Lighting and building mood, ambiance and atmosphere inside your home

In one of our last posts we touched upon how you can use outdoor lighting to set a tone and ambience in your garden and patio. To continue on from that theme, we’d like to go into more depth about how you can strategically use lighting to create a mood and aesthetic within the home.

Any architect will tell you that light is one of the most important aspects of any space. Light can totally change the atmosphere and mood of any room. A room with lots of windows, for example, will be very well-lit by natural light, and we might think of that room as having a lot of open space – whether it physically does or not. However, artificial light is just as, if not more, important than natural light when it comes to constructing an ambience within your home. The way a space is constructed has a profound emotional and psychological impact upon human beings. Particularly if your home has things like low ceilings, or restricted natural light, it’s worth considering the ways in which you can manipulate lighting to make a space feel more open and breathable.

Living room


Experiment with lighting control mechanisms

Controls add flexibility to the use of lighting in each room; for example, dimming to a lower level when the activity in a room changes during a social gathering or while watching a movie. Having the capability to lower lighting levels in any room allows you to save energy and money.” – Light Logic lighting blog.

A really simple and inexpensive way of giving yourself more control over the ambience of a room is to get a dimmer switch installed. They’re very affordable and easy to use, and enable you to manipulate the lighting in a room to your liking. For example, you might want to dim the lights during the early evening and light a few candles as well. This will immediately change the atmosphere of a room, giving it a relaxed and warm ambience. If you need the lights on bright to read or concentrate on work in a home office, a dimmer will of course allow you to do that too. It immediately expands your options and with little expense and effort.

Dimmer switches also save energy and your lightbulbs could last up to 20% longer on a dimmer system, saving you money and headache. There are also different types of dimmer switches, such as touch, slide, and rotary (perhaps the most popular). Dimmers are easy to install but if you don’t quite feel confident installing it yourself, your electrician can easily do it.

It’s not all just about ceiling lights

One of the least effective ways of building a real atmosphere in your home is by relying only on ceiling lights. They obscure the dynamics of a room and will really flatten out a space, resulting in a dull and boring mood – even if you have a dimmer switch. The best way around this is to place smaller light sources in different parts of a room. For example, wall sconces can make a room seem taller and more spacious, whilst establishing some visual dynamics through shadow. It’s important to remember that shadow is actually just as important as light when it comes to building an ambience. You can use it to obscure or highlight different parts of the room. If you combined sconces with, say, table lamps, the room’s atmosphere grows more complex and intense.

These are just a few ideas of ways you can use light to change atmosphere and shape an ambience in your home. Experiment with different control mechanisms, spread out light sources, and try to use light and shadow to your advantage.

(Photo by Stephen Thomas)

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