Updated: May 10
Light is fundamental, without it we wouldn’t be able to see what we were doing. Lighting, however, is so much more than just functional, the right type of lighting can transform your room and elevate it to the next level.
But what is the right type of lighting? It all depends upon the room you are talking about, as each room has a different function you will need a different type of light to achieve your goal. In this first blog in our lighting series, we will look at the two fundamental types of lighting you can install: Architectural and Decorative.
Interior design will always start with architectural lighting. Simply put architectural lighting is built into the frame of your building.
Because it is incorporated into the fabric of the building, there can be limitations on what you can do with it. A good example is looking at ceilings. A concrete ceiling will give you different options to a plasterboard one. The later may not be able to take heavier lighting but it does give you a recess to allow the installation of sunken spotlights.
A lot of the time architectural is considered functional in nature, think of that fluorescent batten installed in your garage that helps you find the rogue screwdriver that always escapes from your toolbox. Architectural lighting can also be decorative in nature.
Moving onto the second fundamental type, Decorative. This covers any type of lighting you can either plug in or wire into your room. It naturally covers a large array of options from chandeliers to wall lights and then onto your floor and table options.
Personally, at MHD, we view decorative lighting as the overlay to a room, that works in tandem with your architectural. By incorporating wall lights, table lights, floor lights, pendants, and chandeliers you can start adding layers and complexity to your lighting. A chandelier can be a focal point in itself, drawing the eye to its glittering display, while table lights can use different coloured shades to give off a warmer light. Alternatively, bring works of art to life through the use of downlights or picture lights.
Consider the rooms lux levels
Whether you are looking at architectural or decorative, or both, it’s important to understand each room has an optimum lux level. When planning your lighting we always recommend working to this. It helps to ensure you don’t drown out your room, while at the same time working to maximise features, like fireplaces, to make them stand out.
Managing your lighting through 21st-century technology
The good news these days is your lighting can be fully adjustable, we have the technology to play with lighting depending upon the time of day, period of the year, or what activity you wish to do in a room. You’d want a different lighting level for playing a game of cards compared to a family movie night on the sofa (with popcorn of course).
The most basic, and easiest to install, are rotary dimmers. These give you the choice to manually control the level of light each bulb will give off.
Next up are the home management systems like Hive or Nest. These have come on a long way and provide you with the opportunity to set times for your lighting to come on, and in some cases set the brightness and colour temperature as well. Perfect if you have trouble getting up in the morning and need the lights to come on slowly to help.
Finally, at the top end, you have fully integrated home management systems. These systems can control almost everything about your home, from the lighting to blinds, heating and anything else you wish to tie into it. They also offer advanced opportunities for pre-sets. You can programme different settings for Winter, Spring, Summer and Autumn. Or even tie it into the weather forecast so if you happen to have a darker overcast day it knows to increase the illumination for you. Needless to say, you can even programme in special settings for your monthly cocktail parties!
Your lights, your rules
Unfortunately, lighting can get forgotten about and becomes an afterthought. When this happens, you won't get the most out of it. If you are considering renovating your house make sure you give it the attention it deserves, the best place to start is to ask: What type of atmosphere do you want to create?
Alternatively, we are here to help. If you are undertaking a home renovation project and want to maximise the lighting effect, give us a call and we’d be happy to talk through the options available.