Layered lighting: lighting advice for creating the illusion of space
Lighting can quite often be the last thing that is considered when decorating your home. This is a huge mistake as the lighting in your rooms can make or break the desired look that you want to achieve. Small rooms can be transformed with the right lighting and a little planning can give an illusion of more space and brightness to even the smallest space.
It’s all about making your room look brighter and more spacious by reflecting a variety of light sources onto various surfaces around your room. Don’t forget that your floors can reflect light too, as can walls and articles of furniture, use everything you can to create ‘light shine’ through your room.
Layered lighting is a great way to maximise the light effect in any given room and can be accomplished quite easily, just take a little time and give it a bit of thought. Layering your lighting basically means having more than one source of light in any given space. You may already have achieved this to some effect just by using table lamps or down-lighting. Most objects reflect light, a smooth surface will reflect light in a different way to a rough one and a rounded surface can create a ‘shine effect’ that can illuminate as if from within.
Bear this in mind and use it to highlight certain things around your room such as a picture or ornament. When trying to create the illusion of space it is best not to use directional spotlight type lighting as this creates a pool of light that can make the surrounding area look dark and this may well work against you. Instead go for back-lighting where your light source shines from behind your chosen object or go for up-lighting in floors and down-lighting in ceilings.
When looking at your lighting think about the uses you will put your room to, a kitchen for example will need a fairly bright style of lighting easily achieved by under counter lights that reflect onto your worktop. This is important in the kitchen because of the work you do there like chopping, cooking and washing up. But bright light can also make a room look bare and uninviting so combine your brighter lights with some dimmer more directional lamps to offset the glare, also use dimmers to give control of the amount of light given.
A bathroom is often forgotten when you design your lighting and this is a shame as most of us spend a fair amount of time in this room. You will need directional light for things like washing, shaving and putting on make-up, but you can also create an illusion of space by having up-lighting or down-lighting that shines across a wall and draws the eye, giving an illusion of space. The general principal to remember is that light and brightness will give your room a feel of spaciousness whereas dim corners and poor lighting will make your room feel smaller, darker and more confined
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