How far up the pecking order does lighting come on your list of interior priorities? When we’re decorating a room it’s natural to become obsessed with almost-identical-yet-wildly-different paint samples, or to prioritise upholstery fabrics and colours, but it can make a significant difference to be able to make these decisions when you understand the lighting you’re working with. A room’s lighting is the key piece that ties everything together, moving us seamlessly from day to night and balancing our interior choices rather than battling with them. With that in mind, we’ve pulled together some nifty little hints and tips to help with your next lighting change, no matter how big or small:
What time of day do you use the room? If you know you’re working with a room that gets most use in the morning, you could have an opportunity to be a little more decorative with your lighting, whereas if the room is used at all times of day you’ll need to think about the lighting’s function as well at its aesthetic. Most importantly, consider how these timings might change throughout the year – a dining room filled with natural light throughout summer will tell a very different story during winter.
Following that, we then want to think about the purpose of the room. In a home office environment, it’s often better to work with bright, cool lighting which aids with focus – the same goes for the kitchen where our lighting needs to work with the task at hand. Poor lighting can make you drowsy, so in productive rooms your ambient lighting (which is concerned with more general, functional illumination) should have a nice even layer throughout.
Next, consider the theme of the space. If you’re going for an industrial look in a big open plan space, it may be better to nod to this in your decorative lighting if you’d like to work with industrial-style Edison bulbs which typically aren’t too bright. If your room has more of a relaxed, boho feel, you can look to bring some texture into your lighting to play to the aesthetic the space is working with.
When it comes to the bulb brightness and colour, we’re measuring two things – lumens and kelvins. The lumens are a measurement of brightness, so the higher the lumens the brighter the bulb. As a rough guide, a fair-sized living room would require around 1,500 – 3,000 lumens in total (made up of a number of bulbs). Kelvins, on the other hand, measure the colour temperature of the bulb. Generally, the higher the Kelvins the cooler the light. For example, around 1000k is considered to be a warm candlelight temperature, whereas around 5,000k would be more akin to midday direct sunlight. Around 2,500k to 3,600k is considered a good spectrum for household lighting. That’s the numbers stuff out the way!
Once you’ve decided on your core, ambient lighting, you can then layer in decorative lighting such as table lamps, pendants and floor lamps to highlight key areas of the room. Consider the placements of additional lighting – too close to a source of natural daylight and you may not get full use, or if you have lighting in your eyeline when watching TV it may become distracting rather than complimentary. Also think about where you sit in the room – do you have a favourite armchair to curl up with a book that needs good lighting? The key thing is to begin with your statement lighting and then build any other lighting around it.
Feeling inspired to switch up your space? Have a peek at our collection of spring lighting.