As discussed last week, there are three types of lighting, namely ambient (or general lighting), task lighting and accent lighting. I also mentioned that lighting should be layered and you therefore need different types of light fixtures. But which works best for each type of lighting while also suiting your interior decorating style?
Lets start by looking at downlights. I think this is the most popular lighting fixture as is not only versatile but can even sometimes be used in all three lighting types. In essence a downlight is a light that has been recessed into a ceiling and that throws light downwards in a narrow beam. The visible part of the downlight, called the trim, are available in a variety of finishes, which allows you to coordinate the downlight with your décor.
A downlight can be installed just about anywhere – from living areas, bedrooms, bathrooms, kitchens, and even underneath benches and cabinetry. Remember that enough space is needed for the actual housing unit of the fixture. If a downlights is used in a “wet” area, such as above the shower, make sure that the fixture and bulb is manufactured to withstand moisture. Some downlights are also adjustable allowing you to redirected and move the spotlight around.
From the above it is clear that downlights are perfect for ambient lighting as they can be placed in such a way to light up the whole room and if a dimmer is added, it can add to the mood of the room. They are also great as task lighting in areas where bright light is required, e.g. over a kitchen work surface. And adjustable downlights they can be used successfully as accent lighting (e.g. focus one in a room on a painting on the wall).Downlights suit all types of homes and blend in effortlessly, allowing you to change your decor without having to go to change the lights as well.
Pendant light fixtures have become a very popular over the last couple of years. Suitable pendant lights are available for all interior décor styles. Lets look at a few important guidelines to consider when selecting and hanging these lights. Pendant lights are great not only for lighting an area, but also to add interest and drama in a room. A beautiful light can become a focal point in its own right.
When hanging a pendant light over a table, the recommended height would be 70 – 80cm above a table depending on fixture size and ceiling height. When selecting the fixture, take into consideration whether the fixture should provide task and/or ambient light and make sure that the light meets the required needs. A large drum pendant, placed on a dimmer will provide brighter light for any tasks done at the table and softer light while dining. The size of the pendant should be considered in comparison to the size and shape of the table. Therefore multiple pendants above a rectangular table will provide effective lighting as well as being aesthetically pleasing. Hang the pendants slightly lower than in the previous example in order to look appropriate. Pendant lights of various sized and shapes hung at different heights can add a very interesting décor element.
Pendant lights hung over a kitchen counter is probably the most popular place to hang pendant lights. They provide great task lighting while also adding to the design and décor of the kitchen. In this case the pendant is usually hung 70 to 85cm above the countertop, or 180cm above the floor. Remember that when hanging pendants above an island it should be high enough so that while standing you do not stare directly into the lights. Therefore the height of the homeowners should also be considered.
When hung in the middle of a room over a piece of furniture (e.g. a coffee table or bed), the pendant light can hang lower to create a functional yet dramatic look without someone walking into the fixture. If this is done in a bedroom or family room, remember to not block the view on for instance the television.
You might also have noticed the use of pendant lights used next to a bed instead of table lamps. This is a useful way to provide great task lighting while saving space on the bedside table and adding style to the room. The height of the bed should be considered when deciding on the height of the pendant.
A pendant light can work well as a task light for a reading corner, but remember that is will be difficult to move the room around once the light has been installed.
A pendant light hung in an entry or hallway can add to the beauty and ambience of the room while simultaneously providing light. Remember to not hang the light too high, especially if the ceiling is very high, otherwise you will loose the decorative effect of the fixture as well as a lot of actual lighting. When hung in an open area (e.g. entry, hallway, stairway and corridor), the fixture should clear the head of a tall person with at least 45 to 60cm.
Different types of light bulb are available on the market. Most commonly used light bulb is the halogen bulb, but CFL (compact fluorescent light) and LED (light-emitting diode) bulbs are becoming more popular as they are more energy efficient. Ask the supplier for guidance as to which options work with the fixture selected. Depending on the type of fixture and bulb used, the light may be dimmable, which makes it more versatile as it not only provide lighting, but will add to the mood of a room.
There are two main choices when selecting bulb colours, namely cool white and warm white. These two different types can add to the atmosphere of a room. There are no set rules and the choice is about personal preference and use. If you like the traditional yellowish colour of a conventional lamp then warm white would be the ideal option. This is also the most popular choice for homes. For a modern, clean look, you may prefer the cleaner, brighter feel of a cool white lamp.
Next week we will explore other lighting fixture. Looking forward….
[Images selected from the Internet]