How To Improve Your Home Lighting (Designer’s Tips)
by Michael Hou | Date: 5th April, 2022
In our basic understanding, the lights in the home are there to help us see things clearly. It’s something that we use daily without giving it much thought. But they’re just more than that! Good lighting can make a home more attractive and welcoming. It changes the mood, sets the ambiance, and adds character to the places like living and dining rooms or bathrooms and kitchens, particularly in open-concept spaces.
Lighting choices can make or break a room’s design and mood. And if our home is not with enough lighting, the poor illumination can make our life harder. You may find it hard to read or play games and it slows your day’s work as much either if your desk is not well lighted.
If your home’s lighting is looking less than brilliant and you want to improve the look and feel of it, putting some extra effort into your lighting design can make a dramatic difference in the home’s usability and aesthetic. And you can do it all by yourself without having to hire an electrician.
Read on and see how to improve your home lighting to high end.
In a family, the first space that needs lighting is the living room.
So, how to make good living room lighting? Let’s take a look at the living room layout.
This is a floor plan of a regular living room. Among them are the entrance hallway, the leisure area with sofa and coffee table, plus the space for placing the TV and the wall area for hanging decorative paintings.
As shown in the picture above, many house owners use a ceiling lamp or flush-mounted light to illuminate the entire living room space. In most cases, the light works fine and it gives off enough illumination if you use the right wattage and lumen.
But that doesn’t mean that it’s enough to only have a ceiling lighting mounted in the living room. Why? Because all the designs include lighting, are not designed for a certain space, but for the purpose of the owner.
Therefore, if you’re planning to add lighting to the space, you should have a clear understanding of “what will you do in the living room?”.
Different owners will have different answers to what they will do in the living room. For instance, you may just want to sit there and enjoy the absence of mind, or maybe simply lie on the sofa to take some rest, or watch TV and play with your kids, or you prefer reading in the living room.
These scenarios can be taken into consideration when you’re installing living room lighting. And you can plan the lighting layout as per the above intended purpose.
Let’s divide the living room into 5 separate spaces, and then you can layer the lighting accordingly based on these spaces.
1. Focal area
Undoubtedly, no matter what kind of themes you intend to create for the living room, general lighting is indispensable. When it comes to the living room lighting, we recommend the lamp possess a shape or design that is distributing down light, to meet the illumination requirement of the focal area.
This focal area focuses on functional lighting.
2. Fringe area
As for the fringe area in the living room, like the walls that are hanging with the decorative paintings, you can use track rail spotlights to provide accent light. These spotlights are angle-adjustable and offer a narrow beam angle, in the meanwhile, they can also provide indirect lighting for nearby spaces. When you have friends or guests come over, you can turn on these spotlights and they show a welcoming ambiance.
3. TV Wall
In the TV wall area, you can use some indirect lighting such as LED light strips or portable table lamps. These indirect lightings are less bright than direct lighting, but they emit a more gentle and even light. In this soft light ambiance, people will be more relaxed and feel cozier. And it creates a lighting effect that is suitable for watching TV or in a daze.
The purpose of these indirect lighting is used to give off subdued light with invisible lighting fixtures.
4. Room Corner
If you feel the corner of the room is dim when watching TV, you can add a floor lamp nearby, it makes the living room space tends to be more layered. Meanwhile, this beautiful flood lamp could be a nice addition too! And the floor lamps provide a soft and mild light when you watch TV, it will give your eyes a more comfortable experience.
If you like to read on the sofa, select a floor-type reading light. The reading light illumination plus the indirect lighting from the front creates a very comfortable reading environment.
5. Hallway Entrance Area
As for the entrance area, it’s where we usually change shoes and go in and out, so there needs to be a lamp that can light up the porch, recessed wall light or a stick-on night light could be the solution.
If you want to make a big statement for the dining room, the right lighting can make it everything you want it to be. When referring to dining room lighting, there are two basic requirements: the meal is well lighted and the people around are discernible.
Besides the pendant light above the dining table, add a floor lamp or some kind of up lights, it produces the diffuse lighting together with pendant light so to form a softly lit space. Because our eyes are pretty sensitive to the contrast of light, the greater the contrast, the harder it will be for the eyes to adapt. Therefore, with the addition of the up light, it helps to avoid high contrast situations where the dining table area is bright while the rest is too dark.
