If you have ever entered a perfectly decorated room where every piece of furniture is at its place and every color is just right, but felt like there is something off? It wasn’t something you can put your finger on, just it didn’t feel right. That could easily be the lighting, since it has a huge impact on the overall appearance of the room, while most of the times the only things we notice are the fixtures and how they fit in into the design. Lighting is so important that it is better left to interior designers, but if you are tackling this task alone, everything you need to know to succeed is what mistakes to avoid.
Don’t Install Recessed Downlights Everywhere
This is one of the most common mistakes interior designers spot. Laying out the can lights in a regular grid cannot get light everywhere, since only half the lumen output escapes outside. Additionally, can lights don’t put sufficient light on vertical surfaces, and this is where the eye actually perceives light. The bottom line is that if you put an array of can lights, your room will still be too dark and you’ll be spending much more energy than you should.
Kitchen is the room where actual work gets done, and it requires much more light than, for example, bedroom. Furthermore, that work is done in specific parts of the kitchen, such as countertop. Installing fluorescent or LED task lights under the upper cabinets will make the kitchen lighting more layered and clearer.
Add Lights on the Side of the Vanity Too
People usually install downlights over the vanity, which results in unflattering and exaggerated shadows on the face when looking at the mirror. The downlights are sufficient for accentuating architectural features such as sink or faucet, but they are not enough for more demanding tasks, such as putting on makeup, tweezing, etc. To get the most functional and cost-effective lighting install quality LED downlights over and on the side of the vanity.
Don’t use Incandescent or Halogen Sources without Dimming
Although the most environmentally responsible thing to do would be to get rid of all the incandescent and halogen bulbs, they can still be a solid and viable part of the house’s lighting, but only if they’re dimmable. Dimmed lights use less energy and produce less heat.
Incorporate Three Layers of Lighting
Every room should incorporate three layers of lighting: ambient, task and accent. Ambient is the prevailing lighting for walking and identifying objects. Task lights provide lighting focused on specific tasks, such as reading and eating. Accent light is used to emphasize architectural features or artwork. By combining the three layers you are making the space more functional and appealing.
Control Different Types of Lighting Separately
If you have different types of light (LED, incandescent, halogen, CFLs…) in your home, you should control them separately for maximum efficiency. You can do that with different lights switches or with programmable wallbox systems and wireless control.
Don’t Put Downlights in High Ceilings
Recessed downlights in high ceilings serve no purpose at all. The light won’t be able to reach the room and you’ll eventually waste energy. Lights in high ceilings should have a focused tight beam spread with enough candlepower. High voltage halogen source or wall mounted pendant lights would perform best in such room.
Think of Lighting as a Dimension rather than Decoration
Some lighting fixtures are nicer than others. Sure Victorian-era chandelier looks much better than tubular fluorescent lamp, but if you really want to achieve the perfect ambiance in your home, you have to choose fixtures based on their light output, instead of their looks.
If you steer away from the mentioned mistakes, you can light your home like a professional interior designer. Just try to find the most energy-efficient solution.
Article written by Lillian Connors. If one thing is true about Lillian Connors, her mind is utterly curious. That’s why she can’t resist the urge to embark on a myriad of home improvement projects and spread the word about them. As the Co-Editor at SmoothDecorator, she cherishes the notion that sustainable housing and gardening will not only make us far less dependent on others regarding the dwellings we inhabit and what we eat, but also contribute to our planet being a better place to live on. You can check her out on Twitter and LinkedIn.