Lighting do’s and don’ts

Lighting is everything to me! I’ve blatantly walked out of house inspections because the lighting was horrible! From setting a mood to performing household tasks, or accentuating something in particular, lighting can serve many purposes. Without further ado, here’s my lighting do’s and don’ts.

Growing up in the open living spaces of Australia’s blurred interior/exterior architecture and holidaying in the ‘roll out of bed and into the pool’ villas in Bali, I knew I’d been spoilt! But when I moved to Los Angeles, California, I hadn’t budgeted to shop for floor and table lamps, along with a bed, from IKEA. Out of the four places that I stayed in LA, one of them had ceiling lights in living room and bedroom. One! I promise you, that isn’t an exaggeration either! Kitchens and bathrooms are the only spaces in a 19th century Californian rental that residents are supposed to use after sunset. “WTF!?”

Living in a share house, my bedroom was my safe haven, so I had to quickly figure out how to properly light the space in order to do everything from reading and writing, to eating and applying makeup. (I think I even did yoga in there a few times!) After scrawling through the endless amounts of expert advice, it took a ‘buy and try’ approach. Lighting is all about planning and takes an design experts eye for detail and space awareness to get it perfect, but here’s the do’s and don’ts that I learnt along the way.

Do's & Don'ts

DO layer your lighting. Using at least two types of lighting in one room is a good, basic rule to make sure you get a variety of functional and aesthetics benefits from your lighting.

Don't ignore the importance of task lighting. Particularly in kitchens, bathrooms and home offices, direct light will enhance visual clarity and won’t cause your eyes to strain themselves in order to perform everyday tasks.

DO use chandeliers and other decorative lighting pieces in unexpected places. A large lampshade pendant or chandelier in the bedroom will look just as beautiful and grand as it would over the dining table.

Don't just buy any old light bulb. A bulb that illuminates a crisp, white glow is better than a yellow bulb. Also consider the energy efficiency of the light bulb.

DO be creative with your lighting. There are so many lighting and bulb designs and lampshade patterns available today, so don’t be afraid to use your lighting as a decorative feature as well as a functional element of your home.

Don't forget about dimmers. If you can purchase a light that is able to be dimmed, this is a huge advantage and you’ll use it more than you think you will!

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I am a writer of the weird and wonderful happenings of everyday life with a focus on food & wine, design and travel. Dine With Design is your go-to source for feeding all of your dining, home design and travel cravings.

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