially in your living room or bedroom, consider accent lighting and layering. It is important to note that darkness is just as important as light in a space. One of the reasons why restaurants are so cosy and relaxing is due to the balanced contrast between having the drama of darkness and pools of light - you should always aim for pools of light in your home.
Spaghetti House project.
Did you know light can affect you emotionally and psychologically? Getting enough light is very important. When used appropriately, higher levels of light in a space can increase your alertness and encourage participation. Whereas lower levels of light can help you feel more at ease and focused.
Seasonal Affective Disorder (also known as SAD) is a type of depression that can occur when there is a change in season and a lack of exposure to sunlight. Typically, this is triggered during colder months, therefore it is important to supplement natural light with bright scene light; especially if where you live and the amount of natural light you are exposed to is quite small.
3 Things You Should Know about lighting
Speaking to the team at Lighting Design Studio, they shared three essential things you should know about lighting design in your residential space.
When purchasing an LED bulb, ensure you are aware of its colour temperature. Typically, the colour palette of a room can determine what temperature will work best. For instance, if there are many warm colours or wood in a room, opt for a warmer temperature LED bulb. If there are a lot of whites and metals within the space, opt for a cooler temperature LED bulb. Try to avoid mixing temperatures in a room, as this can make the space look odd and unfinished.
Note: Currently, there is not an international standard for colour temperatures. But using the Kelvin scale to rate how warm or cool lights are can be a great help e.g. 4000K+ = very cold, 4000K = cool, 3000K = warm, 2700K = extremely warm.
Colour temperature scale via Lighting Design Studio.
2. Colour Rendering
To give a brief intro, colour rendering refers to how true colours are reflected in the space. Colour rendering measures the scalability of a bulb/source of light to reveal the true colour of a subject in comparison to a natural light source. When sourcing light bulbs for your fixtures, it is advised to use the best render possible and to always aim for daylight! Any colour render level which is above 80 is good, as it allows all skin tones to look their best and more natural in an interior setting.
Note: Look out for the term ‘CRI’ on the packaging of your light bulb to identify its colour rendering level. For reference, 80 CRI = good, 90+ CRI = very good, 95 CRI = excellent, 100 CRI = perfect!
Segula’s light bulbs feature specifications of each product including the CRI level.
It is wise to think about how you are going to control your light fixtures early on. You will likely need flexible lighting in a space to suit different tasks, so where possible, ensure that your fittings and circuits are dimmable.
For example, you may have ceiling spotlights in your bedroom in conjunction with bedside wall sconces and vanity lights; therefore, the ability to lighten or darken an area within your space is key to achieving the perfect lighting. Leading-edge and trailing-edge dimmers are two types of dimming functions which permit you to achieve the exact light level you desire in a room. Leading-edge dimmers have a high minimum load, making them less functional for LED light sources. Whereas trailing-edge dimmers have a lower minimum load, making them a much better choice for dimming fixtures modestly and smoothly.
Note: A good quality dimmer control can also help to prevent your light from flickering and potentially damaging your eyes over time.
Tala’s Sphere light bulb collection has a dim to warm and flicker-free behaviour.
Layering Your Lighting
Good lighting is fundamental to the success of any space, and the positioning of your lights is just as crucial. A key tip for achieving a well-lit space is to layer your lighting. This allows you to create scenes within a space and with the correct controls, so you can easily alter the ambience of your space.
All spaces need flexible lighting when possible, particularly spaces which tend to be multifunctional. Let’s break down lighting tips room-by-room so you can improve all spaces within your home.
▪ Living rooms are one of those multifunctional spaces which have a high traffic flow and need lighting to accommodate. It is best to light up your living room in layers with controls for each fixture to maximize your options. For instance, a large pendant light for ambient lighting, floor lamps for tasks, picture lights for accent lighting and a table lamp for decorative purposes.
Flos’s ‘IC Lights Floor 2 Lamp’ range.
▪ Dining rooms are a gathering spot in the home and for that reason should be welcoming with a sense of warmth. Soft neutral-toned light creates the perfect ambience, as it is bright enough to see and enjoy your meals and warm enough to create comfort. Much like the living room, layering your lighting is ideal in the dining room. A decorative light fixture could even double up as a form of art in the dining room.
Anoli collection by Nuura Lighting via Holloways of Ludlow.
▪ Essentially a kitchen is a workspace. It is a space where you cook, clean, and even entertain. For those reasons, ambient and task lighting are essential. For example, ceiling spotlights and under cabinet strip lighting provide a well-balanced combination, as you have overhead lighting and lighting at a lower level for tasks. Ideally, a cooler-toned light will keep you alert when you are preparing meals.
Alora Lighting’s Salita light fixture
▪ Using bright lights in your bathroom space will ensure that you never miss a spot when getting ready in the morning. If your bathroom is on the smaller side, round globe-style fixtures do a great job at lighting up compact spaces. Remember to always illuminate the key areas in your bathroom, such as shower/bathtub, mirrors, and drawers. Do keep in mind that all lighting in a bathroom needs to be specified for bathrooms and used in the appropriate zone. (These are technical details that a designer or contractor can explain in in-depth for you.)
Astro Lighting’s Anton light fixture
▪ Many of us treat our bedrooms as a space for rest, therefore a relaxed atmosphere is a holy grail. Illuminating your bedroom with dimmable, soft, ambient lighting is perfect for unwinding and helping you fall asleep. If you are a night-time reader, invest in a bedside lamp fitted with a neutral tone or soft blue light; the coolness creates a contrast with the pages of books making it easier to read.
TwentyTwentyOne’s Alega table lamp.
And finally, how do you find the perfect light bulb for your space?
The Lighting Design Studio experts recommend:
▪ Figure out the life cycle of a product. When sourcing a light bulb for your home, be sure to note down the number of lamp hours a product has (This information can be found on the packaging of your bulb’s box and is often seen next to the letter ‘h’). Lamp hours refer to how long the bulb will last; typically, an LED bulb will last over 50k hours, so in theory, it could last 30+ years
Opus bulb packaging identifies the average lifetime lamp hours the product has.Photo source: https://www.thelightbulb.co.uk/resources/light_bulb_average_rated_life_time_hours/
▪ Invest in a good quality bulb.
When it comes to illuminating a space, investing in quality bulbs are worth it. Cheaper bulbs will not have good colour rendering or consistency. SORAA’s product collection retail for around £20-25 and provide long-lasting quality.
SORAA’s healthy light bulb range provides optimal lighting solutions.
▪ Tunable is the way forward!
Tunable-white lighting adds flexibility to your space. With tunable-white bulbs and products, you have the control of changing the mood of your space from warm to cool (and vice versa) with just the touch of a button.
Calex offers a selection of tunable bulbs that also calibrate with smart technology devices.
We hope this in-depth discussion has helped you to create a space which shines.
Thank you to Lighting Design Studio for sharing their wealth of knowledge exclusively with our readers.
Visit their website here to find out how the award-winning firm can help brighten up your home.
by Keleisha Simpson