The lighting concept for your home
No matter how tastefully decorated, it’s the light that decides whether your room looks stylish and cosy – or the opposite. Developing a lighting concept to choose the right lighting for each room is a useful approach. Here’s what you need to consider and our tips on the right way to light your home
What is a lighting concept?
When planning the lighting for your home, the lighting concept describes the mix of different types of lighting. It’s no longer just about an overhead light hanging in the middle of the ceiling and deciding it's good to go. Instead, it’s about installing several light sources in a room to show it in the right light.
Which lights and lamps are best depends on several factors:
- What is the room used for? The rooms in your home have different needs and requirements. In the kitchen, you need a lot of bright light, because you’re chopping, stirring and washing. However, in the bedroom, cosy, indirect lighting and a reading lamp on your bedside table are probably enough.
- Are any natural light sources available? Where are the windows in your room? How much light gets in? Does the room have areas that are naturally bright or dark? You can use the lighting concept to address these.
- How large are the rooms and how high are the ceilings? Bigger rooms with higher ceilings require more light sources than smaller rooms. In principle, you should plan for about three to five light sources per room
Once you have answered these questions, you can decide which light sources to use. Experts distinguish between different types of lighting:
- General lighting: General lighting provides all the brightness you need in the room. Spotlights, ceiling lights and wall lights are good sources of general lighting.
- Secondary or accent lighting: In contrast to general lighting, secondary lighting is not intended to illuminate a room. Instead, it’s aimed at creating specific accents and a particularly pleasant mood. For instance, you can use secondary light to spotlight a wall, corner, pictures, sculptures or plants. Secondary lighting is often indirect lighting.
- Functional lighting: Lighting that is required to fulfil a specific function is known as functional or task lighting. Typical examples include office desk lamps or the reading light next to an armchair in the living room.
- Guide lighting: This lighting is not too bright and usually indirect. It’s used to guide you around the space. For instance, lighting strips can be used on the floor to illuminate stairwells so you can see them properly. Guide lighting is particularly useful combined with a motion sensor that turns it on automatically when you need it.
Colour temperature in the lighting concept: what are Kelvins and lumen?
A lighting concept should not only take into account the kind of lighting needed when and where, but also the light that makes us feel most comfortable. The colour temperature is a key factor here. Colour temperature, expressed in a Kelvin rating, describes the colour of the light provided by a particular light source. Essentially, light is broken down into three shades of white:
- Warm white: This creates a cosy atmosphere and usually falls under 3300 Kelvin. Ideal for living spaces, such as the living room or bedroom.
- Neutral white: This is more functional and practical and lies between 3300 and 5300 Kelvin. It’s useful for the kitchen or bathroom.
- Daylight white: This lighting colour matches daylight at noon and reaches levels of 5300 Kelvin and above. As it’s particularly bright, it’s more suitable for the office.
While the Kelvin rating tells us the colour of the light, lumens measure the quantity of light emitted by a particular light source. Since the LED established itself as a light source, wattage no longer plays a key role. If you find it easier to work with watts, you can calculate the lumen value by multiplying the wattage by 10.
Which light colour and brightness do I need in which room?
It depends what you like to do in the room. As a general rule: Warm white light is atmospheric and relaxing. Cool white or neutral white light has a stimulating effect and promotes concentration.Modern furniture with a stripped-back design looks best in warm white light.
How to create a lighting concept for your home
Slowly go through all the rooms and consider first of all what you do in each room and the kind of lighting (general, secondary, functional or guide lighting) you would like to use. Decide on the right colour temperature for each room. Plan how many light sources you need and their position. Find the right lamps and lights.
Living room lighting
The living room is the perfect space to experiment with combining different light sources, As well as good general lighting, you may need a bright spotlight next to an armchair for reading. Indirect lighting on the wall, a corner or bookshelves creates a great ambience.
Our tip: Your living room is a place to feel good in. Dimmable lights and warm white lighting help with this.
Dining room lighting
Dining room lighting should be fairly bright above the dining table – after all, you want to be able to see what you’re eating and who you’re sitting with. A pendant light that illuminates the entire table is a very suitable choice. It should not be too high or so low that it blocks your line of vision – at least 60 cm between the dining table and the light.
Here, less is more: a floor lamp or pendant light will generally provide all the light you need. Warm white light creates a cosy and intimate atmosphere. The general lighting should not be too bright, but make sure there are several light sources in the room. You will need bright reading lights on the bedside tables. A lighting system for your wardrobe that switches on automatically when you open it is another good idea.
Lighting in a child’s room
You should plan good general lighting for your little ones. LED lights, available in a range of colour temperatures, are a good choice. Children need good lighting at their desk or bedside table for reading or painting. Additional indirect light sources make children’s rooms cosy. Small children love night-lights.
The home office is a functional space that needs functional lighting. That’s why you definitely need a lamp on the desk to provide some focused light. Ideally, if you’re right-handed, the light should come from the left and vice versa. There should also be some general lighting in here to give your eyes a rest, perhaps provided by an uplighter. Rotatable clip-on spotlights attached directly to shelves are a great way to light up your books.
For the dining room, one pendant light positioned above the table is plenty, but a kitchen cries out for good lighting and natural white light. It goes without saying that work spaces in particular should be well lit.
Bathroom and toilet lighting
General lighting is often used here. This is best achieved by small, adjustable spotlights embedded in the ceiling. Another popular option is attaching lights to mirrored bathroom cabinets. In small bathrooms, this would provide all the general lighting you need. But make sure you install them on the sides of the cabinet so that your reflected face is lit evenly. Mood and accent lighting can add to the ambience.
Types of lighting: the benefits of LEDs
Nowadays, in DIY and specialist stores, you will find almost exclusively LED lights. The classic lightbulb has been banned since 2012, and halogen lamps were removed from sale in 2018 (apart from stock remainders).
LED lighting is now much less cold and unnatural than it used to be back in the early days. It is available in all colour temperatures and can create a pleasant ambience.
LEDs have many advantages in comparison to other light sources:
- low levels of energy consumption
- large colour palette
- very long lifespan
- low maintenance
- dimmable (depending on model)
- low to minimal heat
- no delay when switched on
The long lifespan makes up for the higher purchase price. This makes LEDs the ideal choice for the right lighting in your home – whether you’re looking for direct or indirect light.
Our tip: smart lighting
The lighting in your home not only creates the right ambience, it can also make your day-to-day life easier. Smart home lighting systems are now available that can be controlled and programmed via smartphone app or even voice command. For instance, the system can be set to make the light more stark and white early in the morning, as this has a stimulating effect. In the evening, you can set the lights to create a relaxing vibe with cosy warm white lighting. Smart motion sensors detect when you enter the room and adjust the lights to the right tone depending on current levels of daylight. Self-adhesive lighting strips can be installed on shelving or under the bed for indirect lighting and can light up in different colours. The Philips Hue is probably the best-known smart lighting system. However, there are now many different and more affordable options on the market, such as the IKEA TRÅDFRI.