Most people when constructing a house or buying a flat look for some standard features like location, frontage as per vaastu, interiors and furnishing but take lighting for granted. Lighting up the house or flat is not just a matter of fixing bulbs; there is more to it because correct lighting in the room is as important as ventilation, plumbing and aesthetics.
Good lighting can make or mar a well designed interior. The aesthetic beauty of your furnishings, flooring, wall décor and furniture get enhanced with the right amount of light thrown over it. It should reflect your personality. Interior designers lay a lot of emphasis on proper lighting.
Bad lighting not only depreciates the beauty of your home but also becomes a health hazard as it could lead to bad eye sight, headaches and frustration. Try working in your study or the kitchen in bad light to know the difference.
When planning the interior of your house, it would be best to engage the services of lighting experts who will advise you on power savers, brightness and light throws. Using a two-way switch in bedrooms is a good idea. Using light dimmers gives you certain flexibility in controlling the level of brightness. You may want to have soft lighting for a romantic setting, while sitting in your drawing room.
It would also make sense to have some knowledge about lighting per se. There are typically three basic kinds of lighting, each with its own function and a good lighting plan would combine all the three according to the need and function.
Ambient or general lighting provides illumination encompassing the total area in a level of brightness which is comfortable minus any harsh glare. This type of lighting enables clear and safe vision. Chandeliers, ceiling or wall-mounted fixtures are of this type and are fundamental to a good lighting plan.
Task lighting is lighting that is used to perform specific tasks like reading, grooming and dressing, writing and studying etc. It could also be used for lighting the insides of cabinets. Task lighting is generally focused light and should be free of glare and easy on the eye.
Accent lighting, also referred to as mood lighting or highlighting, on the other hand and as the name suggests, is lighting that accentuates an object in the room. It serves to enhance the artistic value of objects and artifacts in the room. This type of lighting is used to draw attention to paintings, wall décor, houseplants, objets d’art, and also to accentuate the beauty of the garden. It requires three times as much light to focus directly on the object.
Based on the size of the room, the height of the ceiling and the functionalities required you would need to place the lights: wall mounted or ceiling mounted. The area of the room also determines the brightness required. This is measured in lumens. A 100-watt incandescent bulb will give 1300+ lumens while a 20 watt CFL or an 18 watt LED will give the same lumen. Of the three, LED is the latest and the most efficient lighting option. Besides LED lights have a much longer life than the other two. Watt is the amount of power consumed by the light source and therefore the greater the wattage; the more expensive will be the lighting cost.
According to a study by the Ministry of Environment and Forest in India, residential lighting consumes 30% of the power. This can be significantly brought down by the use of CFLs and LEDs. LED bulbs consume 50% less power than either incandescent or CFL bulbs and last over 10 years. Besides both CFL and LED lights are cooler unlike the incandescent lights which generate heat.
Say no to incandescent bulbs; they are energy guzzlers. Opt for CFLs or LEDs instead. In case you opt for tube lights, ensure that you use T5 tube lights with electronic ballasts for these consume lesser power and lasts at least 2 – 3 years.
Image courtesy: newhomelighting.com
Stanley Varghese for IndiaProperty.com