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11 July 2014
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Good lighting

Lighting basics

Although it's often treated as an afterthought, good lighting can make or break your home. We may spend hours poring over paint charts, but it's actually the light that shows off a space to its best advantage.


Good lighting

Laurence and a light bulb

You might not realise you've got bad lighting but you'll recognise the symptoms: headaches and sore eyes, frustration in the kitchen at not being able to see what you're doing and arguments in the bedroom over whose turn it is to get up to switch out the light. Good lighting will make your home feel spacious, clean and welcoming.

The key is to create a flexible scheme that takes you right through the day and all the different uses of your room. At the flick of a switch, you should be able to transform it from a bright, vibrant living space to the setting for a romantic dinner for two.

Natural light

It's a fantastic asset to any home, but the quality of the light depends on the aspect of the room.

  • North facing: cold and harsh rather than direct sunlight. Artists choose north-facing studios because the light gives truer colour rendition.
  • East facing: bright first thing in the morning followed by long shadows and no sun later in the day. Use artificial lighting to control glare and maximise the available natural light in north- and east-facing rooms.
  • South facing: warm light all day, although it changes throughout the day and year. The midday sun is usually so bright it flattens everything out. Choose south-facing rooms for the kitchen, main living areas and other rooms you spend a lot of time in.
  • West facing: sunlight at the hottest part of the day, which can cause glare. In the late afternoon, you'll get long shadows and softer light.

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