In their efforts to create the perfect home, many people forget one of the most important aspects: the lighting. The right lighting can set a tone that says “Relax now. It’s almost time for bed” or “Time to get some work done.”
Lighting changes the way you feel about a space, and we all want a space that’s uniquely ours. We’ve come up with a few things that you should think about as you choose the right lighting for your home.
What’s the Purpose of the Light?
The light in a room should have some meaning that goes beyond simply brightening up the space. Most rooms have at least one major light that sets the ambience of the room. In the bedroom, you might want low lights for relaxing, but in the kitchen, you want a bright space so you can see what you’re doing.
Bathrooms sometimes need a variety of lighting styles: you want ample light for applying makeup, but something more subtle when you want to relax in your soaker tub.
You may also want a few extra lights in a room such as an office – either from lamps or from track lighting in the ceiling. For instance, a desk lamp can help you see your work, and a light next to your favourite chair is great for reading a book. Sometimes, the lighting is more decorative than functional. You’ll see this in the types of lights that go under the cabinets to create a glow in the kitchen or with special lights aimed directly at pieces of art you want to highlight.
How Will Lights Fit in the Room?
You might even need to think about how the installed lights will fit with the way you plan to arrange furniture in the room. For instance, if you’re thinking about having a chandelier hanging over the dining room table, you should select a chandelier that matches your decor. Larger tables need a larger lamp, and if you’re planning to put the table in an off-centre location, a central chandelier might not be the best choice.
Another area you’ll want to consider furniture placement is the master bedroom. For instance, if you’re using wall lamps instead of bedside table lamps, you’ll want to let your builder know where you plan to put your bed so the lighting is placed correctly.
Should You Install Overhead Fixtures?
Many rooms do well with a single overhead light in the centre of the room, including living rooms, bedrooms, and playrooms. As we mentioned, one place where you might want to consider a different style of lighting is the kitchen.
Overhead lights tend to illuminate a limited area, whereas track lighting, is designed to give light to every little space. This makes it easier to see what you’re doing when you prep food no matter which part of the kitchen you’re standing in.
What About Brightness and Tone?
Surprisingly, there’s a lot more variety in light bulbs than you may have realized. Bulbs that have higher wattage ratings are brighter. You may prefer lower wattages in rooms like the nursery or bedroom. You’ll also find that some light bulbs have a cool, natural, or warm tone to them. You really need to see the difference in person, so explore the options with your builder.
How Can You Save Money with Lighting?
If you’re building a new home, you are in a unique position to start saving on your energy costs. LED and CFL lights are significantly less expensive to run than the old incandescent type, and they last longer (a single bulb can last as long as 10 years). LEDs work best when you need direct light, while CFLs provide a more diffused light. Even if you’re not in the process of selecting lights for a new home, you can replace the bulbs in your existing one to take advantage of the cost savings. If you want to save even more on your power bill, take a look at our guide to 7 Worthwhile Green Home Upgrades.
The lighting in your home sets the mood. How do you want your home to feel? When you know the answer to these questions, you’ll find it’s easier to select lighting that fits your needs. If you’re still not sure which style is right for you, your builder can help you make the right decision.