The lounge is known as the living room for good reason. It’s the place where we spend a lot of time, be it socialising with family and friends, watching television or practicing a hobby. Considered lighting works to enhance the look and feel of a space, and plays an important part in achieving the right ambience.
The best lighting for a lounge is usually a balanced combination of different lights, which are determined by the main function of the space, as well as individual taste and style.
Uplighters illuminate from the bottom up, essentially lighting the ceiling. These types of lights tend to be very comfortable on the eye and create very little glare. Illuminating the ceiling helps to make a room appear larger than it is, which can be useful in small homes. Uplighters also make it seem like the ceiling is the source of light, and as it reflects down it creates a soft, even spread of light.
Uplighters tend to work best on white ceilings but have little or no effect on thatch or wooden panel ceilings. Uplighters with a dimmer switch, are useful because they let you easily control the amount of light in the room.
If it’s a decorative light that you’re after, uplighters are a great option. They can easily be used to light up a dull corner or take a subtle place behind a couch. They even work inside a large potted plant (be sure to use a garden spike so that you can continue watering the plant without the hassle of having to remove the light every time).
Opt for a glass diffuser on the uplighter if it’s a softer effect you’re after or play around with different coloured light bulbs for just the right amount of ambience.
It is possible that uplighters aren’t the best option for your space. That’s when downlighters work. Since they’re recessed in the ceiling the main benefit of downlighters is that they allow for an even spread of light.
They’re a popular a choice and available in a variety of styles and sizes. As a rule of thumb, downlighters need to be placed 1.5 to 2 metres apart but this also depends on the height of the ceiling and what the lights are needed for. Generally, the higher the ceiling the more downlighters you’ll need, unless you’re opting for a particularly soft light effect.
Downlighters are the best option for creating focus within a room, especially if you have a particular ornament or artwork that needs to be illuminated. For the best results use a 24-degree beam for focussed lighting, such as highlighting a picture, and a 60-degree beam for creating an even spread of light across a broader area or for passageways. A 38-degree beam is the most common option for downlighters, but they can create “archways” of light on the walls, especially down passages.
One of the best features of downlighters is that they are dimmable, which allows you to easily control the amount of light within a room. Downlighters also work beautifully as “supplementary” lighting if you want to illuminate the inside of a cabinet, a dark bookcase or the inside of a bay window.
TABLE LAMPS AND FLOOR LAMPS
Just like accessories complement and complete an outfit, table lamps and floor lamps add the final touch of lighting elegance to a space. In the lounge, table lamps and floor lamps are especially important, not only for illuminating specific areas but also for enhancing the decor in a space by acting as a bridge between the lighting and the furnishings. The lampshades of table lamps and floor lamps also come with their own special effect – the ability to beautifully diffuse light for a softer ambience overall.
CHANDELIERS AND PENDANT LIGHTS
There are lights for illuminating the lounge and then there are lights for making a statement! A chandelier or pendant light is a great way to create a focal point in the lounge or add a touch of sophistication to your living space.
Size is the most important consideration when selecting a chandelier. They are designed to “float” in a space so a fixture that is too big will overpower the space, while one that is too small will look out of place. It’s also important to consider the other furnishings and how this striking light piece will complement them. Chandeliers typically hang in the centre of the room, which could leave the corners dark, but table and floor lamps are a great way to remedy that.
If a chandelier is not quite your taste you’re sure to find your lighting solution in a pendant. Pendant lights are a great way to achieve a stylish, modern look in your lounge. Pendant lights face either up or down. Up-facing fittings diffuse the light to the ceiling, which reduces glare. Down-facing fittings are best for a more focused and intimate effect, though of course it doesn’t illuminate the ceiling at all. Down-facing pendants work especially well in small rooms
Wall lights can be made to work beautifully in a lounge, even if you already have a chandelier or pendant lights as a focal point.
Wall lights are best used to create an effect on the wall, to illuminate dark corners or to enhance the decor. As they’re generally fitted at eye level and have glass shades, the light from wall lamps is usually beautifully diffused. This also helps to reduce harshness and adds to a soft ambience.
On a practical note, wall lights are also ideal for highlighting pictures. By reflecting light off the artwork into the room, wall lights help to create a strong point of interest around your picture.
Occasionally it may be necessary to highlight key features in the lounge and a standard fitting just won’t do the trick.
This is where spotlights are very useful. When opting for this function consider using a compact fluorescent lamp (CFL) with a 180-degree beam, which will give a wider, more even spread of light. CFLs give off less heat than standard light bulbs, which also adds to the longevity of your lamp fitting. There’s also the cost saving of up to 80% and the fact that they last six times longer that makes them a popular choice.
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