If you watch TV in the living room, choose the surrounding lights carefully to avoid television glare. It can be distracting to have a bright overhead light above or in front of a TV set, so ensure ceiling lights are dimmable, or use offset wall sconces or floor lamps instead.
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In a kitchen, it’s important to have enough general lighting. A single overhead pendant can work in a small room, but it’s even better when supplemented by pot lights or track lighting; here of all places, it’s important to see what you’re doing and avoid eye strain.
(Image credit: Scott & Kristan’s Inspiring Arts District Loft)
At first glance, the bedroom seems the least important room in the home, in terms of lighting. After all, we’re not really working in there much (unless it doubles as an office), and the primary goal of the space is to support sleep— which requires an intentional lack of light.
Specific task lighting, such as reading lamps, are important if you read frequently, have low levels of natural light, and especially if you ever work in your living room. A floor lamp spaced between two armchairs can also count as task lighting, as conversation is a task, too (at least in living room terms).
Last week I talked about properly lighting a living room, and today I’m going to tackle the kitchen, with the same end goal in mind: to have a fully functional space with sufficient amounts of general, task and accent lighting.
In the bedroom, accent lighting is really mood lighting. Whether it’s to create a romantic atmosphere or just to support relaxation in the evening, a cosy glow in this room never hurts. It can be achieved through simple dimming of the light sources we’ve already talked about, or by adding decorative lights like fairy strings, corner up-lighters or candles.
Low-level table lamps and floor lamps help to create a cozy atmosphere in the living room, especially at night. Evenly space these throughout the room, usually toward the walls, to create an even, warm glow that bounces inwards. Think creatively about this type of lighting: groups of candles even fairy lights count.
Unless you have a desk or office space in the bedroom, there is a limit to how much work you’ll be doing there. But for those of us who read in bed, a good bedside lamp is a necessity. Don’t be restricted to desk-style reading lights; a low-hanging pendant like the one above works, too. Think of the other things you do from day to day— do you apply your makeup or iron your shirts in the bedroom? Both require good, specific lighting. Wall sconces, floor lamps and directional spot lights are your friends.
Task lighting in the kitchen primarily translates into having sufficient lighting on work surfaces, at a low enough level to be useful. Under-counter spotlights or tracks are tried and true, but with the current trend toward fewer upper cabinets and a more open-looking space, you’ve got to get creative. Wall-mounted desk-style lights are a fun and practical option, as is a row of smaller, low-hanging pendants along a countertop.
Once you start thinking about it, though, you realize the lighting needs of a bedroom— from general lighting for putting the laundry away to task lighting for doing your makeup and accent lighting for chilling out of an evening— are pretty complex. A bedroom lighting scheme should be as considered as that of any other room, so read on for a few tips on doing just that.
Not all homes have a ceiling fitting in the living room, and if you have lots of natural light during the day, you might not need overhead light at all. But if you have the fitting, a central pendant or chandelier helps to zone the space and create a focus. Similarly, potlights or angled spotlights will create a even layer of overhead lighting. In the absence of any overhead lights, a large, arced floor lamp will do the trick.
How to Properly Light a Living Room How to Properly Light a Kitchen
Accent lighting in the kitchen is primarily used to highlight the architectural features of the space and is often decorative; for example, internal lighting within glass-fronted cupboards, LED strip lighting along the base of an island, or a wall-hung neon sign saying “EAT.” This type of lighting in inviting and enhances the ambiance of the space, particularly at night or when the other lighting types aren’t in use.
The kitchen: it’s the laboratory of the home, where we “work” to create meals for ourselves and those we live with. Conversely, it’s also often the social hub of the home, where friends gather at parties or even where you might like to hang out solo, just reading a book or listening to the radio. With these dual purposes in mind, it’s often tricky to strike the right lighting balance. Here’s how to get it right:
Here at Apartment Therapy we’re big fans of considered lighting, and the way doing it right can completely change the look and feel of a space. It’s particularly important in the living room, where we often spend quite a bit of time. However it’s a tricky space to strike the right lighting balance, thanks to the many different functions the living room serves. Read on for some tips:
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Keep in mind that when you have a central island in your kitchen, the lighting above it will need to contribute to at least two, if not all of these lighting types. It is general lighting because it’s in the center of the room, task if you use the island as a workspace, and accent if you gather around it as a social hub when not working. One large attractive pendent, or a group of smaller ones, should cover all bases if hung at the right level and is dimmable.
The first step when lighting any room is to ask yourself: what happens here? Different activities require different types and levels of light. A well-lit living room will have three different types of lighting: general, task and accent. These are used at different times of day and for different purposes, and key to a functional lighting scheme it to know how and when to mix and use them.
A good even light, cast from a central pendant or from windows (natural light from windows or skylights counts as general lighting!), is important in every space. Even if you don’t spend a lot of non-sleeping time in your bedroom, this basic light is what we get dressed by in the winter, clean the room to, and helps us see when natural light is low. However, you probably don’t want this space to be too bright, so consider a lower-watt bulb and the all-important dimmer switch.