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Edition 09

Balancing the room

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Successful designing for interiors is the ability to balance all of the elements in the room and lighting contributes to this measure  significantly. Thankfully it’s one element that can be altered, way after the floor coverings are down and the paint is dry, writes Arleen NJERI.

Room BalancingThe interior decoration of the room should also be prominent in your choice of lighting. Remember, dark flooring and walls soak up light while polished surfaces often create glare, light coloured walls and floors reflect it.

Existing spaces You must be wondering how I can incorporate lighting into my home right now without having to change hard wired fittings or permanent fixtures. This is easily achievable by the use of floor or table lamps that enhance and focus on room features.

Table Lamps : come in all forms and sizes, the shade can be a feature or selected to blend in with the existing decoration. It should also be used to illuminate a corner or as a task light beside a chair for reading or writing. The table lamp also features three forms of lighting; uplight / down light, task light or ambient background light. This is especially useful if it has dimmer switch.

Floor Lamp: This is similar to above but is used more for placing in corners to make a room feel larger by highlighting corners, or dividing up spaces when placed between two sofas

New spaces It’s essential to have a furniture plan worked out before you embark on purchasing lights for your new home.  Allow for general or ambient lighting – light that shines in all directions from its source. A central light source takes care of this. Secondly, when deciding on the interior lighting for a room, consider these questions:

a) What kind of mood should the lighting create? Candles hardly provide light, but they do come in handy for setting a romantic mood.

b) What different activities take place in the room?  Do you want to read, laze about or have a party.

c) What decorative elements do you want to attract attention to? Examples are picture lights obviously highlight art or pictures.

Room BalancingObviously, you should have various intensity of lighting in different rooms, by adding dimmer switches and by alternating your various lighting fixtures. Make rooms interesting by varying heights to add depth or separate areas of lights and shade. To summarize, use these lighting design tips to help with your decision making for the interior decoration of a room, the furniture placement, the function and activities to be performed in the space as well as budgetary and aesthetic issues. As long as you approach the task in a methodical manner, it should all be straightforward. Write down all the influencing factors, needs and wants for each room, use your plan and then set about creating the lighting design for each space.