There’s no place like home, and if we asked you where the heart of your home is, what would your answer be?
Some people might say the kitchen. Some may say it’s the conservatory. But we’re willing to bet that most people would say the heart of their home is the lounge because that’s the room where you can comfortably relax as a family, or on your own, safely away from the hustle and bustle of the outside world, surrounded by everything that defines who you are.
And that’s why getting the lighting right in your lounge is important because when you’ve got a room in your house that’s so special, doesn’t it deserve a little bit of extra care and attention to make it feel just right?
No matter how big or small your lounge is, you don’t want it to look like a mish-mash of different areas all smooshed together.
So, the first thing to do is give your lounge a theme. Take a close look at the colour of the walls and ceiling, the type of furniture you’ve got in the room, and what materials the furniture is made of. For example, if your lounge has a relaxed, contemplative kind of vibe, a glam chandelier, an ultra-modern pendant, or a dramatic lighting sculpture probably won’t cut it. You should probably consider ambient lighting that’s more subdued, like carefully placed floor lamps or table lamps.
Bear in mind, a lot of different activities take place in a lounge so even a small lounge is unlikely to have one main focal point. If you want to create a focal point, centre a large circular light (like a pendant) in the middle of the room for a visually balanced look. Depending on your lounge’s décor, circular lights are generally a better idea than linear, angled lights because they send the message that the room is a single, unified, carefully thought-through place. Angled lights, or pendant lights with sharper edges, can send a more disrupted message, and making the room feel less relaxed and more like a place that’s full of activity and broken up into invisible zones.
Don’t forget lighting combinations
We haven’t talked about layering lighting styles for a while, so now it’s time to remind ourselves what they are:
Ambient lighting (otherwise known as general lighting) is a layer of illumination that fills the whole room. It’s the dominating light source that makes everything in the room easy to see and stops you getting eye strain when you’re watching TV, reading your phone or working on your laptop. Ceiling lighting is the most effective way to create ambient light.
Task lighting is, just like the name suggests, lighting you’ll use when you’re performing specific tasks. It’s bright and directional, like a floor lamp, table lamp, or reading lamp, and should be positioned wherever the task usually takes place. For example, if you’ve got a favourite chair where you like to curl up and read a book, your task light should be right there beside you.
Accent lighting (or mood lighting) is the ‘cherry on top of the cake’ lighting that adds drama to the room and softens out any harshness caused by the task lighting. Sometimes they’re spotlights, recessed lights or track lights that illuminate any dark areas and highlight details like the fireplace or pictures on the walls. They can also be ceiling lights placed along the edge of the room to brighten up difficult-to-see areas.
Look at the lighting you’ve currently got in your lounge; are you already using lighting combinations? If not, think about how you’d do it.
Don’t skimp on the details
Have you ever walked into someone else’s living room, noticed a picture on the wall that isn’t hanging exactly straight, and spent the rest of your visit trying to restrain yourself from jumping to your feet and straightening it up?
It’s the same with details like lampshades. Whatever the type of shade might be – a pendant, a chandelier, a lamp or a sconce – make sure it’s sitting straight and turn the shade so that its seams are hidden. Also, be aware of any shadows and hot spots that are created by the shade clips. The best way to eliminate those is by using soft-white or frosted bulbs.
Make your lounge lighting controllable
You know how annoying it is when you’re nice and settled on the couch, watching your favourite TV show, and then you have to jump up to answer the door?
Isn’t it just as annoying when you’ve got yourself comfy and suddenly realise that the room has got a bit too dark so you need to switch your lighting on, or turn the brightness of your lighting up?
The way to overcome that is by installing smart lighting, so you can control it from your phone, your tablet, or even with your voice. Having smart lighting means you’ll never have to move the cat or dog off your lap to walk across the room and adjust the lighting again (which your cat or dog will be very happy about too), and it will even let you change the lighting colours (so long as you’ve installed colour changing bulbs) or turn the lights on or off in specific parts of the room. Smart lighting is a terrific addition to your home’s security too, because you can set it to turn on when you’re away, fooling possible intruders into believing there’s somebody always inside.
Oh, and you know what we just said about being nicely settled and then having to jump up and answer the door? We’ve got smart video doorbells at Oliver Lamps too, so you can see who’s there (and talk to them) without ever getting off the sofa!
Choose your bulbs wisely
LED bulbs are every lounge’s must-have. They’re energy-efficient, money-saving, smart-app-controllable, and incredibly stylish. They’re made for all types of lighting fixtures and can even look like traditional incandescents. Use ‘warm white’ bulbs (2,700 to 3,000 kelvins) in your lounge to create an inviting light. If the colour temperature of the bulb is higher, it will be a bluer light that’s much closer to daylight. That can make your lounge look like a furniture shop window. Ouch!
For everything we’ve mentioned in this article – and for all your other home and business lighting needs – Oliver Lamps is your one-stop lighting wonderland! Our showroom at 26/28 Oak Street, Fakenham, is always chockablock with great lighting deals and eye-catching lighting ideas or give us a call / drop us an email on 01328 855028 / [email protected].