The pandemic has pushed us to rethink – and appreciate – our living spaces more than ever. We’ve spent the past year sleeping, eating, working, relaxing, and dating from home. This phenomenon has increased the importance of multifunctional, well-designed rooms. By now, most of us have done some kind of renovation or organization project. If you haven’t done this, or are looking for another way to add functionality to your space, consider changing the lighting. Believe it or not, adjustments as simple as swapping out lightbulbs or adding a table lamp can have a huge impact on your office, bedroom, and more.
To help you plan your next home project, HYPEBAE spoke to four interior design experts about the importance of light and how to optimize a space using smart lighting options. Read on for their tips.
Color temperature is the key.
“Color temperature essentially relates to the tone of the lighting. It boils down to warmer and cooler tones, ”explains Katy Byrne, interior designer at Decorist. Danielle Blundell, Home Director at Apartment Therapy, breaks it open further, adding that light is measured on two scales: Color Rendering Index (CRI) and Correlated Color Temperature (CCT). The CRI is measured on a scale from 1 to 100 and indicates how accurately a light source displays the colors of an object compared to a light source with a perfect CRI value of 100. These ideal light sources are referred to as “black body radiators”, prime examples being sunlight and incandescent light.
CCT is measured in Kelvin (K) on a scale from 1,000 to 10,000 and quantifies the heat or coolness of a light source. The lower the CCT, the warmer – more orange, yellow or red – the light is. A higher number indicates a cooler or bluer light source. “It’s important to note that higher CCT is not necessarily better, ”notes Blundell. Both warm and cold light can and should coexist in a house (more on this later).
Alex Kember, a research engineer at Dyson, explains the importance of CRI and CCT. “By using a wide range of color temperatures, we can bring the dynamics of natural light into our homes,” he says, alluding to the role that daylight plays in our daily rhythm (sleep-wake cycle). “We need higher color temperatures in the middle of the day so that we can carry out tasks and remain vigilant,” he clarifies, citing a cool CCT of 6500K as the daily benchmark. In the evening, lower CCTs of around 2700 K – which leads to warmer light – help our bodies prepare for sleep.
Layered light is best for a living room.
Living rooms usually fulfill a number of functions: they are the base for a gathering of friends and family, a place to relax after work, and often the location of a television and media center. Layering light sources by incorporating multiple lighting options into the design of your living room makes the space suitable for a variety of situations.
“P.People use lighting in four basic ways: indirect light for general lighting; Work light for high-precision work; Feature light to highlight art or architectural features and ambient light, which is a warm, faint glow like fire or candlelight, ”explains Kember. According to Blundell, using a ceiling light with a dimmer allows for a seamless transition between indirect light and ambient light. “TueWith mmers, you can go from working on your sofa to watching a movie with the push of a button, ”she advocates.
Another must-have in the living room are floor lamps and table lamps that can serve as work lighting and ambient light. “An adjustable floor lamp is a great addition to behind a sofa for reading or doing something detailed like knitting, ”suggests Blundell. When entertaining guests, turn off your overhead lights and rely on floor and table lamps to create a cozy, intimate atmosphere. “P.ut floor lamps around the seat vignettes. You can use table lamps in addition to or instead of floor lamps if you don’t have space next to a sofa, ”says Brigette Romanek, founder of Romanek Design Studio.
Bedroom lighting should encourage relaxation.
“In general, the lighting in a bedroom can be softer and more atmospheric, as it’s usually a relaxed space to relax and sleep in,” says Blundell. Both she and Byrne recommend installing a decorative chandelier or ceiling light to create a focal point in the bedroom. From there, table and floor lamps can provide directional light for tasks such as reading in bed.
Romanek also advocates installing a rotating or swiveling wall light above the bed. “When reading in bed, you can turn the light down for easy viewing. If you want soft lighting, you will most likely tilt the light up to bounce off the ceiling for a cozy effect, ”she suggests.
To prepare your body for sleep, choose lightbulbs with warm color temperatures (low CCTs) as they emit less blue light. Use lights with higher CCTs that mimic sunlight during the day. Kember quotes Dysons Lightcycle Morph as a multitasking solution – the high-tech lamp supports both sleep and wake cycles by continuously adjusting the color temperature and brightness in relation to the local daylight. Smart lightbulbs like the Philipps Hue can also be adapted to the changing environment during the day.
Don’t forget your closet. “Closets aren’t always wired for lighting, especially in older homes and apartments. If so, I would add a battery-operated light above the head or stick-on wireless LED puck lights for some lighting, ”advises Blundell.
An office should have multiple lighting options.
When it comes to lighting an office, Kember urges decorators to think about the entire space, not just the desk. Desk lamps are a must, but ceiling lighting and natural light (if your office has access to them) are also vital. “Set up your work area near a window or in another naturally well-lit room, ”emphasizes the expert. Byrne points out that natural light can not only help your body clock, but it can also improve your mood.
In line with Kerber’s earlier remarks on color temperature, Blundell uses cool lightbulbs to aid focus and productivity, and installs them in overhead lighting and additional light sources like desk lamps. When it comes to desk lamps, Blundell recommends buying a lamp with an adjustable arm or swivel head. “Ideally, you want something that allows you to fine-tune or focus the position of the light beam to minimize glare and reduce shadows while you work, ”she explains. “Make sure the lamp illuminates your computer screen and keyboard without streaks or glare, ”she says. The position of your lamp can be adjusted to complement the intensity of natural light (if available) in your office throughout the day.
Keep the kitchen lights bright.
Installing bright lights in your kitchen can help keep you and your food safe. Romanek prefers to place strong ceiling lighting over kitchen counters, islands, and sinks. “Nobody wants to lose a finger chopping ingredients, ”she notes. Blundell prefers metal and clear glass shades for ceiling lights – “B.Other materials allow a bright, focused, and directional beam of light to aid activities such as chopping and cutting. “When choosing lightbulbs, choose those with high CRIs that accurately reproduce the color. “You could easily undercook your chicken if it looks white when it is actually still pink, ”comments Kember.
Under-cabinet lights such as stick-on LED pucks or strips of light can also help improve visibility on countertops, especially in kitchens with dark appliances, cabinets, and backsplashes (dark colors absorb light, creating a darker room). Blundell even adds table lamps to kitchen counters. “Not only do they provide texture and extra lighting, but they’re cozy, unexpected on kitchen tables, and a super tenant-friendly solution, ”she says.