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SET THE MOOD

 

Your home is your unique sanctuary; a place where you can escape the stress of the outside world and take time to unwind and relax after a busy day. When it comes to creating a tranquil space, the style and placement of your lighting can make or break your home. Katie Livingston chats with About Space Lighting’s Sydney residential lighting consultant, Tash Symons, about how you can best utilise lighting to create calm, functional areas throughout your home.

 

 

 

Written by Katie Livingston.

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A LITTLE TEAM WORK MAKES LIGHT WORK

The first thing to consider when choosing lighting for your home is what role you want each light to play in your space. Lighting should be both practical and inviting, and finding a balance between the two is crucial. In general, there are three basic types of lighting: ambient, task, and accent. Depending on its function, each room will have a different balance between the three.

“Ambient lighting is best used in areas like bedrooms, or even small living areas to allow you to create a sense of calm in the room,” Symons says. Task lighting is your practical lighting, and Symons recommends utilising this form for working areas such as kitchens, study nooks and garages. “[This provides] a practical amount of light for safety and keeping your mind alert,” she says. While this type of lighting is essential for these areas, it is
important to incorporate a balance of softer lights, as task lighting that is too bright or stark can be overwhelming and deter productivity. Lastly, accent lighting allows you to inject your personality into the space, and is often used to emphasise your favourite features within a room for aesthetic purposes. “This could be directional light focused on a piece of art, or highlighting the texture of your wall,” Symons explains.

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EVERYTHING UNDER THE SUN

To set a peaceful atmosphere, Symons recommends avoiding cool whites and using a colour temperature of 3000k to establish a warmer tone and sense of calm throughout the room. Symons favours soft, organic shapes over hard edges for feature lights and pendants, as they enhance the unity and flow
of a room.

Work with natural sunlight in each room and use the daylight cycle as a centrepiece around which to plan your lighting. For example, if you have room that can be quite dark in the afternoon, having a number of lights on separate switches allows you to vary the amount of illumination so that it assists the natural light, without overpowering it. Symons notes that smart lighting has become a huge trend for this very reason as it can automatically adjust the colour temperature based on the time of day. “Smart lighting hit the ground running in the lighting market,” Symons says. “[It helps] to improve people’s physical and mental wellbeing and is really quite astounding.”

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LIVE LAUGH LED

For readers looking to add or change the lighting in their home, it is vital to select complementary colours, as a strong contrast can be distracting – the antithesis of a soothing, productive space. “Make sure the colour temperature matches the lighting in the rest of the room,” Symons advises. “If you’re adding a new piece of lighting, I suggest changing everything to LED, if you haven’t already.” LED lighting has come a long way in recent years; offering greater energy efficiency, flexibility with colour and style, as well as a lifespan that can last decades. Symons highly recommends LED lights as her first and only choice for homeowners both looking to upgrade or build from scratch.

IN THE SPOTLIGHT

Feature lighting is a must-have for those who want to add character to their homes, but statement pieces that are too jarring can be exhausting for the eye and disrupt visual cohesion. Symons advises homeowners to choose a style that exaggerates the details and finishes of the room’s fixtures,
rather than detracting from them. An overload of conflicting styles can make a space seem busy and overcrowded, so consider wisely.

When it comes to kitchens and bedrooms, pendant lights make great feature pieces. “An island bench is always a winner,” Symons notes, “however you should have some accompanying lights like downlights on a separate switch, so you are not restricted by pendants.” For interior living areas, Symons acknowledges the value of wall sconces, “they can inject personality while complementing your furniture and other finishes.”

Standing lamps are another way to add sophistication to your abode when ceiling lights are not feasible. “Standing lamps are best utilised when they are not just filling a blank corner but working around the shapes of your furniture and the practicality of what you might actually use itfor,” Symons explains. Standing lamps with soft,warm light will make also make your living area feel cosier and establish the perfect sanctuary for relaxation.

Feature lighting is a must-have for those who want to add character to their homes, but statement pieces that are too jarring can be exhausting for the eye and disrupt visual cohesion. Symons advises homeowners to choose a style that exaggerates the details and finishes of the room’s fixtures,
rather than detracting from them. An overload of conflicting styles can make a space seem busy and overcrowded, so consider wisely.

When it comes to kitchens and bedrooms, pendant lights make great feature pieces. “An island bench is always a winner,” Symons notes, “however you should have some accompanying lights like downlights on a separate switch, so you are not restricted by pendants.” For interior living areas, Symons acknowledges the value of wall sconces, “they can inject personality while complementing your furniture and other finishes.”

Standing lamps are another way to add sophistication to your abode when ceiling lights are not feasible. “Standing lamps are best utilised when they are not just filling a blank corner but working around the shapes of your furniture and the practicality of what you might actually use itfor,” Symons explains. Standing lamps with soft,warm light will make also make your living area feel cosier and establish the perfect sanctuary for relaxation.

Feature lighting is a must-have for those who want to add character to their homes, but statement pieces that are too jarring can be exhausting for the eye and disrupt visual cohesion. Symons advises homeowners to choose a style that exaggerates the details and finishes of the room’s fixtures,
rather than detracting from them. An overload of conflicting styles can make a space seem busy and overcrowded, so consider wisely.

When it comes to kitchens and bedrooms, pendant lights make great feature pieces. “An island bench is always a winner,” Symons notes, “however you should have some accompanying lights like downlights on a separate switch, so you are not restricted by pendants.” For interior living areas, Symons acknowledges the value of wall sconces, “they can inject personality while complementing your furniture and other finishes.”

 

Standing lamps are another way to add sophistication to your abode when ceiling lights are not feasible. “Standing lamps are best utilised when they are not just filling a blank corner but working around the shapes of your furniture and the practicality of what you might actually use it for,” Symons explains. Standing lamps with soft,warm light will make also make your living area feel cosier and establish the perfect sanctuary for relaxation.

 

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A PERFECT BALANCE

When it comes to working areas, it’s important to be able to see clearly. However, in trying to achieve this, we often fall into the trap of introducing lights that are too bright or harsh. Before installing lights, assess the reflectiveness of your surfaces. This is especially necessary when it comes to areas such as kitchens, which often have polished stone benchtops that reflect light easily. For these areas, opt for subdued lighting and avoid installing globes where they may shine on reflective surfaces. Symons also warns readers to steer away from cheaper flat downlights or exposed globes, as they often create more glare.

Being able to adjust the tone of your lighting offers several advantages – and dimmers are the perfect feature to achieve this. “Dimmers allow you to control the use of a room,” Symons says. “[Keep it bright] during the day where everyone is active,  studying or cooking … then [dim the lighting] during the night when everyone needs to wind down or if you’re entertaining with a few friends.”

If you are embarking upon a new build or looking to update the lighting in your existing home, Symons’ final piece of advice to readers is to always seek professional advice. “Please consult with lighting [specialists] before making decisions on lighting,” she says. “We’re here to make it perfect for your style of living.”