While natural light can offer any room an inimitable glow, we can’t rely on it all the time. Picking out proper lighting can help you make the most of your home’s potential and make it work for you—whether you’re looking for something functional that can help you accomplish home office tasks, or setting the mood for an intimate dinner party or a relaxing girls’ night in.Ambient light.
With large windows and proper orientation, available daylight can get you through most tasks throughout the day and shave off a considerable amount from your electric bill. However, it’s also necessary to supplement ambient (or available) light.
Wall sconces, paper lanterns and chandeliers can easily provide a room with a wash of light that mimics what natural lighting can offer. Without casting any harsh shadows on your space’s surfaces, ambient light can enable you to move around like you would during the daytime.
*TIP: Hidden, indirect lighting provided by soffits and sconces can minimize glare and maximize the reach of your fixtures.
*TIP: You can help up the ambient light potential of your room by painting or covering your walls, flooring and ceiling finishes in a light color.
*TIP: Spacing out ambient lighting fixtures on regular intervals creates a more even illumination throughout any room.
Many activities require a concentrated stream of light flowing to a specific area. The kitchen, for example, needs to be brightly lit, while a table lamp will work on the desk of your kids to help them get through homework without straining their eyes. Finding the most ideal position for your task light is important so no shadows are cast over your workspace. In most cases, having your lamp directly in front of you instead of over you can eliminate any problems.
*TIP: Lighting attachments inside deep cabinets, pantries and drawers are not a necessity, but can help you save time finding what you’re looking for.
If you have a specific painting you’d like to showcase or a collection of small antiques you’d like to highlight, your go-to fixtures would typically be halogen spotlights or table lamps with opaque shades that direct illumination to a specific point.
While task lighting focuses on enabling you to get the job done, accent lighting is purely for decorative purposes and may provide a more intense level of heat and illumination. Survey your home for interesting architectural features—a classic archway, an old brick surface or an intricate niche may be perfect for this type of lighting.
*TIP: Be wary about leaving your accent lighting on and placing them in areas where people often sit. Accent lights are typically stronger and can generate an intense amount of heat in a short period of time, making it uncomfortable for anyone sitting close by.
*TIP: Go Green. Lighting may put a dent on your electricity bill, but many options are now available that take a kinder approach to the environment into consideration. LED Lighting may be more expensive, but provide stronger and more efficient illumination than regular halogen bulbs. CFL is also a great option for lights that can be left on for a long period of time.
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Chinggay Labrador is a freelance writer and stylist, contributing articles on beauty, lifestyle and design to local magazines. Her background in architecture has her profiling trends and homes throughout the region. A travel junkie who likes to frequent Japan and Korea, Chinggay is the former editor-in-chief of Sparkling, a quarterly K-Pop publication and is also the author of “Popped and Popped, Too,” books based on the fun, frivolity and friendship centered on Korean Pop music.
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