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It’s a proven fact that good lighting in a space has all kinds of positive psychological, and even physical effects. But, it also has a visual effect on your space, too. This is not even to mention how much you’ll save on electricity bills when you use lighting strategically.

To talk about how to maximize, and optimize natural light in your space is writer Daniel Frank. Read and be enlightened! 

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Lighting is one of the key elements of interior design. As well as allowing people to see your beautiful design it can also enhance the mood and save you money. When you plan the room you will need to take into account at least three different types of lighting; ambient, accent and task lighting.

Ambient lighting is usually the most important being the background light that will allow people to see the room and set the tone. Task lighting is light focused on a specific spot to make it easier for a task to be done. For example a reading lamp set over a desk.  Accent lighting is lighting positioned to enhance decoration, for example recess lighting positioned to illuminate a picture.

Ambient natural lighting by direction of exposure

Ambient lighting can make a lot of use out of natural light, though it is worth looking at how the effect that the direction that the light comes from has.

  • North facing rooms only get reflected sunlight meaning that light often has a cold flattening quality caused by the large amount of blue light reflected into the room. This is great for artists as it gives the ‘truest’ light and is consistent throughout the day. However it is easy for north facing rooms to look cold. This means that bright and warm colours will fit it well. Roller blinds and sheer curtains can also help by diffusing the light to create a warmer impression.
  • East facing rooms get direct light in the morning as the sun rises but far less light in the evening. The low angle of the sun in the morning means that they will often get a lot of blue light, meaning that warm colours and lamps will help you to wake up. Venetian or vertical blinds work well in these rooms by letting the sunlight in, but preventing it from shining straight into your eyes.
  • South facing rooms get the benefits of direct sunlight on them for most of the day making them warmer and better lit than others. However they can almost get too much light, making bright colours and whites overwhelming. Neutral colours and creams tend to work very well in this light and as the direct sunlight will bring out the underlying warmth.
  • West facing rooms will be dark in the morning but brighten up as the sun moves to the west. They usually get the most heat as not only is the early afternoon sun the warmest but the evening sun often shines directly into them. Wooden blinds offer a great way of preventing glare whilst still allowing light in.

There are number of ways you can increase natural lighting, from simply extending your windows to putting in light shelves, skylights and light tubes to reflect light deeper into the house.

Lighting to create the right effects

There are a number of different lights out there for when the evenings draw in and careful application with help create a truly memorable effect. For a warm and cosy effect a central ceiling light, with lamps positioned to cover those areas it can’t reach is very effective. A more modern approach would be to fit recessed lighting into the ceiling which allow for greater coverage and a less obtrusive approach. Recessed lighting is particularly useful in rooms with low ceilings as there is no need to worry about coverage. It might also be worth considering up lighting for a warmer more relaxed effect.

Task and accent lighting

Task and accent lighting should be applied when and where needed, whether this is just a reading lamp on your work desk or an array of spot lights highlighting your favourite artworks. Normally you would want both of these types of lighting to be as unobtrusive as possible. With task lighting you should also consider the position of the person undertaking a task. For example there is little point having a spotlight pointed at your stovetop burners if the stove is going block the light when cooking. Under cabinet lighting is great at avoiding this pitfall.

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Thanks, Daniel!

Daniel Frank is a blogger writing on behalf of Wooden Blinds Direct, an online supplier of quality blinds at discount prices. 

Cheers, 

Rob.

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Cate Morgan-Harlow

Cate Morgan-Harlow is an all arounder, writing about how-to, DIY, and design with gusto. She is a shadowy figure with a mysterious past.