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How to Light for Drama and Impact: a room by room guide

Fri 02 Aug 2013

The right lighting can totally transform a room, eliminating the need to redecorate or refurnish. Though it works in some cases, the default of a single pendant light in the centre of a ceiling tends to wash out colours and create an oppressive feel. Layered, directional lighting customized to a room’s function will instead create a relaxed or focused, invigorating interior.  Check out our room-by-room lighting guide that will help you decide what’s right for your home.

1. Step into the hallway

Hallways are your chance to make a strong first impression. Go for a warm, welcoming, and well-ordered feel. Soft lighting promotes this approachable ambience, and works well in this rare space that’s unlikely to need bright or direct lighting. It’s a chance to pick unusual lighting fixtures like chandeliers and lanterns. Plus, you can enhance the feeling of space in what is sometimes a cramped area with large mirrors to reflect and magnify your lighting features.

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2. Dining Room Delight

This hub of social entertainment needs adequate lighting above the table. Something like a pendant light or track light works well, keeping the table as the practical focus of your dining room. Wall fixtures and uplighters create a warm feel in the rest of the room, maintaining a soft lighting while preserving a relaxed ambience.

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3. What’s Cooking, Good Looking?

Practical lighting is a vital component of the well-equipped kitchen. Ceiling spotlights and directed under counter fixtures throw light on your culinary efforts while creating a bright, clean feel. Using your kitchen as a dining area too? Invest in a dimmer switch to mellow the atmosphere when its time to stop cooking and start eating.

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4. Lighting your living room

Adjustable, functional and easily controlled lighting is the key in this family-focused chill out room. Make the most of natural daylight here, too. For ultimate flexibility in your living space, go for a combination of ceiling pendant light, track lighting, and softer uplighters.

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When placing lighting, think about where your TV is mounted and main pieces of furniture are located. Do they need a direct or diffused light? Dimmer switches are ideal for living room situations where TV screen glare is an issue.

Written by Penny Tristram