The bedroom is a very quiet area with a sensitive light environment. For the bedroom, it can be simply divided into two modes according to our own needs: active mode and sleep mode.
Under the active mode, people usually do the activities such as reading before going to bed or playing with mobile phones. To serve these purposes, we can add some local lighting near the bedside. The local lighting can be floor lamps or bedside wall lamps and bedside table lamps.
Bedroom lighting should set a warm and quiet tone, so we can sleep well in this warm light environment. The primary light hanging in the center of the room can be a chandelier. When selecting a chandelier, the metal parts of the lamp should be in matt finish. To create a peaceful and sleep-friendly atmosphere, the lights don’t have to be too bright, soft light with warm white color is the best.
When you’re falling asleep, now you just need to turn on a small night light. If you wake up at night and nature calls, the night light can give you clear navigation. The night light can be motion sensor type.
Taking a shower while listening to music or watching TV is no longer an uncommon thing. In line with this trend, bathroom lighting is no longer just a milky white glass ball that illuminates the space, but more decorative styles have begun to appear, such as high-performance waterproof spot lamps.
In addition, if you’re putting on makeup in the bathroom, mirror lighting is crucial. In order to make your look in the mirror more beautiful, low-wattage matte incandescent light bulbs are usually installed around the mirror, but this will give a crowded impression, and it will not look ideal when arranging hair. It is recommended to install wall lamps to the left and right of the mirror, in this way, you will see your face is less likely to form unnatural shadows.
The entire bathroom lighting does not need to be too bright. The goal is to make every key part of the bathroom can be fully illuminated.
Kitchen involves so many of our activities and task, such as storing, preparing, and cooking food, and completing related tasks like dishwashing, dining, entertaining, etc. Apparently, a single overhead ceiling lamp can not fulfill all these tasks alone, you will need more lighting helpers. You will need to combine general lighting and task lighting together to create the best layered lighting effect, so the kitchen space is evenly lighted. There are two lighting fixtures that are proved to be the best task lighting to use in the kitchen.
1. LED Cove Lights
If there is enough space in your kitchen ceiling to install LED cove lights or tube lights, perfect! These led cove lights will brighten the ceiling and make the space looks taller and more spacious, in the meantime, they also bring well-distributed light to the space.
You can also use a wall washer light to light up the wall and make the wall looks brighter. The kitchen space will appear to be more spacious.
2. Under Cabinet Lights
Now the entire kitchen environment is well-lit and the room is more spacious, you may think that’s it for the kitchen light. Well, it’s far not enough, we should also consider adding the task lighting to improve the efficiency of all the kitchen’s works. These works are nothing more than cooking, washing, and cutting vegetables, or loading and washing dishes, all of which directly involve fine visual tasks.
Therefore, the sink must be illuminated and so must the worktable. Of all the task lighting used in the kitchen, under cabinet lights are the most popular and versatile. They’re also essential to layer the lighting for your kitchen space. You can learn more about “why under cabinet lighting is required for kitchen?”
Tips: When selecting kitchen lighting, there are two important elements you cannot ignore.
One is the color rendering index (CRI), measured by Ra. According to Wikipedia, CRI is a quantitative measure of the ability of a light source to reveal the colors of various objects faithfully in comparison with a natural or standard light source. The max color rendering index of the light source is 100. The higher the index, the better the color rendering performance and the higher the color reproduction degree of the illuminated object.
In a nutshell, the higher the CRI, the better the lighting effect. So, when selecting the light fixtures, remember to check the CRI, it should be Ra>90, not less than 80, and R9> 50, not less than 20.
Another is color temperature. It’s a description of the warmth and coldness of a light source. For residential lighting, it’s recommended to use warm color or neutral color (3000K – 5000K) in accordance with your personal preference. Cold color is not recommended as it makes the space less comfortable and approachable.
What do you think? I think you might have a brief idea now about how to improve your home lighting. It’s not a difficult task and it may just need you to add a small light or change the lighting position, then you’ll see the differences. So, what are you waiting for? Give it a try and start remodeling your home lighting, you’ll be surprised with the ambiance you made.