Without light, the world would not exist as we know it. Light gives life. It triggers our circadian rhythm, the biological clock that tells our body when to sleep and when to wake. As it gets brighter, we begin to feel more alert and active. As it gets darker, we start to wind down and feel more relaxed.
Similarly in design, light breathes life into a space. The way light is placed in a room can affect the experience people have, creating visual comfort and affecting our mood. The choice of lighting should depend not only on the style of the actual lighting fixture itself, but also on the functionality and purpose of your space and the mood you want to create.
There are two types of lighting, hard and soft, that each serve their own purpose and create different moods and atmospheres. Hard lighting is more direct, it creates highlights and shadows, picking up the shine or emphasising the texture of different materials in a room. This works to create a sense of depth, and bring more life into an environment. Hard lighting works better in spaces such as a home office or study, where you plan on being alert and productive.
Softer lighting is more diffused, it minimises harsh shadows and emits a soft gentle glow. This style of lighting dims features, making a space less visually stimulating. This is better suited to a bedroom or lounge room where you plan to relax after a long day. There are four main styles of lighting that are used in a space; task, accent, ambient and decorative.
Lighting is ultimately placed in a room for functionality. It gives us the ability to see and do things well after the sun goes down. Light makes modern life possible. There are a range of subtle lighting options that serve the purpose of simply bringing more functional brightness to a space. For example strip lighting behind a bathroom mirror creates backlighting, allowing you to properly see your reflection as you apply your lotions and potions. Similarly downlighting installed underneath overhead kitchen cabinets brings functional brightness to countertops. This style of lighting brings a sense of ease and functionality to a space, it helps you feel alert and productive.
If not well lit, the features of your space all seem to blur into one. Whether it be beautiful artwork, a sculpted piece of furniture, or even a unique architectural element, the right lighting celebrates these special features, placing a spotlight on their beauty for all to see. Lighting can be used to dramatize certain elements of design and capture the eye of your visitors.
Lighting has the power to both lift or tone down energy. Ambient lighting creates uniform illumination, tying together an overall atmosphere in a room. Recessed lighting can subtly brighten without drawing away from the other features in a room, while freestanding lighting options bring more ambience to a space while simultaneously bringing to the table another element of decoration.
Think about the space you are in. A bedroom or lounge room is more likely to serve as a relaxing sanctuary to wind down. A lighting option such as a lamp emits a dim soft glow, drawing out a quiet mood. They allow for creativity and personality with a different base or shade, to add colour, texture and tone. They also have the flexibility to be moved around your space to create more balance, in both lighting as well as in combination with other decorative elements. Similarly candles can be placed in different pockets to emit a soft flickering glow, creating a relaxed and romantic feel. A flameless candle is a safe and smoke-free option.
This style of lighting is purely ornamental, it is a great way to reflect your own personal style in your space. They can be thought of as the jewellery equivalent in architecture; they catch the eye and are an additional element that enhances the overall aesthetic of a space. As already mentioned, the floor or table lamp option gives you the flexibility to be creative and play into your own personal style.
The top tier of decorative lighting is the chandelier. These fixtures do not emit a strong directional light, but simply add to the overall illumination in a minor way through light refraction. Chandeliers add a layer of elegance, and can create a celebratory joyous mood in a space. The sparkle of reflections and light create an extra layer of sparkle and movement. Chandeliers are a strong feature that draw the eye up, encouraging people to take in the whole room. When carefully considered in relation to the furnishings of the space, it can take the whole room up a notch. While more obviously having an impact when hung from high ceilings, they can be strategically placed in trickier spaces to add an extra element of design.
Chandeliers can be hung in two different styles, a dangling pendant or using a flush mount. This latter option is great if you have a smaller space or a lower ceiling, but still want to incorporate feature lighting. A flush mount brings a lighting fixture higher to sit flush against the ceiling, leaving room for other elements. This is perfectly placed over a dining table, as it creates balance and brings extra sparkle to the area while still being functional. Similarly in an area like a stairwell that doesn’t leave much room for styling, a pendant style chandelier makes the most of the vertical space and draws the eye up.
No matter how beautiful the styling of your home is, an uninformed lighting decision won’t do it justice. Whether you choose an exquisite tiered chandelier, or more subtle recessed lighting, we encourage using different layers of illumination in your space, a combination of functional and decorative lighting pieces that create life and depth within a space.