LIGHTING is the single most important element in decorating. It dramatically improves the look and feel of any room.
According to Craig Brown of Lumination, lighting affects you more than any other design detail in your home. He says your choice of lighting fixtures, light bulbs, and colour of light makes a difference to your emotional and physical comfort.
Brown advises people to consider function, mood and harmony when choosing lighting for their homes.
"You have to think about what the function of each room is, decide what mood you want to create and consider how the different lighting types will harmonise with any given room," he says.
With so many options out there, finding that right light might be a little easier said than done.
Brown says there are four types of lighting to consider:
l Ambient lighting for those undefined areas of your room, mainly used for navigational purposes.
l Task lighting which illuminates bright light for the task at hand (that is reading, cooking and so on)
l Accent lighting similar to task lighting as it gives directed light, but it focuses on focal points of interest like artwork and sets the mood for the space.
l Decorative lighting can be achieved with ambient, task or accent lighting, but decorative lighting usually is the focal point, such as a chandelier in the dining room.
What's hot in lighting?
Johan Bloom of Bloom Interior Decorations says today's trends in lamps, lighting and interior decor are reflective of a style that is more contemporary or modern than what we have seen for many years.
He says these trends are also more environmentally friendly and inspired by nature through the use of products requiring less energy consumption, organic materials and serpentine shapes.
Tiffany lamps are in. A hot trend in lighting since they first became popular in the late 1890s, Tiffany style table lamps have retained their appeal to this day.
Bloom says they bring life, vibrancy and warmth to any room. New trends include glass patterns inspired by mission-style architecture and organic designs with vine and leaf motifs.
Bloom says chandeliers are back.
"The look is glamorous, sparkling and chic, and it's never been hotter," Bloom says.
He says that crystal chandeliers have the ability to transform a room space.
Mission outdoor lighting style is in. Brown says it is warm, inviting and understated.
"It's an ideal design style for creating long-lasting eye-appeal for your home from the street. The latest trends in arts and crafts mission outdoor lighting include fixtures in a range of bronze finishes."
Hot trends in bathroom lighting
Hanging sconces in the bathroom is in. According to Bloom sconces can be personalised to suit your style and taste.
"The sconces on either side of a mirror can decrease the amount of any unappealing shadows that may fall on the face due to overhead lighting. Flattering light is especially important in the bathroom, where the majority of grooming occurs.
Physiological and psychological responses to light
l Poor lighting causes eye fatigue and headaches.
l Absence of natural daylight triggers depression and poor immune defenses.
l Bright light stimulates us, while low levels of illumination quiet our senses.
l Dim lighting or harsh contrasts produce eyestrain.
l Too much artificial light and overly-bright rooms hurt our eyes and make us feel jittery.
l Insufficient lighting is linked to emotional stress and to physical ailments.
l Excess of unnatural light does not replace the calming effects of natural daylight.
l Uncovered light bulbs cause irritation and disturb tranquillity.