The right lighting can make or break the ambience of each room in our homes, offices and outdoor spaces. Interior style can be transformed by the lighting you choose. Chantal Finn from Philips Lighting South Africa shares some tips on using LED lighting.
Lighting is not always about beauty and setting the mood, but is also vitally important to physical comfort and even our health – investing in good lighting solutions can mean saving your eyes from unnecessary strain. But with sustainability a growing consideration in interior design, we need to be increasingly mindful of the pressure we put on the grid in lighting our homes.
To look at an energy efficient, yet subtly stylish solution in the form of LED lighting, DECO was lucky enough to get some tips from a pro in the field, Chantal Finn – consumer marketing manager of Philips Lighting South Africa. With her help we were able to break it down: exploring which lighting suits which space.
When in the process of choosing lighting solutions for your home, it’s important to consider the function of the room. Lighting has the power to create different moods in each room and these can range from warm, soft and relaxing to energetic and cool.
LED lighting under stairs or under shelving are just some examples of how you can turn a normal space or aspect of your home into something breathtaking.
Especially for us girls, lighting around the mirror is essential. Even, front-on illumination makes a significant difference to your beauty regime. Natural light is the best for this, but in the absence of a window backlighting your dressing table, mirror surround lighting is the next best thing. Adding one or two recessed lights above or at either side of the bathroom mirror will give you that direct extra light needed to get the perfect finish.
Bathroom lighting is often neglected and this needs to change because this room is one of the busiest. With proper lighting a bathroom can brighten up your mornings and help you unwind after a long day.
A bathroom should have a good balance of both bright and soft light, as a bathroom is not only a place to get up and ready but also a place to relax, and unwind from the day. Candles in bathrooms are often a go-to in order to create a soft ambience, but artificial flames (such as Philips LED CandleLights) can replace these possible fire hazards, while still giving that tranquility of a flickering flame. Place them in small coloured glass or polished brass holders for an added splash of glamour.
Whether you retire to a small alcove or a grand master suite, you probably use your bedroom for more than just sleeping – unwinding after a long day, studying hard for upcoming exams or an indulgent breakfast in bed.
As the jack-of-all-trades and most personal space in the house, a variety of lighting is vital to accommodate all your bedroom activities. For a soft, romantic ambience, try warm white LED lights; if you’re a bookworm then the cool LED daylight will be perfect for your bedside lamp or even a wall fixture just above your bed.
LED lights can even make an architectural feature pop and give a room a certain modern flare.
THE HOME OFFICE
Staying focused is key in this room. To be alert means to have the right type of light that keeps you awake but also comfortable – no mood setting needed here but bad lighting can lead to poor concentration and strain on the eyes. A LED desk light is ideal, as it has non-visible flickering and no glare. These aspects are often so small that you will not register it, but your eyes will reap the benefits. The cool white light of the LED is also great for easy reading.
THE LIVING ROOM
This is where family spends most of their time, and has been known for years as the heart of the house.
Proper lighting in your living room should both accentuate the design scheme and create a sophisticated feel.
LED warm or even coloured lighting can brighten up dark corners, which in-turn can make a room seem bigger and more accommodating whilst still maintaining that perfect cosy feel. Reading and craft hobbies are often done in living rooms – so don’t neglect the need for good lighting.
Task lights, such as side lamps or mounted wall lamps, can be situated around these areas of activity, typically in the corners of couches or reading nooks, furthest away from the natural light source.
Safety in the kitchen is important, and safety comes with good viewing ability. Cool LED lights, with many of them recessed into the cabinets, enables you to get direct light down to the counters and working surface areas.
Consider switching your kitchen lights to cool daylight LED for a brighter and safer kitchen. The right light level will also help you to prepare your meals safely.
LED strip lighting is the stylish and popular choice to add to kitchens as it brings the wow-factor. Add strip lights around an island unit or breakfast bar to give the illusion of floating furniture, which can create a magical feel at night.
For bringing the wow factor to a gallery wall of photography or a key art piece, natural light will always be best, but this cannot always be achieved in every home. If you have a very special painting hanging in a hallway where no natural light shows off its beauty, try placing a LED light just above it. The softness of the LED is the closest to natural light and it saves electricity so your artworks can feel and look special without costing you a fortune, simultaneously protecting them from sun damage.
Putting in new lighting can be a quick and effective way to revamp an entire space. Whenever picking lighting the main thing is to ask yourself is: what do you want to feel in this room and what do you want to get out of it? If you do that, you won’t go far wrong.
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DECO intern Melanie Loser was born and raised in the rustic utopia that is Empangeni, KZN. Animals and nature are her go-to for relaxation and escape – although Roald Dahl and a good glass of wine come a close second. After finishing her undergrad in Architecture at UCT, Mel decided to explore her creative side at ELLE Decoration, hoping to incorporate environmental and green living concerns into her future design work.