Island Home: Light up your Life

Lighting is a big subject and very important as it sets the whole mood for your home. Basically, there are three main types of indoor lighting to consider when choosing the right lights to illuminate your home and create the desired homely atmosphere and also have the right functionality.

These are Ambient Lighting, Accent Lighting and Task Lighting. Every room in your home should include these three types of lighting. Lighting works best when you use a combination of different types of lighting.

Avoid at all costs a single overhead light, as it casts horrible shadows and makes people look ill if they are only lit from above. As always there are exceptions, such as a Statement Light. For example, a Chandelier hanging from the centre of a room, which will undoubtedly make a grand statement, but even then you will find that other lights will be needed such as floor lamps, a favourite of mine as they can be moved around.

Let us start with Accent Lighting. I choose this sort of lighting first because you will need to create the right atmosphere and ambience. Then you can fill in the shadows with Ambient Lighting.

Decide what is important to focus on in your room. In a living room it could be a piece of art, a hanging picture, a vase of flowers.

Track lights are types of Accent Lighting. Remember, these lights are often brighter and some you will be able to focus so they draw your eye to whatever they are illuminating.

Accent Lighting can be either halogen, which gives a warmer light or LED, a colder light which is gaining in popularity, especially if your furniture design is contemporary.

They are great for mood lighting so make sure they can be dimmed to better control the lighting in your room. Distribute them evenly throughout the room and avoid placing them too close together.

Table lamps are great too. Wherever you have a side table think about placing a table lamp on it with a good shade. Don’t forget, shades on lamps are important as they contribute to the overall design ascetic, so choose them carefully.

Kitchens nowadays are often incorporated into the living space and should have their own lighting; mainly functional and built into cabinets and overhead in the ceiling covering all work spaces. You do not want single piece lights in the kitchen area or on work surfaces as they will get in the way and can easily be knocked over.

Once you have your Accent lights in place you can add your Ambient Lighting or general light to fill in the shadows and light the whole room.

They usually come from recessed ceiling lights, track lighting or wall-mounted fixtures that fill the majority of the room. Make sure they are all on separate switches so you can control the amount of ambient light in the room.

Lastly, there is Task Lighting. These are lights that fulfil a certain function such as angle poise lamps, pendants and reading lights on side tables. These lights are stand alone so they can be easily moved around to where they are needed.

Unless you are a vampire, we all need light!

Adrian Rawle