You've invested a lot of money in your home, buying it, decorating it, and improving it. You've spent time and money choosing colours, creating the perfect Kitchen, gardens and landscaping, and all the matching furnishings. Get value from that investment and take it to the next aesthetic level by following these real and practical tips to make your home look and live better with lighting.
- 1. Update to LED - Save money, improve light quality and style
LED has been a revolution in home lighting. We now have a massive range of fittings available to us, all of which will cost 80 or 90% less to run. This revolution also brings us choices we've never really had before; for example colour temperature. Colour temperature is the Kelvin rating of the light that is being emitted. A light with 3000K or lower CCT rating will look warm and yellowish in colour, like candle light. 4000K - 5000K will look relatively neutral, and 5000K+ will look blue and electric. These colour temperatures can be carefully chosen to create the right look for a room, and even layered for extra dynamics. Updating your light fittings will add value and make your home look more modern.
- 2. Dimming for mood - Transform your spaces in a way wall colour and furniture can't
The absolute most effective way to improve the ambience of a room is to add dimming to the lighting circuits. There are some living scenarios where we want all lights on 100%, such as preparing meals in the Kitchen, or in a laundry or bathroom. However, there are also many living scenarios that would be better served by a more muted or subdued lighting look, such as a romantic dinner, or a movie night with the family. Dimming can be achieved simply by having your electrician add an inexpensive rotary dimmer to your wall switch, or you can add a smart lighting control system and enjoy the raft of added features these systems bring. Learn more about dimming here…
- 3. Schedules or Timers - Automate architectural lighting
Wouldn't it be great if we could remember to go around and turn on all our garden, porch, and external lights at the same time every evening, or go back to those rooms we turned on lights after 10 minutes to switch them off? But let's face it, we can't, we don't, and we don't need to. Enter light schedulers and timers. Simple and inexpensive technology is available to turn on circuits of lights at a certain time of day, then off at another pre-determined time. Timers will start running a timer clock when you turn on a light, and then turn them off 5, 10, or 60 minutes later, whichever you choose. Great for pantries, laundry's, and sheds.
- 4. Interior accent lighting - Highlight your art, wall hangings, feature walls, or anything else you love and want to show off
Have you ever been in a room, public or private, that looks incredible and inspiring, only to see it in daylight and be less impressed? This is the power of lighting. One of the primary ways lighting is used to make a room 'pop' is with accent lighting. The purpose here is to highlight a feature of a room without adding too much ambient light to the overall room. Imagine the effect of having muted lighting in your living area, then dynamic light highlighting your best piece of art, feature wall, fireplace, sculpture, or prized possession. Adding to the point above, you could have a circuit of accent lighting all throughout the house that comes on at dusk and goes off at 10 pm. Magnificent.
- 5. Architectural Accent Lighting - Show off the outside of your house with accent lighting
As above, I'm sure you can recall a building that grabs your attention when you see it at night, but is almost non-descript during the day. This is the power of Architectural Accent Lighting. Using spotlights to highlight some surfaces and not others can create an inspiring look to a building, add some feature light fittings and hidden lights exposing different surface layers, and the overall look can be stunning. Top it off with some garden and path lighting, and tree under lighting to complete the effect and have passers-by ogling your home with admiration. We have more on Outdoor Lighting here...
- 6. Motion Sensors - Improve the safety and security of your home
Keep everyone safe with fittings that turn on with motion to light dark paths, stairs, or entry points to your property, then turn off 1 - 10 minutes later. Very practical!
- 7. Lighting Control - Invest in a technology system that will automate all of the above
Make your home easier to live in while at the same time-saving energy and keeping your family safe. Choose from elegant light switches with LED labels so you don't have to remember which button does which. Group lights into scenes so that one button can prepare your home for entertaining, a quiet drink with the neighbour, a movie night at home with the family, or a romantic dinner with your partner. Lighting control does all of that and more. Read all the benefits of lighting control here…
- 8. Smart Bulbs - Add intelligence to your home
If you don't want to invest in a whole home Lighting Control system, you can still get some of the benefits by adding smart bulbs. From being able to turn them on and off from your smartphone, being able to group different lights together, changing colours and moods, dimming, and even doubling up as wifi boosters, Bluetooth speakers, or security cameras, smart bulbs can be dramatically helpful in making your home more functional and more livable. Learn more about smart bulbs here….
- 9. Oversized LED Filament Bulbs - add some elegance and retro at the same time.
Large LED filament bulbs in lamps or in pendants are a sensational look. Whether it be over the dining room table or as accent lighting in the living room, a dimmed, warm white, oversized bulb will make a room look amazing. G125 is the popular shape for large bulbs and usually come in the screw in or bayonet style base. Add some romance, warmth, and elegance with LED filament bulbs.
- 10. Experiment with Colour Temperature - layers and layers
We use rooms for different purposes. Your dining room could be hosting a book club meeting one night, a large family dinner the next, then a romantic dinner for 2 on the weekend. Getting the lighting right to suit each event can be tricky. For the family dinner, you want bright and dynamic, but the romantic dinner is the opposite, warm and cosy. The best way to achieve this is to 'layer' your lighting. You may have neutral or cool white downlights that can light up the room, or be dimmed right down; add to this a double pendant over the table with oversized LED filament bulbs that are warm white, like a candle. That's about the minimum you would need to light this room for the different purposes. If you were able to dim the levels of both lights you actually have a palette to change the mood of the room substantially. Adding more circuits like wall lights, lamps, or spotlights, will increase the versatility and available moods exponentially. We have a complete article on Colour Temperature here...
- 11. Light a path to the Bathroom for Kids
This is the most common benefit of a lighting control system when implemented. A sensor or 2 pick up movement near the kid's bedroom doors, if it's after say 10 pm, lights come on dimmed right down in a path to the bathroom. They then turn off after 5 minutes. No cleanups required in the hallways or closets, and no kids screaming because their retinas are on fire from turning on lights on full. There are ways to achieve this feature without a lighting control system. Some manufacturers have designed small lights that plug into a low power point and have a sensor that picks up motion, then a small light that's not too bright pointed down low near the floor. The main problem with these is having power points in the exact right location, and usually a narrow beam of the sensor, which means in some homes they will be too late in turning on and therefore ineffective.
- 12. Add more circuits
Obviously, this will come at a cost, as an electrician will need to come and run more wires, change the light switch, and install new lights. However adding more lights (along with dimmers) will make the greatest difference to the look, mood, and feel of a room. Let's say you have 4 old downlights in your Living room. If you upgraded them to dimmable LED's that are natural white and added a dimmer on the wall, added some dimmable wall sconces in cool white, then a nice lamp with warm white bulbs in the corner; you will have totally transformed this room. It will be capable of a multitude of moods and vibes, and better suited to many different purposes.
We hope you had some lightbulb moments (pun intended!) reading these tips. If you choose to implement any or all of these tips and successfully improve the functionality and look of your home, then our job is done. For more tips and great usable info on lighting in your home, check out the rest of our blog articles here.