There are three basic types of lighting which
are categorized according to the intensity of the light used.
General lighting - It supplies an overall
illumination in the area.
Task lighting - It supplies the required
illumination for specific tasks such as reading , painting
etc. It directs strong local illumination without high general
illumination as required for activities carried in a
Accent lighting - It offers a decorative
element to the area by highlighting the particular objects or
features in the area. They are auxiliary to the general
lighting and provide an added , and at times , dramatic
dimensions to the scheme.
Spaces can be provided with one , two or all
types of these lightings , depending upon the requirement . With
different types of lighting in each room and dimmers to adjust the
intensity of light , an ordinary space can be infused with much
dramatic look to convey different moods to suit different times of
Light can define space , substance and style.
Outdoors , with the shifting sun and atmospheric conditions ,
light and the shadows change the appearance of things natural and
man made. But in the indoors, the play of natural and artificial
lighting largely determine both function and decoration. Today
lighting is considered to be a very important element of
decorating scheme. The invention of the incandescent bulb in 1978
revolutionized lighting systems as it allowed light to be easily
manipulated. Apart from exploiting natural light by using opaque
or transparent glass walls , sky lights , large windows etc. for
offices , architect work out the detailed light fittings which are
conducive for a work environment . In homes , a careful selection
of lights extends and enhances the aesthetics of interiors.
Similarly for hotels , showrooms , museums , gardens , water
bodies , individual lighting requirements are worked out.
Artificial light falling from various angles and heights on
different surfaces guide us to perceive various features and
dimensions while creating a specific mood. With technological
developments and the stress on precision lighting , a variety of
lighting fixtures are readily available with options which offer
manifold possibilities in terms of effect.
The choice of fitting according to the room ,
gets very difficult , one gets puzzled off as there are so many
varieties in lights like the table lamps , spot lights , clamp
lights , recessed / surface mounted lights , uplighters , halogens
, incandescent bulb , pendants , fluorescent fixtures and lots of
others. Once the basic idea of the space , mood , interior design
, highlighting , function of work have been specified , one can
then consider the basic types of lighting. Initially only the
planned positions of lights need to be decided. Later , the
selection of bulbs and the exact effect can be created. One should
always keep in mind some of the basic rules while designing the
Every activity that takes place in the
interior must have lights of the right kind , intensity and
the right direction.
The eye prefers even lighting with the
minimum of contrast between the brightness of the room
surfaces and the lighting fixtures.
The eye works best when the work surface is
more brightly lit then the surroundings.
The eye is stimulated by the contrast of tone
When room lighting change , color changes or
disappear , thus objects become more or less important in the
Planning and designing is a tedious job. Today's
bathroom wears a well dressed look , its design recognizing
people's needs to begin and end their day in pleasant
surroundings. It is after all an intimate personal place- perhaps
the only room in the house where one can be totally private and
get much needed peace.
For a relatively small room , the bath area
can use a no. of different types of lighting.
General lighting is essential in a compact
bath , a central ceiling may suffice.
Medium size and large size baths and
especially those with sectioned areas for tub , shower and
toilet will require several overhead fixtures.
The lights are general , recessed into the
ceilings or those over a tub or a shower must be watertight
and vapour proof . A minimum of 100W incandescent or 60W
fluorescent lamp is sufficient.
The most critical lighting in a bath centers
around the mirror area , this is the basic for good grooming.
For shaving , make up applications hair care , light should be
soft and diffused without glare or shadow.
Avoid lighting the mirror itself rather light
of the person looking into the mirror . The most efficient to
light up a person's face is to use three fixtures , one on
either side of the mirror and one overhead. Side fixtures
should be mounted 30" - 36" apart on the wall and
install about 60" above the floor.
Incandescent fixtures should have a minimum
of 75W bulb and fluorescent tubes on either side of 20W and
one tube of 30W or two tubes of 15W overhead. Additional bath
lighting for specific purposes may include plant lights to
take the advantage of bath humidity for growing the flowers
The study is the most important room for the
intellectuals , for students as this is the room where one builds
his carrer. In the reading room , one should plan the lights very
carefully as the intensity affects a lot on the eyes thus on the
In a study , the priority is to provide
adequate illumination for reading and writing. For maximum
pleasure of reading and for easier concentration , reading
lamps must have a proper quality and quantity of illumination
and be placed so that the light falls comfortably on the open
The complete room may be lit with powerful
uplighters , downlighters , or the general lighting may be
reduced to be supplemented with task lights as required . For
the study it is necessary that task lights be supported with
general illumination even if it is of low intensity to avoid
Care should be taken where computers are
placed , the task light should not produce glare or
reflections on the screen. Task lights for writing should be
positioned so as to avoid both glare and shadow.
