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Let There Be Light: Learn how to make your home ‘bright and delightful’

By Johannes L. Chua

You don’t just pick any lighting fixture that catches your fancy—that would be a big mistake, as there is a “science” into lighting selection. At the same time, it also has to have the “aesthetics”—be visually pleasing and better if it enhances the design of a space.

FORM AND FUNCTION Light plays a crucial role in making a space functional; from top: Task lights can be 'hidden' under the kitchen cabinets; accent lighting can illuminate the wooden steps in an outdoor garden; a drop lamp can draw the eyes to a certain object or piece

FORM AND FUNCTION Light plays a crucial role in making a space functional; from top: Task lights can be ‘hidden’ under the kitchen cabinets; accent lighting can illuminate the wooden steps in an outdoor garden; a drop lamp can draw the eyes to a certain object or piece

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To start, know what the purpose of light would be, according to interior designer Florence Ang. “It is important to
know the major purposes of lighting—ambient (for mood), task (for work), and accent (for design). Once you know the purpose, then you will know what kind of lighting fixture will fit into what part of the house. And if you want to be more creative, a combination of two light types is possible, with some lighting fixtures offering both warm and  white lights, interchangeable by just switching it on and off.”

Ambient lighting

Ambient, as described in the dictionary, is “relating to the immediate surrounding.” This word is associated with a lot of things, such as ambient sound, ambient temperature, and of course, ambient lighting.

“This is lighting that sets the mood, so to speak,” says Ang. “It is not ‘intrusive’—as what the word implies is lighting that blankets our home or room. It heightens a party ambience, enhances our appetite for food, and it can slow us down for relaxation or to help us experience a sound sleep.”

With ambient lighting, manufacturers have developed lights that can “adjusted” to exude a stronger glare to a dimmer glow. As such, ambient lighting can be placed anywhere in a home—it can be in the foyer to welcome guests, the living room with the high ceiling, or as chandelier lighting to establish a “luxe” ambience. This is also the lighting that can be seen in bedrooms, so Ang’s advice is to “make sure that you are comfortable with your lighting selection as your bedroom or comfort room must be your piece of ‘haven’ on earth.”

Ambient lighting can also be  “tucked” in the floor or the corners, lighting hallways, patios, and porches. Whatever you decide, it is better to incorporate this kind of lighting during the construction phase of the house to make them more “subtle.”

Task lighting

A space should be functional any time of the day. At night, task lighting ensures that you still get to do what you usually do during the day—eat a meal, check some paper works, do some cleaning, etc.

“With the term, it literally means lighting that helps you accomplish a task,” says Ang. “Task lighting makes a space more pleasant, reduces your eye strain, and keeps areas illuminated.”

Task lights can be seen all over the house, especially in the kitchen where lighting is needed to make sure that the components of that space—counters, cabinets, drawers, appliances—is clean.

IN THE MOOD Lighting plays a major role in putting the right mood in a room such as bright pin lights for a working space (left) or a warm drop chandelier (right) for a bath area

IN THE MOOD Lighting plays a major role in putting the right mood in a room such as bright pin lights for a working space (top) or a warm drop chandelier (bottom) for a bath area

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Lamps are the best examples of task lighting. It comes in different shapes and sizes, and it can be placed not only beside the bed or the living area, but anywhere, even inside the comfort room. The versatile lamp can “distribute” extra light where it is needed and be a design piece if it enhances an interior.

There is also the rise in popularity of the track lights which comes with adjustable light fittings. Previously just used in art galleries, coffee shops, or inside the malls, track lights are increasingly being used in homes. It now works well when a homeowner wants to highlight a certain artwork, poster, or portrait. As it is adjustable, light can “spread” even in a large space.

With modern homes also trying to “hide” task lights, Ang says she recommends cabinet or vanity lights for sophisticated homeowners.

“These lights are very inconspicuous, yet they work wonders in making sure that the space is illuminated well. For example, cabinet lights hidden under the cabinet base can brighten up the space where you prepare your food, clean the plates, or wash the dishes,” says Ang. “It is functional, yet you don’t see it when you don’t need it.”

Accent lighting

In fashion, accessories complete a look, ditto with accent lighting for a home. If ambient lighting establishes the mood, then accent lighting provides the “drama.”

It can also be a spot light that illuminates a piece to put it on a pedestal, a wall light to showcase a space’s intricate or grand architecture, or a landscape light to highlight outdoor spaces, lush gardens, or a pathway of stones and bricks.
Now, after you know what type of lighting you need for your space, there are also other factors to consider such as the type of bulb to use, sustainability (preferably energy efficient), and the actual design of the lighting fixture.

Of course, it is still practical to have daylight as source of illumination during the majority of the day, but at night or elsewhere where there are no windows or glass doors, then may your choice of lighting become an “enlightening” decision.



Source: Manila Bulletin

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