Have you ever been to a friend’s house where all their furniture looks great, the room is spacious, and yet, something just feels …off? We are not talking about Feng Shui, but lighting. Specifically, the quality of light in a given space.
Think of it as a photoshoot. Aroom can be over or underexposed, lights can be too harsh or just sometimes the lighting can be just an awkward colour rendering. Let’s focus on two aspects of lighting: the brightness, sometimes just defined by lumens, and the color temperature, often defined by the K or Kelvin.
The higher the Lumens, brighter the light.
A couple of things to consider:
1) What you are using it for?
2) Wow big is the room?
3) What other light sources are there?
You should choose a brightness that makes you comfortable. A seasoned designer might be able to estimate how much light is needed in each area, but if you are doing it on your own, sometimes it’s just a matter of trial and error. Many houses are designed to have pot lights and other forms of ambient lights. Often, the chandelier is only meant for decorative purposes, so do test various types of lightbulbs with different brightness to see what works best. Of course, with the invention of the dimmer switch, you now have greater flexibility. However, do pay attention to the lights and the switches you have. Not all lights support dimming and there are different technologies that may not be compatible with each other. (LEDs vs CFLs)
Setting the mood with color temperature.
Unlike brightness, the light temperature is a bit harder to describe. Generally, a lower the Kelvin reading means a warmer tone, while a higher Kelvin reading of a bulb emits a cooler light. For reference, most lights you see are between 1,000K – 10,000K with the typical white fluorescent lights being around the 3500-5500k range.
A general rule of thumb is that warm lights promote relaxation. So, it is more typical for people to use warm lights in bedrooms or living rooms, where people want to relax. The reverse is true as well. People often use whiter/cooler tones in areas that they want to stay awake in like the office or certain areas of the kitchen. However, cooler lights typically appear brighter to the eye, even if the Lumensare the same. Again, the use of different temperature lighting would depend on the purpose of the space and your personal preferences.
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