If floor lamps are used as reading lights ,
then it should be 40"-49" from the floor to the
bottom edge of the shade. The shade should be moderately
illuminous to softly diffuse the light and eliminate glare ,
thus open top shades are preferred.
The bedroom is a place where one can be totally
oneself. It is the room where we spend the maximum amount of time
- to sleep , relax and unwind , after a long tiring day and
rejuvenate oneself for the tomorrow.
The lighting should be a soothing general
illumination . If want to highlight some paintings or
photographs , one can go for a task lighting in this area.
Uplighters look very beautiful , dimmers can
be very useful to play with the intensity of the light as per
Lights should be planned in such a way that
it must create a light , romantic , relaxing environment.
Table lamps or hanging lamp shades provides the room a very
SWIMMING POOL / FOUNTAINS
Water presents a challenging and rewarding
medium for lighting . Swimming pools , fountains , waterfalls
magically come to life with lighting effects at night.
For effective swimming pool lighting , the
lights are generally set below the water level , into the
sides of the pool.
This should be done while the construction of
the pool so as to keep the wiring away from water.
The lights should be placed to shimmer down
the deep end of the pool.
Fountains are effectively lit by submerged
narrow beam sources set near the base of each jet or falling
on the flowing water casting a color and sparkle on it.
Waterfall comes to life when lit from behind.
Garden is a place where man interacts and is
near to the mother nature even at the time when we are on the
verge of destroying it.
Lighting should be planned according to
desired landscape lighting effects as well as providing
adequate light for walking , security etc.
All lights , wiring and metal work should be
able to resist weather conditions for a prolonged period of
time like dust , moisture and corrosion.
The lighting should illuminate select areas ,
should create striking effects and keeps what is to be
concealed in shadows.
Thus , the way of lighting drastically
changes the way of living and mood of the environment. So one
must be very careful while planning the lights and choosing
the fixtures as in the end , if worked carelessly , it can
result into mis match of everything.
MAINTAINING THE LIGHTING SYSTEM
The term lighting refers to the useful energy
output of a system consisting of light sources , fixtures to
support them in appropriate locations , wiring channels to
activate the light sources and the convenient electrical controls.
Here are the tips on how to maintain the lighting system in
different rooms according to the ambience .
LIVING ROOM lighting : The living room is the
core of domestic life. People decorate them according to their
interest , but the one element that is common to all is the
intangible style , which is not dictated by prevailing trends or
large amounts of money. Here are some basics how to illuminate it
Establish an adequate general illumination
level to reduce the accent light , brightness , contrast.
Illuminate an entire wall with overhead
fixtures to provide background for room furnishings.
Feature window areas with the cosmic
Indirect light like that under a pelment or
above a cabinet will supply soft uniform illumination.
Use dimmers to program lighting moods.
Play up with the architectural features like
aala , niches , mantles etc.
Highlight artwork and plants with individual
Be sure that the floor , table and hanging
fixtures have adequate shades to prevent glare.
Plan adequate lighting to handle a variety of
family activities like rack for display.
Bar area could use incandescent light to play
up sparkling glassware. Lighted shelves or fluorescent
fixtures under the front edge of bar are effective.
The decor of dining room depends upon the
culture of the family. A dining room can change the style of
eating. So one should be careful while playing with the lights to
make the environment relax and easy.
One must keep the visual emphasis off the
ceiling and walls and on the décor of food and guests.
Ceiling down lights should fall and focus
primarily on dining room table surface.
Candles and fuel lamps in decorative holders
can add special touch to any meal.
Buffey or service areas and
chinaware/silverware/crockery displays deserve special
Kitchen is a place where a lady spends her
maximum time so it should have comfortable and fresh feeling.
Today's kitchens are far removed from the dark dingy spaces one
General lighting for a kitchen should be well
distributed , uniform and as shadow less as possible.
Fluorescent fixtures reduce the energy
demands without sacrificing illumination.
Even if there is window in the kitchen ,
install down lighting over a sink for cloudy days or nights.
Special lighting for key work areas can be
installed in the ceiling or in the upper cabinets.
