The functionality of lighting a room has transformed well beyond its original purpose of letting us do things inside the home once the sun sets. Your lighting choice is as much of an expression within your home as it is a functional accessory and necessity. Lighting now has so many more strings attached; it’s not just about making sure you can see one step ahead, lighting is chosen based on energy efficiency, the mood and ambiance you’re after and can even become a statement of design within your home.
Why is the right Lighting Important?
Lighting in homes consumes 8–15% of the average household electricity budget, but the more efficient and well-designed light choices can result in savings, a definite bonus. It’s important to take advantage of both artificial and natural light. Both have their advantages and disadvantages and choosing the right one for the right space is a little choice that can make a big difference within your home.
Different types of light
Wherever possible, maximise the amount of natural light filtering through windows. If the window has curtains, make sure these can be fully opened and not sitting over the window itself when supposedly open to capacity. I often suggest extra-long curtain rails (and extra wide curtains) which means they can sit outside the window frame when they are open.
Can you install a skylight somewhere? This can be an expensive exercise, but if natural light is lacking this could be a god-send. Maybe you could add a window or two – or even increase the size of some you already have. Again, this can be expensive, but I would rather someone spend a bit of their budget on drawing in more natural light than beautifully renovating a dark and dingy space!
Use reflective surfaces and lighter colours in your interior design to bounce the light and add to the feeling of space. However, you can always have too much of a good thing and it’s not advised to go too bright on white; it could end up a little stark.
With regards to artificial lighting; Find a balance of ceiling lighting and free-standing lighting; the latter being especially effective in creating mood and ambiance within a space.
Don’t distress if you’re in the dark on what lighting to choose for your home, understandably different rooms need different light. The incandescent bulb is being phased out, with quality LEDs and fluorescents an excellent and efficient choice. Halogens typically use between 4 to 20 times more energy than alternatives.