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How to Plan and Use the Right Lighting in Your Home

Many of us know how important it is to choose the right paint color, furniture, and accessories for our homes. However, many homeowners are often clueless when it comes to planning and using the right type of lighting inside their homes.

We tend to spend most of our time focusing how to create a bigger interior space, or to make it look sophisticated rather than thinking about how to make it more functional and feel better. Whether you’re living in a HDB flat or a condominium, having the right kind of lighting in your home is paramount if you want to enhance the look of your living space. 

When used correctly, lighting can have an amazing impact within your home – it can change the look of your furniture, improve the color of your paint, add effects in your artwork, and even lift your mood and health

And since we know how overwhelming it can be to juggle between managing your home renovation and shopping for the right lighting, we’ve prepared some tips here to help you plan and find the best lighting solutions for your home.

Determine Your Lighting Needs

Designed & Built by JSR Design & Renovation Pte Ltd

It’s not uncommon for many homeowners to have the misconception that one type of lighting would serve and fulfill all their indoor lighting needs. Please keep in mind that different types of lighting are meant to perform specific functions in the home. 

Installing the right kind of lighting depends on the room you want to illuminate and the objectives you want it to achieve. In general, there are three main types of lighting that we usually use inside our homes, and you should think about how you intend to use the most appropriate type of lighting for different rooms:

Ambient Lighting. Provides the room’s main illumination and is intended for everyday illumination within your rooms. They could come in the form of ceiling-mounted fixtures, CFLs (Compact Fluorescent Lamp) or chandeliers.

Task Lighting. This type of lighting is suitable for activities such as cooking, studying and working on hobbies. It can be in the form of desk lamps, under-cabinet lighting or pendant lamps.

Accent Lighting. This is the one that adds drama to your space, acting as a decorative light to emphasize a particular area or object. Recessed or track lights are commonly used for accent lighting.

Identify How Much Light You Need

Designed & Built by Home Reno Pte Ltd

While the number of lights you want to use is a matter of personal preference, it’s generally a good idea to follow some basic rules when it comes to good lighting. The first step to knowing how much light you need for a specific space is to determine the room’s size. As a rule of thumb, the larger the room, the more lights you will need. 

Keep in mind that every room has different light level requirements. For instance, a home office needs to be brighter than a bedroom. The same goes for your kitchen. Since kitchens and home offices are considered working areas, they usually need more lighting than any other rooms. To get the right amount of illumination for each room, determine each room’s light level (lux) and multiply it by its area (in square metre).

To give you an idea of how this works, take for instance a kitchen with an area of 12 square metres. Let’s use this guide to gauge the light level we need for the kitchen. Based on the table, kitchens require a minimum of 300 lux for general use. So, to get the right illumination (lumens), we will multiply the lux requirement given in the guide, by the area of the kitchen. 

The calculation will be 300 x 12 = 3,600 lumens for general use. If you use compact fluorescent lights (CFL) that emit 800 lumens, for instance, you will need at least 5 CFL bulbs to meet the required illumination for your general kitchen lighting.

Consider Your Rooms’ Design

Designed & Built by The Design Define Pte Ltd

Aside from the room size and light level requirements, the interior design of your home also affects how light would look like when they are illuminated, so make sure to consider this when planning your lighting.

For rooms with a high ceiling, you might want to divide them into three sections so you can put lights on the top, middle, and bottom. You can use track lights, hanging lights, or recessed lights for the top portion; install some wall lights or floor lamps in the middle; and add table lamps or step lamps to the bottom section. 

Doing this will make your living space look more inviting and cohesive. For smaller rooms, avoid the use of oversized lighting fixtures as they will obstruct the views within and make it appear cluttered. If your room has dark paint, you might want to add more lighting as dark colors tend to absorb light and that could make the room appear dim.

Adjustable Light Controls

Designed & Built by The Local INN.terior Pte Ltd

Every individual has different perceptions and sensitivity towards light intensity. Some things that look bright to you may appear dark to the others, and vice versa. If you share your home with your family or partner, installing light fixtures with an option that lets you adjust light levels is a great idea. This allows everyone to get the desired light intensity without the need of buying different types of lights. 

The best thing about them is that they let you illuminate your room according to various requirements. For instance, if you’re reading a book, you can adjust to brighter light levels; and if you’re planning for a romantic dinner for two, all you need to do is adjust the controller and dim down the lights to set the ambiance.

Remember, lighting is one of the most important elements of your home, so get the best you can afford.