We all look better in candlelight, have you ever wondered why? It’s all to do with the way our pupils react to the dimmed light, which is the same as when we are attracted to someone; it’s an involuntary physical response which triggers dilation in the pupils. This is just the tip of the iceberg for the effects of light on our very well-being: our sleep cycles, moods, productivity, decision making, emotions and, of course, our ability to see.
If something is important to our general well-being, how do we get it so wrong in our living and work environments? How do you choose lighting for your home?There is as much worth knowing what not to do, as much as what to do with lighting, and there is a whole design industry built up on tackling the lighting dilemma; whether you want to display your artwork, improve your lighting for kitchen tasks or even swing from the chandeliers!
Mistakes to avoid
Avoid the excessive use of downlights, because they are inexpensive does not mean that they should be installed in a grid system to achieve maximum lighting. Unless they are adjustable, they usually don’t illuminate vertical surfaces successfully.
Never forget the all-important task lighting in kitchens; you do not want to be using sharp knives in dimly lit areas. You may have the option to install lights under the wall cabinets, if not, wall-mounted or ceiling lights do the job just as well.
Never solely use downlights over mirrors. Whilst they are great for illuminating how clean your bathroom is, the light is insufficient for applying make-up and shaving and creates unflattering shadows: use lights at the side of the mirror to distribute light evenly and remove shadows.
Avoid concentrating on one type of lighting for a space: use accent, ambient and task lighting. Most rooms are multi-functional and require lighting to reflect the current usage; for example, in a lounge accent lighting may be used to display artwork but task lighting is required for reading, and ambient lighting for relaxing in.
How to light your home
Use light to make a good first impression and instill a feeling of well-being: nobody likes to be in a gloomy space, it brings the mood down and deadens emotions.
Make sure your choice of lamp is in proportion to the size of the room. There are some beautiful lighting options but an oversized lighting fixture can dwarf the room; conversely, a fixture that is too small in a large space will not provide enough light to be practical and be lost in space. Statement chandeliers can be impressive in a large room, while offering substantial lighting.
For hallways and stairs, it is imperative that they are well lit for safety with switches at both the top and bottom of the stairs. If you have the space for a table and a lamp, this can be an attractive addition.
For rooms that require multiple light sources, install dimmer switches. Dimmer switches allow you to control the light in the room according to the ambiance you wish to create. Recessed lighting is essential for lighting a general area, but you need to have the option to dim them or turn them off to suit your need.