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Design - Lighting

Dark and dingy rooms are unattractive and generally underused so it makes sense, if you want to make the most of your decorating investment, to ensure that rooms have sufficient light to make them appealing as well as functional.

Natural Light

Making best use of natural light makes sense:

  1. It cuts down on energy use and is environmentally freindly.
  2. It is free!

Switching on a light during the day is sometimes neccessary but best avoided. So taking the natural aspect of a room into account when deciding colour scheme seems a sensible consideration.

North Facing Rooms - have limited natural light but consistent levels throughout the day. Lighter colours are better suited. Darker colours will require artificial light but if the room is primarily used in the evening this may not be a problem. 

South Facing Rooms - have an abundance of natural light so most colours can do themselves justice whatever your choice. Pure whites would probably be best to avoid as they are likely to give you an in-house version of snow blindness!

East Facing Rooms - Light levels will change as the day progresses with a lot in the morning to less in the afternoon. Depending on the function of the room you can make the most of the morning light and select an appropriate colour and provide artificial lighting later in the day.

West Facing Rooms - the opposite of East with light levels increasing as the day progresses so function and artificial light will have a bearing on the colour chosen.

More detailed advice can be found at:

How Light Affects Colour Schemes

Artificial Light

When you are browsing books and magazines for design ideas always remember that the one thing the pictures will all have in common is perfect lighting. Proffessional photographers are obsessed with the impact of light on their subjects.

Depending on age the majority of property will have insufficient  built-in light to provide anything other than basic levels. Even electrical sockets tend to be at a premium due to the ever increasing number of appliances required in the modern home.

Adding additional lighting and sockets may seem a costly and daunting excercise but as part of a room redesign it is worth considering. This is particularly true if the project already requires skimming of walls and or ceilings because most cabling is built in to these surfaces.

Next Page - Lighting Plan

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Get enlightened!

Useful books to help you decide how to improve lighting.

Click on the graphic for more information.