We talk a lot about lighting in this blog for safety and security reasons, but lighting shouldn’t be practical only. It’s possible to light for security and style both. So in case we’ve sent you too far down the path of bright lights for deterring bad guys, we offer tips on lighting your home for appeal too.
Lighting for style and mood too
For security, you want your lighting set up for make it look like someone is home when you’re away, and to have the house lit when you get home. For safety, you want to ensure you don’t have dark corners or shadows that could result in a fall during the night. And for style, you want to use lighting to enhance your décor, create moods, and enable tasks.
Use a combination of lights
It’s a no brainer to walk into a room, flip a switch, and turn on an overhead light. Voila! Your room is lit! But your room’s not appealing. Since the living room is called the “living” room for a reason, meaning we do a lot of living there, it’s important to make sure it’s a room people can enjoy. Your lighting can do a lot to help that happen. Not that you don’t need that overhead light! But you can “supplement” it, if you will, by other kinds of lighting in different degrees of brightness.
Design experts say to use a combination of table lamps and floor lamps, with some light casting downward and some up toward the ceiling. You especially want the downward light near any seating for “task” lighting.
They also suggest spotlighting a feature with lighting, such as a piece of art or furniture. In addition, consider putting soft lighting in an unexpected place such as a bookshelf by using battery-operated candles or other dim lighting options.
With “layers” of lighting like this, you can easily change the look or mood of a room by turning on and off different lights to get the feel you want. And when it comes to setting up your home automation system, you’ll have more options for the lights to be turned on in your absence.
Be aware of bulbs
A light bulb is a light bulb, right? Wrong. Different wattages are appropriate for different kinds of lighting. While you might want a bright 75-watt bulb for task lighting, that’s far too bright for mood or decorate lighting, so opt for a 25- or 40-watt bulb instead. And these days, you have types of light bulbs to distinguish between as well. Many of us grew up with incandescent bulbs, but those will soon be phased out—along with the soft, warm lighting they provided. If you’re concerned about getting bulbs that aren’t garish like LEDs, check out the information on halogen incandescent bulbs at Bulbs.com.
Think through the non-lighting details
Stylish lighting takes more than just lamps and bulbs. In addition to these lighting tips, pay attention to your lampshades as well. Dark shades can dim your lighting too much, so there might be times you want to switch to a white or cream colored shade instead. If your room still needs more light, trying hanging a mirror in a strategic place that will reflect back the light into the room.
If you want to do a home lighting assessment to see how your approach is stacking up against designer recommendations, this Good Housekeeping article covers common interior lighting mistakes…to help you avoid them.
And for other tips on lighting for safety and security, see our posts on:
- Lighting better, safer, cheaper with home automation
- The latest in lighting and what it means for homeowners
- Reviewing your lighting for the dark days of winter