Creating a lighting scheme that is not only stylish but practical can be tricky as it is key to strike a balance between ambience and function. In order to ensure you have everything you need to create a beautiful yet functional lighting scheme as well as plenty of lighting ideas, we have teamed up with world famous brand Flos for their top lighting tips and tricks.
01.Make an assessment
One of the most important factors when choosing lighting for a room is to consider how much natural light the space gets. Natural light is always the best light source for accentuating colours, finishes and artwork, as well as any architectural features in your home. It is also important to assess how the space is used and how this will impact upon the lighting required, for example, in a kitchen good light levels are required on work surfaces. Once you have made your assessment of the natural light and use of the space, you can consider how to introduce artificial light.
The colours and finishes present in a room will have a major impact on how light works in a space. A dark, matt finish such as a chalky paint or carpeting are absorbent and will significantly reduce the amount of light being inter-reflected in a space. Conversely, in an environment, such as a kitchen with white glossy units or a bathroom with polished tiles and stainless steel, you may require less light due to the reflective properties of the materials present.
03.Make a statement
Choose statement light that adds drama to a space and puts your style stamp on a room – think striking pendant lights, large floor lamps and architecturally inspired shapes and contours. Pendant lights are perfect for creating a feeling of intimacy, especially over a dining table or entertaining space, while architectural pieces that use longer suspension cables, draw the eye down and help to connect the finishes in your room.
04.Add an accent
Incorporate accent lighting into a space as a means of lighting the way or to highlight specific architectural features or decorative aspects of your space. Try using an uplighter to highlight beautiful cornice detailing or low-level wall lighting on steps or in the hallway to illuminate the path through your home.
Once you have selected statement pieces that reflect the personality of the space, you can supplement them with practical lighting where necessary. Add downlights, spotlights or linear strip lighting where needed to ensure there is enough working light in areas in which practical tasks are carried out, such as the kitchen or study, but beware of over-lighting your space.
Consider free-standing lighting such as floor or table lamps that give an interior flexibility and create a cosy, homely feel. Free-standing lighting is also excellent for practical lighting at a low level, for example as reading lights next to armchairs.
07.Switching & dimming
Think carefully about how your space is going to be used before you decide whether dimming is required. For example, in a bedroom where you might have a pendant or downlights as well as table lamps next to the bed, you probably don’t need the lighting to be dimmable. The general lighting provides practical illumination while the bedside lamps will create a cosy ambience. Dimmable lighting is best saved for the entertaining spaces where it can be used to set the mood, such as the living room or dining room.
08.Less is more
As a general rule, most people over-light their spaces and use too many downlights. It’s best to start with the pieces that create drama and then only add extra lighting where it’s necessary. Remember, too much light in a space can wash out colours and finishes and make it look bland. The key to good lighting is contrast, create highlights and lowlights to form focal points. Lastly, by not over-lighting a space, you will create a lower cost and energy efficient solution.
FLOS' rules to light by
- Never put downlights directly over a bed or bath as they will shine in your eyes when lying down.
- Always choose IP44 rated fixtures in the bathroom (IP65 over a shower head) to protect them from moisture and make them last longer.
- Always use good quality LED bulbs in your fittings for improved colour of light and energy efficiency.
- When replacing an energy saver or LED bulb, always check you have selected the correct light colour. For residential use, most people choose warm white, also described as 2700k/3000k or shown as 827/830 on the box.