Lighting buying guide
Choosing the right lighting plays an important part in creating a home you love. Whether you want to brighten up a living space, set the mood for a cosy night in or create a focal point, our guide is packed with practical and stylish lighting tips for different rooms in your home.
Three ways to light your room
Ambient lighting makes your room feel as close to daylight as possible. It’s great for when you’re socialising or playing games as it gives you a bright space that the whole family can enjoy. Ceiling lights, including pendants, spots and recessed lighting are the best way to achieve ambient light, as they spread light down and around a room.
Task lighting is ideal for specific activities like reading, preparing food or doing any other type of close- up work, as you can direct light exactly where you need it. In the kitchen, under-cabinet lighting helps you prepare food safely and you can angle spotlights to fall in other areas where you need most light, for example by the cooker or sink. Both floor and table lamps also work as task lights around the house. You can create pools of light, so you can see what you’re doing without disturbing anyone else.
If your room has any standout features, recesses or interesting art you can use directed light to create a focal point for an artistic finishing touch. Wall lights and spotlights can help you achieve this look, as they’re great for focussing light on a specific point.
Top tips for lighting your living room
- If you’re using your living room for a variety of tasks, consider defining zones using different styles of lighting.
- Dimmer switches are useful when you want to define specific zones or create a different ambience in a certain area of the room.
- Try using accent lights to create a style statement – they can be a real talking point.
- Consider the size of your living room and make sure your lighting is in proportion. Large, statement lighting can look great in a bigger living room but may overwhelm a smaller space.
Top tips for lighting your hall and landing
- Consider your ceiling height. If you have high ceilings you can indulge in a more extravagant pendant light with either one or multiple bulbs.
- For lower ceilings pick a pendant that’s flush with the ceiling so the space doesn’t feel cluttered.
- By using brighter bulbs you can make the space feel bigger and more inviting.
Top tips for lighting your dining room
- Base your lighting around the table to create an atmosphere while you’re dining. Choose a chandelier if you want to make a statement, even when the light’s turned off.
- A single larger pendant light can look great over a smaller dining table.
- For contemporary style, group a selection of pendant lights over a larger dining table.
- Once you’ve chosen a chandelier or pendants for over your dining table, layer up your lighting using floor lamps and wall lights.
- A dimmer switch in your dining room can help create the right ambience.
Top tips for lighting your bedroom
- Create a balanced look by choosing pairs of bedside lamps, night stands and accessories.
- Low hanging pendants can be a good alternative to bedside lamps. They look super-modern and are good for saving space.
- For added ambience, install dimmer switches so you can alter the light instantly. Softer toned light bulbs are also ideal for creating a gentler glow.
- Light bulbs can become a feature of your lighting too, look out for retro-inspired bulbs to bring an extra touch of modern sophistication to your lighting.
Top tips for lighting your kitchen:
- Under unit lighting is great for work stations to help with preparing food, but it can also create a lovely ambience into the evening.
- Add a pendant light to create a real feature and a talking point in your kitchen.
- Why not add spot lights to the kick boards of your units, making the room stylish and modern.
Save energy and money
Energy efficient light bulbs
There are two main types of energy efficient light bulbs. Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFL) and Light Emitting Diodes (LED).
Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFL)
CFL are cost-effective and ideal for general lighting. Replacing a traditional light bulb with a CFL of the same brightness will save you money.
Light Emitting Diodes (LED)
LED are good for replacing spotlights and dimmable lights. They are more expensive to buy yet they are more efficient than CFL so they will save you money in the long term. By replacing all halogen bulbs with LED alternatives, you could save on your electricity bills.
Less efficient light bulbs
Traditional light bulbs
Traditional light bulbs, also known as tungsten filament, incandescent or GLS (General Lighting Service) bulbs were invented more than 100 years ago. Only about five per cent of the electricity they use is converted into visible light so they are extremely inefficient and don’t last long because the filament gradually evaporates.
Halogen light bulbs
Halogen light bulbs use filament technology but they are slightly more efficient than traditional light bulbs. They are mainly used in spotlight fittings but as they’re often used in large quantities, the electricity used to light a room is greater. LEDs are an excellent energy efficient alternative.
Energy saving tips
It’s simple to save energy and money by making a few simple changes around the home.
- Always turn the lights out when you leave a room, even if you’re just leaving the room very briefly.
- Be conscious about how many lights you use and whether you need them all on.
- Try to arrange light switches so it’s convenient to turn them off, for example place switches at the top and bottom of stairs, at each end of a hallway and by the door to a room.
- Use a sensor and timer on outdoor lights so they’re only in use when there’s someone outside.
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