A Guide To Choosing The Best Lighting For Your Home

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The right lighting brings ease and comfort into your home – and it can even lift your mood. We look at lighting essentials and the upgrades that can bring forth that extra boost.

When it comes to designing the home, many homeowners often consider lighting to be the least of their concerns. However, the right lighting can make a difference in how you feel. “Having the right amount of light is equally important, as too little or too much artificial light can affect our well-being, disrupting our circadian rhythm that regulates our sleep-wake cycle. Well-designed lighting also helps in bringing out the design element of the home,” says Clarence Leong, Lighting Advisor at Three Cubes Lighting.

Interior lighting 101

A good lighting strategy can be classified into three categories: ambient lighting, accent lighting and task lighting. Ambient lighting refers to general lighting that provides visibility as you move about in your home. Accent lighting serves to highlight design features, and task lighting brings illumination to specific areas for close-range work such as cooking and reading. Why is it necessary to have different lighting types? By combining and layering these different types of lights, you will be able to customise them to the mood or occasion.

SquareRooms-Joey-Khu-ambient-lighting

Image credit: Joey Khu Interior Design

Ambient lighting

For ambient lighting, recessed lights are a popular option among homeowners. These lights can be built flush with the false ceiling for a cleaner look. While such general lighting does not have to be as strong or intense as task lighting, consider your specific needs when choosing the brightness. For instance, having a family member with failing sight would require your home to be sufficiently lit for safety. Other ambient lighting options are ceiling lights, track lights and pendant lights.

SquareRooms-M-Atelier-ambient-lighting

Image credit: M Atelier

Task lighting

Task lighting is a second layer of lighting necessary for close-range tasks in spaces like the kitchen, bedroom and study. It ensures that the area where you work is sufficiently illuminated. Another area not to be forgotten for task lighting is your bathroom vanity, which must be brightly lit for shaving or applying makeup. Ensure that your task light is brighter than ambient lighting.

SquareRooms-M-Atelier-task-lighting

Image credit: M Atelier

Multipurpose lighting

As homes get smaller, some spaces serve more than one purpose. For example, increasingly, work is done in the dining area. For this, lighting that allows you to toggle between light settings and brightness levels like the Philips SceneSwitch LED bulbs give you versatility. Cool white light is ideal for working, and warm light produces a cosy ambience for dining with the family.

Image credit: Signify

Image credit: Signify

Night reading essential

When the sun goes down, the body should begin preparing for sleep. One of the key ways to do so is with light. By now, we know that blue light on the screen affects our circadian rhythms. Similarly, warm lighting is gentler on the eyes and helps you rest better after reading. A standing lamp can be placed by the side of your reading chair, sofa or bed. Look for dimmable light, as well as lighting with a flexible arm so that you can direct the light to where it’s needed.

Image credit: IKEA

Image credit: IKEA

Accent lighting

Much like elegant cufflinks or pocket square on a suit, accent lighting highlights the features in your home. Accent lighting can come in various forms: ceiling and pendant lights, spotlights, floor lamps, track lights and also wall lights. The main purpose is to draw the eye to artworks, architectural details, custom designs and other features.

Image credit: Joey Khu Interior Design

Image credit: Joey Khu Interior Design

Decorative lighting

That said, accent lighting is more about form than function. There’s no right or wrong when it comes to accent lighting, and they can double up as decor. So, you can be as restrained or bold as you wish in your choice of decorative lighting. The lighting it produces may serve to brighten up dark corners or highlight your precious items – or it may not even produce much light! All of your lighting choices contribute to the whole ambience and give you the freedom to mix and match, and therefore, design your ambience.

Image credit: Free Space Intent

Image credit: Free Space Intent

This was adapted from an article originally written by Rossara Jamil published in the July 2019 issue of SquareRooms 

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