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Right Effect With Lighting


Photos: Courtesy of HGTV

Photos: Courtesy of HGTV

SINCE 1879 when electric bulbs wee invented by Thomas Edison, a whole array of light has evolved to add colour and purpose to their uses in homes. Understanding the various types will serve as a useful guide in making choices.

Among these is the background or ambient lighting. This is the general lighting that gives an overall background sweep of light. It is often made available through a fixed central overhead fitting, but it can create unpleasant shadows or cast too much yellow light when it is fitted with an ordinary tungsten bulb. Sources of this type of lighting include central overhead pendant and opaque up lighters.

Accent lighting when used with ambient light highlights interesting features such as pictures or paintings, objects and architectural elements. A low-voltage halogen spotlight system that is recessed into the ceiling is particularly suitable because it has a small, bright source of light that casts crisp shadows.

Task lighting provides a localised source for activities that require the use of light like reading, writing or cooking. Use of good task lighting improves visual clarity, reduces tiredness and helps focus on the job at hand.

Like accent lighting, the fittings should possess an integral reflector and be mounted in a reflector that is opaque to eliminate glare. Sources of such light include desk lamps, low-voltage tungsten and halogen systems.

Producing good lighting to improve the look of the home requires planning for the different sections. In the sitting room, the plan should take into account the various activities that go on here, the need to highlight the decorative features and create a relaxing atmosphere.

In the kitchen, lighting ought to highlight the different areas for food preparation, cooking and eating. Ceiling fittings and task can be used to create a flexible mix that suits the room. Worktops will be better illuminated with downlighters or uplifters rather than overheard lighting, which if used alone will leave shadows.

The dining area needs lighting that will reflect the mood of conversation by flattering the diners but at the same time bright enough to serve practical needs. An overhead pendant light above a table is a very good choice.

For the bedroom, ambient lighting that will create a neutral and relaxing background is required. Then task and decorative ones can be added where needed.

In the bathroom, an imaginative use of ambient and task lighting should be used. Lighting needs to be safe and practical. It is preferable to enclose and seal units against moisture. Areas used for specific activity like make-up must be well lit.

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