Lighting a room

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Lighting a room

The coolness or warmth of light is something to consider when planning or replacing your bulbs. A cool light in a room can look crisp if done well, or it can look clinical and cold. I like to use a variety of options for my clients especially in the bathroom, where they may desire a daylight color for makeup application(so that makeup isn't applied too heavily or in strange patches due to poor lighting)  and perhaps an evening color for a soak in the tub.

Natural daylight is the usual point of reference, but some daylight can be very cool. The light from a blue or overcast sky, for instance, or from a northerly direction is usually much cooler or bluer than the clearer, purer white sunlight overhead at midday (this is why I like to choose paint and fabric around noon and take the samples outside if possible, since the showroom light can influence my color perception).

You can use a Kelvin chart to assess the degree of warmth or coolness of light. The scale is given in degrees of Kelvin which defines the "color temperature" of a given light from blue through white, yellow, orange and red.

  • A general light (not direct sunlight, but blue sky) is between 9000-8000 degrees Kelvin
  • 7500-6500 degrees Kelvin is like an overcast sky.
  • 6000-5500 Kelvin is like direct summer overhead light at midday
  • 5000--4500 Kelvin is like a cool white fluorescent.
  • 4000-3500 Kelvin is late afternoon sunlight
  • 3000-1500 Kelvin is evening light.

Two of the warmest lights are the flickering of a candle and the kinetic light of a glowing fire.

The luminous intensity of a light source is expressed in candelas  (one candela is approximately equal to the luminous intensity of one candlestick); the amount of light energy flowing from that source is expressed in lumens . You can roughly estimate the lumen level of any room by totaling the lumens emitted from all the bulbs illuminating that room. For instance, one candle produces about 12 lumens, an 80 watt fluorescent tube produces about 4,500 lumens (57 lumens per watt). You can usually find these measurements on the packaging.

You can then relate these measurements to your specific needs. As a rough guide, you need a minimum of 2,500 lumens for intricate visual tasks, directed at the work surface. Casual task and general background lighting require about 1,500 to 2,000 lumens, with it arranged comfortably.
An Interior Designer can help with intensity, placement, color and purpose. I have placement tricks I use for seeing oneself in the mirror (to avoid casting unflattering light down), highlighting artwork or sculpture, and much more. Lighting effects mood and creates visual interest too.

I believe many points and options for lighting make a comfortable room. I like to put lights on a dimmer, and have different sources for lighting. Better lighting can really change a room!!

4 Comments to Lighting a room:

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Stacey Peterson on Saturday, November 24, 2012 4:48 AM
To highlight any specific corner or furniture lighting plays an important role so placing the bulbs should be thoughtful and after a profound study one should fix the lights to create an amazing mode over the room. Thanks for the discussion.
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Modern shams on Monday, December 24, 2012 7:17 AM
Thank you for discussing such specific content about lighting it was really awesome and useful as well.
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interior designer nyc on Wednesday, January 02, 2013 5:56 AM
The lighting effects for decorating the home and its all the parts are so much important and you are doing it in a better and good way . That you kept all the parts in a major category for lighting.
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Andaman and Nicobar Islands on Friday, March 29, 2013 1:59 AM
Thank you for the great article I did enjoyed reading it, I will be sure to bookmark your blog and definitely will come back from again. I want to encourage that you continue your great job, have a good day.
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