Thursday, September 4, 2014

Let there be light

Illumination can complement form and color, and has the ability to truly complete any decor or architectural design – both inside and out. 


It is therefore vital that the patterns of illumination support the overall project goals.No home is truly complete without some kind of lighting, and if well designed, the lighting can become a genuinely attractive feature in its own right – highlighting the attractive features, concealing all the eyesores and offering practical illumination where it is needed most.

A great deal of forethought and research goes into a sound lighting design, including elements of physics, optics, electricity, ergonomics, environmental and cost saving issues, construction, vision and of course, the art of design. Here are some lighting design basics to help you along:

General lighting

This kind of lighting provides a small sum of light over a large area. It is especially practical in work and functional areas, such as in closets, storage rooms, the laundry room and garages. General lighting comprises a single lighting fixture or a group of evenly spaced lighting fixtures that provide the sum of the required illumination. When it comes to general lighting – the design and facade of a fixture is superseded by its functionality and affordability. Fluorescent lighting is often used in such spaces, due to its efficiency, price and its energy-saving capabilities.

Task lighting

To highlight specific work areas, task lighting minimizes dependence on general lighting and supplies superior quality lighting for countertop work. It highlights specific tasks with lighting pointed directly at a specific work area. Modern options for task lights include low voltage halogen and compact fluorescent versions, which are energy efficient, while simultaneously being able to generate good quality concentrated light.

Ambient lighting

Ambient lighting is used to set the mood of a room by imparting specific highlights and low lights. The ambiance of a room is largely reliant on the characteristics and quality of the chosen ambient lighting, and can be either dramatic, subtle, or somewhere in between. Ambient lights can be utilized to light up specific focal features, such as artwork, or decor, architectural or landscaping features for example. It comprises well positioned spots or lights with dimming capabilities.

Decorative lighting

Decorative lighting is often used to define and substantiate the building style, period or motif of the home. Decorative lighting includes permanent lighting fixtures like chandeliers, pendants, close-to-ceiling luminaries and sconces, as well as portable lighting such as table lamps and lanterns. It is usually selected on the basis of a particular fixture's style and appearance, versus functionality and practicality. As a result, it often can only provide a portion of the required ambient or task lighting. Many decorative lights yield only modest amounts of illumination and are therefore often more for show than anything else.


Focal lighting

Also known as display lighting, focal lighting illuminates particular items of significance in a home, such as art, architecture, collections and other displays. These lights include under-cabinet lights and track lights. They are can be hidden or visible, and are designed specifically for the purpose of lighting up display items.

Outdoor lighting

Outdoor lighting is essential for a number of reasons – including security, safety and of course, giving the outdoor areas an attractive aesthetic during the evening. For security reasons, pavement lights and spots with motion detectors are especially practical. For safety reasons, lights that highlight garden paths, driveways, patios, home entrances and pools, all ensure that you can see where you are going at night. Nightscaping is more for aesthetic reasons than anything else – in a nutshell, it makes your garden look pretty at night, allowing you to enjoy the outdoor areas of your home even when it is dark.

Any good lighting design in a home will comprise a selection of all the above mentioned kinds of lighting – with the end result being a design that is both functional and aesthetically pleasing. It is important to ensure that the overall design should also flatter and be in keeping with the existing decor and architectural design of the home. – Antonella Dési


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