When anyone asks whats my #1 room makeover hack, my answer is always the same: Lighting.

Little surprise then that I’m building a company around lighting, is it!

Here’s why:

It sets the tone of the room. Need to get some work done? Turn up all the lights around your table. Looking for a relaxed evening of pampering and de-stressing? Dim the lights and instantly feel refreshed. Lighting can drastically change the look and feel of a room.

It helps define the perceived size of the room. There’s some science behind this, though I’ll just make it easy for you. Light bounces off the surface of walls. Natural light creates an illusion of space, and the more we have our living room lighting look natural, the wider the space will appear. Done right, lighting can open up your space.

Its so easy to instantly make over your room by exchanging a few of your old lighting pieces for new ones. Table, Floor Lamps are easy enough to replace and can be shuffled around from room to room for a new look!

Convinced? Here’s the next pro tip: Layer your lights to multi-purpose your living room.

Why Layering your lighting is important:

Every type of light has a reason. It can range from general illumination to specific focus lights for your artwork. Layering your lights to cover the three main essential lighting types can help you achieve a versatile and flexible well-lit living room.

Not to mention, putting together various textures, fabrics and materials can be insanely fun!

Layering allows you to emphasize different parts of your living room based on what you’re looking to achieve. Lights can be functional, practical or just plain decorative, layering them around helps bring out the best of your space.

The key here is to understand the three main types of lighting and how to make it work for you. Namely, Ambient, Task and Accent Lighting.

Ambient Lighting
Ambient lighting, put quiet simply, is the general illumination in your room.

Its what helps you walk around without bumping into furniture, and offers enough light on its own to generally lighten up your room.

Depending on your architecture & decor, it could range from recessed wall / ceiling lights, track lights, or even natural light. The ideal is natural light of course, so the best bet is to invite as much of this as possible – with skylights, large windows, and sheer curtains.

Post daylight, you’re left with a whole lot of options to brighten up your room, and that’s where your creative side can go to town. Pair your favourite table & floor lamps and watch them cast a warm ambient glow to your space. Or, pick a chandelier and watch it dazzle your living room.

Main goal is to keep ambient lighting as flat and natural as possible.

Task Lighting
Task Lighting is just as the name suggests, light that supports you as you perform a task.

Reading, writing, dressing up. Pretty much everything. Remember the table study lamps from your school days? That’s task lighting for you. Arrange it just around your place of work – your table, lounge chair, or dressing table, and you’re all set.

Task lights are largely used to help you focus, and hence are inherently in contrast with ambient lights. Using task lights just over your work place is more beneficial than using harsh bright light all over your room.

Most task lights have an extendable / moveable arm and can be moved around however you see fit, though you can always opt for pendants / drum lights as we have in this room:

Accent Lighting
Museums, Art galleries, all use Accent Lights to focus on an object. They’re best used when you want to highlight some parts of your living room decor / architecture and shadow off others.

They’re great for adding drama, since accent lights are highly focussed and concentrated lights. If you’ve noticed, these lights are great for drawing eyes to singular pieces of art on walls and possibly to landscape as well.

Play around with wall lights, track lights and even pendants to bring out the best in your living room!

I hope this guide has helped you identify the different aspects of lighting and why they’re important. Go forth, get crazy with layers! Do share your thoughts with me via email at anu@whiteteak.com.