You may have understood that lighting up your home to create that soothing, elegant look will require a little more sophistication than just sticking a light bulb on a ceiling. Home lighting design requires a working understanding of the basics of light beam physics, contrast, colour, and emphasis. So, if you want to make your house look its brilliant best, and don’t have a definite understanding on how to buy lights, you’ll love reading this post. We have curated some creative lighting ideas that will brighten up your home, not just functionally, but also aesthetically. Even so, first, you need to know the 4 types of indoor lighting that can layer your home.
The Types of Indoor Lighting
This type of lighting concerns itself with the general lighting of a room. It is a type of lighting that provides most of the light in a room so as to help people orient themselves. The best examples of this type of lighting are recessed lights and large overhead fixtures like chandeliers, flush mount ceiling lights, and pendant lights.
This type of lighting concerns itself with lighting a specific area of a room that is used for specialized tasks. These areas can be a study table, bed table, a dining table, a seating area where guests convene, etc. Gooseneck lamps, table lamps, swing arm lamps, spot lights, pendant lamps, and even recessed lights are examples of this type of lighting.
This type of directional lighting concerns itself with focusing on an accent, object, or architectural feature of the room. They can be cove lights, spot lights, side lights, wall lights, track lighting, uplighting floor lights, or wall sconces used to highlight paintings, plants, sculptures, fireplaces, etc. Halogen sources are often used.
This type of lighting puts the focus on itself by virtue of design, material, etc. They are well-designed, artistic lights such as chandeliers, torchères, sculptural sconces, pendant lights, paper ball lamps, lanterns, and specialized decorative ceiling lights, etc. They are usually fixed in living rooms and bedrooms.
Now that you’ve understood these basics, here are 7 great ideas on how to use them:
Creating a Focal Point with Decorative Lights
Decorative lights like chandeliers, flush mount lights, pendant lights, torchères, sculptural sconces, and paper ball lamp shades can create focal points in your rooms, if you place them wisely. A focal point can be a lounge area, a dining table, a family painting/photo frame, etc. When you place an exquisite chandelier over a space, it automatically renders that space important, leading people to orient themselves around it. The most common example of this is placing a chandelier directly over a lounge area with sofas and a central sofa table. Homeowners place it over the table to center the space, and that is where guests and friends end up socializing most. If you have a regular ceiling of 9 feet, then a flush mount ceiling light would be reasonable for ambient lighting. If you have a higher ceiling, then a large chandelier will be more appropriate.
Downlighting refers to the placing high-level or ceiling light fixtures that beam light downwards at a sharp angle. They can be recessed can lights, spot lights, gooseneck lamps, track lighting, downturned lampshades, or decorative ceiling lights incorporated into a working ceiling light design. This method can refer to both accent lighting and task lighting. The lights can be directed onto accents, objects, architectural features, and paintings, or they can be directed on areas of specialized tasks, such as a kitchen table, dinner table, wash basin, reading seat, or study table.
Uplighting refers to the placing of low-level or floor light fixtures that beam light upwards at a sharp angle. These are often placed in large rooms, passageways, and outdoor pathways. They can frame the entrance to the house, highlight plants and small trees, or give emphasis to a wall, painting, and an architectural feature (like a column or pillar)—and they can also eliminate ceiling lights if you desire, leaving the ceiling free for other types of ornamental design. Their effect creates large shadows and adds depth to the room. This type of accent lighting can be created with spot lights, halogen lights, wall sconces, etc. When you use uplighting in unison with downlighting, it can create some of the best effects ever. Some lighting fixtures can create both effects, so as to make your life easier!
Mantel lighting refers to accent lighting that puts emphasis on mantels in the bedroom or living room. They can include pointing a light fixture to figurines, sculptures, trophies, or even toys. You can use puck lights, string lights, or small spot lights for the same.
Grazing & Washing
“Grazing” refers to the beaming of light at a sharp angle, on a rough textured wall. The sharp angle enables the light to lightly “graze” the wall, thus highlighting its rougher features. This is a great accent lighting method to use on exposed brick walls, stone walls, and stucco walls. This can also be used for photo frames and paintings. “Washing” refers to the beaming of light at a wider angle, usually on a smooth wall. The wide angle enables the light to “wash” over the whole wall generously, thus emphasizing its smooth features. This is another great accent lighting method to use on smooth, monochromatic walls and paintings.
Silhouetting an Objet d’Art, Sculpture, or Plants
This requires placing a light behind these objects instead of having the light fall on the object to exhibit it. The effect will leave a silhouette of the object, which lends to the dramatic effect in the room or rooms. This can be achieved by placing a light behind the object, with the beam of light projecting diagonally outwards. It’s a beautiful method of accent lighting, to frame an entryway or passageway, or to highlight some object in the corner of a large room, balcony, or garden.
Cove lighting refers to light fixtures that are hidden behind a ledge, recess, or vacance, that is at ceiling or just below ceiling level. This is a method of both ambient and accent lighting, that diffuses light over the ceiling and down on the walls, creating a soft layering effect. It can emphasize beautiful architectural features on the walls or ceiling.
These are timeless, fundamental ideas of interior lighting design. Bad lighting can make all your hard-bought home decor, furniture, and artwork lose charm. But hopefully these ideas will keep you ready to solve any difficulty, when you buy lights. The future is bright!