How to choose the right lighting for your living area
Brighten up your home and create a welcoming atmosphere with a smart selection of lighting.
From setting the mood to ensuring your living area is as functional as it is beautiful, your lighting plan should be a key feature of your room design. Too often, illumination is overlooked in favour of those architectural features, modular sofa and designer coffee table. However, investing time, energy and budget into your lighting will mean the difference between a space that wows and a room that seems to be missing something.
There are three main types of lighting: ambient, accent and task lighting. The first provides a general glow over your space, essential for everyday activities, such as family time and cleaning. A dimmer is an excellent idea in living zones to ensure flexibility while still providing ample light. Accent lighting will highlight those beautiful architectural features in both old and new homes, while highlighting your favourite zones or artworks. When it’s time to get down to work, task lighting comes into its own, offering focused lighting over workspaces such as study desks, craft areas, cooking and prep surfaces and more.
Different types of lighting
Able to act as a feature all on their own, pendant lighting can fall into all three lighting categories, depending on what type you choose. A low-hanging sculptural pendant over a dining table, benchtop or sitting area will create a sense of intimacy and warmth, while a trio of shapely pendants hanging evenly over a workspace will provide both task lighting and interest above your space. One or two well-placed pendants will highlight decorative architraves and throw shadows across angular bulkheads and cathedral ceilings to add drama to your living zone, while a cluster of pendants hung at different heights will act as a scene-setting centrepiece.
Portable flexibility is the main feature of this versatile style of lighting. Perfect for renters and young families, floor lamps will instantly add a designer look to your space, without the hassle of installation. Available in a range of shapes and sizes, from tall and willowy to short and stout, they won’t offer the polished look of pendant lighting, but they will suit every space with a minimum of fuss.
Setting the mood is easy with the addition of a table lamp. Create effortless intimacy with a carefully curated selection of table lights, highlighting your cosiest spaces by drawing attention to sitting areas.
Recessed LED lamps or the classic oyster light will throw bright ambience across your space - but not much else. They can make your space feel stark and remove any cosy zones or sense of intimacy. They are functional when it comes to cleaning and working, but consider installing a dimmer to create a softer look.
Creating a lighting plan
A combination of lighting types is essential for a functional, beautiful and effective lighting plan. The overhead lights should only be used in combination with moody pendant lights, creating drama - day and night - over your living zone. Highlight and frame key areas with a narrow floor light, and draw guests into various zones with the low-key intimacy of a table lamp.