Insider’s Guide to Lighting

Lighting creates the whole mood of a room, but it can be hard to get right. We’ve got the expert tips on choosing the right lights for the right room.

Todd Stewart from JSB Lighting says lighting is a personal choice – some people love bright, uniform light while others prefer soft, mood lighting. However, there are some universal basics to bear in mind when it comes to lighting:

  • No matter what your budget, there are three basic categories you should have in your home: Table Lighting, Wall Lighting, and Ceiling (downward) Lighting.
  • Be creative within those schemes. Once you’ve chosen your light fitting, consider the type of bulb. You can choose from incandescent, low voltage or compact fluoro. Use different bulbs or dimmer switches to create different effects.
  • Good lighting is comfortable, flexible, controllable lighting while bad lighting makes someone in the room feel uncomfortable. Some people are more sensitive to glare than others.
  • Todd says he’s amazed people will spend a couple of hundred thousand dollars on a renovation, but won't think about lighting until the very end when it should be one of the early considerations. Bad lighting can ruin a wonderful space.

Things to consider
  • If you’re planning a renovation, or you have a generous budget to spend, bring in a consultant or designer. In fact, most lighting shops will come and consult for free, although you may then feel obliged to buy your fittings from their shop.
  • The light, the bulb and the fitting have to fit the environment they are in and the mood being created. A fluorescent strip light is a commercial light designed for a factory or office setting, therefore it doesn't suit a domestic situation
  • The latest in lighting are the control systems that allow different combinations of lighting to be programmed to create a certain mood: eg wine drinking lights, party lights, reading lights etc.
  • Don’t be scared to experiment. Playing with light, your space and the objects you have will create different moods and effects. Changing he direction of the lights, back lighting, diffused lighting, dramatic spotlights or focusing on a feature can totally alter the look of your room.

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