Home lighting – decorative and utility lighting
Home lighting cannot nor even should be reduced to a single lamp placed in the centre of the ceiling.
Once only a practical issue, the lighting of today has become an important tool of the interior design and has gained the interest of many designer companies. So there are linear and spotlight recessed ceiling mounted luminaires, a whole range of suspended lighting, which can be combined in a variety of configurations in space as well as recessed surface and wall-mounted luminaires.
The decorative application of light has a bright future. Light helps to shape the space of our homes. We can make a room look higher than it is by directing light to the ceiling, or make it appear lower by directing the stream of light down around the room.
Undercabinet lighting produces a very interesting effect. Lighting solutions featuring lower parts of furniture with linear light directed to the floor produce an unworldly effect of levitation. A wall highlighted from underneath will create a mysterious ambience. This adds a new perspective also to house plants which seem bigger and more noticeable.
Floor lighting has mainly a decorative purpose and is used to highlight selected fragments of the interior with no particular practical application. When designing an interior, it is advisable to remember to arrange the lighting in a way that will prevent a discomfort glare.
The human eye is fond of diffused lighting resembling daylight. It provides a soothing effect and gives a feeling of comfort. Lamps and luminaires with a visible source of light cause an uncomfortable glare. Therefore, we are willing to use the potential that modern technologies have to offer.
When directed toward the ceiling, light scatters and is reflected from the ceiling's surface, which produces an effect similar to daylight. Light reflected from the wall surface works similarly though less naturally (daylight reaches us from above).
A surprising effect of a side light may be used when designing an interior. However, it should be remembered that light scatters only when an appropriate distance is kept between a scattering surface and a source of light. If the distance is too small, we will achieve an illuminated line instead of a highlighted surface, which could also be a nice effect, provided that it is intended.
A diffusion effect will be achieved by streaming the light through the transparent or semi-transparent materials such as glass, coloured glass (stained-glass), plastic material, blotting paper or some minerals (e.g. onyx). Glass surfaces can be decorated with various tailor-made patterns.
Tips to keep in mind when using accent lighting
Analogically, as in the case of the light reflected from a ceiling or a wall, the light source in backlighting should be kept at a proper distance from the surface. If a distance is too short, instead of illuminating a graphic element, we will achieve the effect of featuring dots and lines behind a surface. One should also remember about heat dissipation if the light source is recessed within the fitting. LED lamps are best employed for illuminating surfaces as they help achieve the most even effect with the smallest distance between the surface and the light source.
Similarly, illuminating stairs combines decoration and functionality (steps should be well visible to make stairs practical and safe in use).
Illuminating pictures is another issue. Usually, pictures are illuminated by display lamps. And most often they have a beautiful design but they fail to fulfil their function. Glossy surfaces of paintings or protecting glass panes reflect the light impairing the whole effect.
Therefore, for illuminating a work of art it is best to use directional reflector lamps mounted on a rail by the ceiling or underneath and moved away from the wall. The solution is flexible – it allows you to adjust the distribution of lighting to the current display (which sometimes changes). Obviously, it produces significantly fewer reflections from the surface of the picture than traditional display lamps.