How to Add Interest to Home Lighting

Have you ever walked into a home and felt comfortable and invited?

While most attribute this feeling to home decor, lighting design likely plays a role!

Now that the home is a fixture in our lives, many of us are starting to rethink our decor and home setups. With light affecting us in so many ways, putting some strategic thought into how we light our homes is quite valuable!

Today, we will talk about setting up your house with proper lighting so your home can be home first and foremost, while also effectively serving all the other roles it is filling these days. So while you're doing some spring cleaning and rearranging your closets, let's also learn how to create an exciting and satisfying interior space through varied lighting! 

How light affects us 

Lighting can dictate and affect our mood and energy for the day. Whether natural or artificial, lighting can effectively alter how we feel and how we perceive our spaces. You can read more about light and health.  

-Generally, warm white lighting (between 2700-3200K) is cozy and perfect for winding down.

-Natural white lighting (between 3800-5000K) is perfect for reading, task-oriented, specific activities that require attention in one place.

-And bluer, cooler light temperatures (between 5000-6500K) are energizing and awakening. 

This is an overview, and if you'd like, you can read more about color temperature

The three types of lighting

The starting point when thinking about interior lighting! If you want to add interest in a room, varied lighting is essential, and thinking of the three main lighting layers is paramount to achieving this! 

Ambient lighting refers to the general illumination that fills your room with light. This is often achieved through recessed fixtures and floor lamps. 

Task lighting refers to lighting that, well, helps you see a particular task. A desk or floor lamp are common types of task lighting. 

Accent lighting refers to the decorative flourishes of light that provide a room with interest and depth. Wall sconces and chandeliers are great examples of accent lighting. 

First, start with a general color temperature

Most rooms in our homes have a dedicated purpose, whether preparing a meal in the kitchen, or reading in the living room. When one room fulfills multiple purposes, it's essential to layer light with various color temperatures. But first, you need to fill a room with a base layer of light!  

Before deciding how to add varying touches to your lighting, you must determine what your base layer light temperature will be. 

Think of what energy your room should bring, and start there! 

Remember, 

Warm white lighting (between 2700-3200K) is cozy and perfect for winding down.

Natural white lighting (between 3800-5000K) is perfect for reading, task-oriented, specific activities that require attention in one place.

Bluer, cooler light temperatures (between 5000-6500K) are energizing and awakening. 

The next step, layer and mix things up!

Once you have a better idea of light's color temperatures and the different types of lighting, it's time to have some fun! 

Varying types of light can provide a room with depth and interest, so don't assume you must stick to one color temperature or wattage in a room. 

Within each room, be sure to try different types of light for your ambient, task, and accent lighting. This could mean using bulbs of varying color temperatures, technologies ( incandescent, LED, fluorescent, etc.), and wattages/brightness.

A crucial part of what makes interiors feel inviting and non-sterile is mixing up the color temperatures, light intensities, and light technologies we use. 

Let's explore some recommendations

Working/studying

In rooms where you'll be working, or kids are studying, opt for natural white or bright white lighting. Any place that requires significant focus and attention to the task at hand will do best with a more energizing, yet non- glaring full spectrum light. 

Optimal color temperature: between 4000-5000K

 

Relaxing/Reading/other activities

The neutral zone. Lighting for the majority of the home. Opt for neutral, more natural color temperatures here. Of course, the same as above goes for non-glaring full spectrum light. 

Optimal color temperature: between 3000-4200K

 

Sleeping/Winding down

The bedroom. While a color temperaure between 3000-4200K could work well here, it's up to you to determine if you prefer to go even warmer. A good rule of thumb is go warmer with overhead lighting, and neutral in bedside lamps for easier nighttime reading. 

Optimal color temperature: between 3000-3800K

 

Remember, lighting is a highly personal decision. What may make one person feel good may not be so for the next, so experiment until you find what works for you. Just like anything in life, too much of one thing is not necessarily a good thing, so exploration is vital! We hope that you've been inspired to make some changes, or just think differently about how you light your home. Lighting that works for you will make you happy, and a happy home is the healthiest home! 

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