Provide light for storage areas in pantry or
wall cabinets overhead or shelf mounted brackets will do the
CREATING MOOD WITH COLOR
Color has a profound effect on our mood. In
clothing , interiors , landscape and even natural light , a color
can change mood from sad to happy , from confusion to intelligence
, from fear to confidence. Particular colors have different
effects on each individual . Response to a color may be influenced
by a number of factors such as the body's need for a specific
color , a sad or happy memory associated with a color. In previous
decades , certain colors or group of colors dominated every
palette . Now in millenium , the stopper is out and uniqueness and
personal preferences are really in. There are no absolutes in the
world of color. Some colors make you want to get out of your chair
, others make you want to nestle down and read. Some colors are
articulate and must be listened to. Others are very quiet . Some
colors indicate that you have travelled or are well read. Yet
others create a desire for closeness , intimacy and love.
Following are some of the most typical responses to various color
NURTURING NEUTRALS : These colors create a sense
of peace and well being. They foster quiet conversation with
family and friends and can dispel loneliness. Throughout time ,
mankind has found a sense of peace and tranquility when in touch
with " Mother Earth " . It follows that colors which
impart a sense of warmth and serenity come directly from the
earth. In addition to the earth colors in the neutral group are
colors associated with sea such as sand , shell , coral , pearl ,
stone , seaweed. GREEN is a color which helps us to adjust to new
environments and situations. It will always be found among the
'nurturing neutrals'. The BLUES represented here will range from
winter sky to stream to midnight. The neutrals are somewhat like
the furniture while other palettes are more like accents or
INTELLECTUAL COLORS : These are the sharp ,
witty and unique colors which convey a message that the owner has
travelled , is well read and has something to say. These colors
will command respect without being overbearing. This palette also
starts with a earthy , warm base. Grey is a color which promotes
creativity and will often be found in foundation of an
intellectual palette. These greys will be warm and gentle. Some
tones of blue suggest communication and trust , so it will
naturally be found in the intellectual palette. Navy blues will
often find their way in this palette , but its effect is warm and
never cold and fragile. Red also appears in this intellectual
palette , but the shades will be earthy and complicated burgundy ,
PLAYFUL COLORS : These colors are exiting and
used for a fun providing environment These playful , whimsical
palettes create their own kind of music , like the sounds of
children playing. There are highs and lows , lights and darks and
always movement and activity. Used in active spaces within the
home , a 'playful' palette can add energy and vitality. But if
overdone , this type of palette becomes irritating and stressful.
The foundation of this palette is WHITE . This could be anywhere
from vanilla ice cream to snow drift to winter moon. Then comes
the bubble gum pink , buttercup , wintergreen , all the berry
colors and crayon colors. Many of these colors will be cool , and
even in lighter tones there will be brightness and clarity. The
bottom line in creating this type of palette is that the colors
should suggest a sense of freedom , play and downright fun.
HEALING COLORS : This palette includes the
colors which are very refreshing and rejuvenating. Like nurturing
colors , 'healing colors' also begin by getting in touch with
nature. The first group of colors considered in this palette is
GREEN. Because they have the power to help us adjust to new
environments , skillful designers use lots of plants and other
forms of green . Healing greens may be warm or cool , but not
muddy or mysterious like those in the intellectual palette.
Healing palettes also take inspirations from warn earth tones.
These palettes usually contains contrast as well as a clarity of
color that is inspiring. They will include a range of lights and
darks but will never be muddy.
ROMANTIC COLORS : Many species including the
human beings attempt to attract the opposite sex with colors. RED
is the color of sex and lust and is often called the most romantic
of colors. It is no accident that red is the chosen symbolic color
for the Valentine's Day. In interior design , however , a less
intense , softer tone of red is far more conducive to romance than
the pure hue. Often referred as PINKS , these colors vary from
cool to warm and from light to dark. Pinks have an interesting
quality that seems to halt the body's ability to stay angry.
PURPLE is another color which is definitively romantic because of
its passionate , unpredictable and quixotic characteristics. Paler
, less intense tones of ORANGE such as apricot and peach are often
included in the romantic palette , suggesting purity and
innocence. BLUES in the romantic palette will be cool and inspired
PERSONAL STYLE : There are no trends in color as
important as personal style. Today , most designers draw from many
historical periods as well as contemporary influences and mix them
together to create unique personal spaces. The most effective
color palettes reflect and enhance the interests , collections and
activities of the people who live there as well as architectural
The effects of color on mood will vary from
individual to individual. Color schemes have emotional messages
too. An awareness of the emotions generated by different colors is
helpful in planning personal palettes that will be pleasant to
live with , but it must be understood that this information is not
absolute. Subtle changes in tone can increase or decrease the
emotions evoked by a particular color , allowing it to be included
in many diverse palettes.