Choosing the right lighting is an integral part of the design process. Yes, lights serve an obvious functional role, but lighting can also take a soulless room and turn it into a welcoming oasis. Good lighting design can wrap you up like a blanket – creating a sense of warmth and putting you and your guests at ease.
Whether you’re contemplating down light placement, seeking the perfect dramatic floor lamp or simply trying to lighten up a dull space – these expert tips will help you light up your life on a budget.
There are three types of lighting – ambient, task and accent. Ambient lighting refers to the general lighting of a room – overhead lighting without a particular focal point. Accent lighting is used to draw attention to a particular area or object – a wicker pendant over a dining room table or track lighting illuminating a piece of art. Task lighting refers to lights that have a specific use – a floor lamp in a reading nook or Hollywood lights over a vanity.
If you can combine all three types of lighting in your home, or better yet – in every room, you’ll have a rich and textured lighting design.
Better bulbs mean better bills
Unless you’re willing to go off the grid, electricity is an unavoidable expense. Fortunately, choosing the right bulbs can reduce your quarterly bills whilst simultaneously saving the planet.
The future of affordable and cleaner lighting is LED. These clever little globes have the same lighting output for a fraction of the wattage. They are also available in warm white, cool white and daylight, so you won’t have to choose between your lighting design and saving the planet. Although LED globes are almost twice the price of regular globes, they last 25 times longer.
I love lamp
Lamps are incredible multifunctional design elements. They can be a beautiful accent piece, a practical light in an office or reading nook, and create lush ambient lighting – all while saving you a dollar or two. Lamps themselves are highly affordable depending on where you shop. You can find lovely, classic lamps by high-end designers or budget brands – you decide how much or how little you wish to spend.
Lamplight adds warmth to any room, and when used as your sole source of light of an evening, a lamp creates an unbeatable coziness. By switching off your multiple overhead downlights and turning on one of two lamps, you’ll also inadvertently shrink your electricity bill.
Location, location, location
Lighting placement is vital to creating an efficient and economical lighting plan. If you are in the initial stages of lighting design, it’s essential to have a clear plan of where and how you will use the space in your home and then ensure every light has a purpose. It’s important to note that lighting can be both ambient and task lighting, meaning light can illuminate a space but also have a specific purpose – for example, pendants over a kitchen bench or dining table, or downlights in a sitting area.
Let the sunshine in
The cheapest and loveliest way to light your home is with good old-fashioned sunshine. Luckily, there are considerably more cost-effective ways to harness the power of the sun than installing a couple of skylights.
Replacing opaque curtains with sheer ones will still provide privacy whilst allowing sunlight to filter into the room.
If you’re battling a room with very few, or small windows, a handful of well-placed mirrors can do wonders. Placing a mirror across from the window reflects light around the room – and has the added benefit of making the room appear larger.
Words by Nell Matzen.