The key to success with any lighting scheme is to ensure that it meets two criteria: it must give light where it is needed, and the effect it produces should enhance the room’s appearance by creating a balanced mixture of light and shadow. The type of light fittings chosen has a major part to play, and so does the positioning of the fittings.
The living room is one of the most difficult areas to light successfully, because of the many different uses to which the room is put. The aim should be to provide background lighting that can be bright or dim according to the mood of the moment, and then to add separately controllable feature lighting to highlight the room’s focal points, and local task lighting where required. The accent is on flexibility. Choosing fittings in keeping with the style of the room will help to ensure that its lighting looks good by day or night.
The dining room has slightly different needs. The main requirement is a table that is well lit without glare, which you can achieve with a rise and Wl fitting or carefully targeted down lighters. The background lighting should be subdued, preferably under dimmer control, note that fluorescent lights cannot be easily dimmed. Additional lighting from wall lights or wall washers can be used to illuminate the serving and carving area, and up lighters for dramatic effect.
Bedroom lighting requires a combination of restful background lighting and easily controllable local lighting to cover separate activities including dressing and undressing, applying make-up, reading in bed, or perhaps watching television.
Background lighting can he provided by wall lights, by table lamps on bedside tables, by recessed down lighters or, very appropriately for bedrooms, by the wall or ceiling mounted fittings known as up lighters, which throw light on to the ceiling and completely conceal the lamp when viewed from below. The general light level can be lower than for the living room, as long as the task lighting does its job. Bright, glare free lighting is needed at a dressing table and light from to check clothes.
Bedside reading lights should be directional, so that they illuminate the page adequately but do not disturb a sleeping partner. Lastly, make full use of two-way switching so dint lights can be turned on and off without having to get out of bed. Again, choose light fittings to complement the room’s décor and color scheme.
Children’s bedrooms, especially nurseries, have some slightly different requirements. Good task lighting is essential for jobs such as changing or dressing a baby, and young children will want a higher overall lighting level than that in an adult’s room when playing. They may also need a low wattage night light for comfort and safety. Finally, older children will want portable task lighting for activities such as hobbies and homework.