Lightening the mood
It is a truth universally acknowledged that we Brits are all smiles when the sun comes out, so we all of us know that light levels have a big impact on our mood. A recent study by the University of Toronto has gone further, finding that the more intense the lighting the greater a person’s emotions, both positive and negative. Their conclusion was that under brighter lights emotions are felt more strongly, and, they posited, if you’re looking to turn down the emotional intensity before making an important decision or settling a negotiation you could do worse than dim the lights!
So, what does this mean for our homes? Well, whilst we’re perhaps less concerned with negotiations when at home this study does go to show the impact of lighting on mood and atmosphere and by extension the importance of carefully considering your lighting scheme when decorating a room.
Different spaces require different levels of light for both practical and aesthetic reasons. In some instances this is obvious – a desk or workspace requires sufficient light to work by – but in others the perfect solution can be more elusive.
A look through our examples below will provide inspiration and a few helpful tips when it comes to putting together a lighting design for you home.
Avoid harsh overhead lighting if you’re looking to create a relaxed and more intimate vibe. Build your scheme around an array of table lamps which will cast a flattering, low-level light. In an ideal world look to create a dedicated 5amp circuit so that you can control all of your table lamps from a single wall switch. Don’t forget your choice of lampshade – darker, more opaque shades can be used to create dramatic pools of light and coloured fabric shades can add a gentle wash of background colour.
Task lighting needn’t be ugly: well-placed, elegant table lamps will serve just as well as a more functional option, simply use higher wattage bulbs and position them carefully. Use a pair on a desk or either side of a mirror on a dressing table and they will provide ample light for your workspace.
Use sculptural forms to add interest, or pick an evocative form to create a playful mood. In a bedroom, ensure that bedside lights are at the right height to cast a good light to read by and that they’re easily accessible from the bed.
A natural central hanging lamp or lantern can really add interest in a dining room. Providing a pool of light exactly where it is needed over the table it makes a great focal point and is practical too. Combine it with table lamps (on a separate switch) on the periphery and fit it with a dimmer so that you can set the perfect scene.
Finally we couldn’t write a piece such as this without mentioning candlelight – the ultimate mood lighting. Simple and oh so effective, tried and tested for hundreds of years; sometimes the old adage is true, if it ain’t broke…