How to apply artificial light to your interiors?

Lighting has an influence on the mood and hence the behaviour of humans in the environment. It also has an impact on how spaces we perceived, causing positive or negative feelings. Light creates visual effects, including image, shape, intensity, perception and contrast. Light also creates biological and psychological effects that can impact the health and wellbeing of humans.

1. Light Colour

Three elements of light colours are brightness, saturation and hue.

  • Brightness is the amount of light given off by a light source, usually expressed in lumens or lux.

1) 100-200 lux highlight some perception of detail.

2) 300-700 lux are used well in kitchens or offices.

3) 1000-2000 lux are difficult to finish visual tasks.

  • Saturation is the intensity of a colour. More saturated hues can have amplifying effects on emotions, whereas muted colours can dampen emotions.

  • Hue is a colour or shade. It's have been proved that natural light can make you happier, but colours created by artificial light can also evoke different emotions and have other effects on the body.

2. Colour Temperature

Both the natural and the artificial sources of light present in your space influence its colour palette and ambience. You can manipulate the light's effect in each room by opting for a bulb that matches the colour temperature that suits your desired outcome. The temperature of light colour can influence our perception of texture.

The measuring unit for colour temperature is Kelvin (K).

  • Lower Kelvin numbers mean warm colour temperature, closer to a candle.

Warm light colour can highlight texture, such as bricks.

  • Higher Kelvin numbers mean cooler and indicative of a light that closes to bright daylight.

Cool light colours can wash out the texture.

2700K: ambient, cosy for social spaces such as living rooms.

3000K: calming, warm for social spaces such as living rooms, dining rooms.

3500K: friendly, inviting for kitchens, baths, hallways, hospitality and office interiors.

4000K: crisp, clean for garage.

5000K: Vibrant, direct sunlight for commercial and industrial interiors.

3. Types of Artificial Light Source

  • Standard soft white incandescent or LED light bulbs provide warm, natural lighting, making warm colours such as red, orange and yellow appear more intense and cold colours such as green, blue and purple appear duller.

  • Vintage "Edison Bulbs' add warmth by yellow. They are best used in a room that doesn't get much natural light and are also applied to complement warm paint colours.

  • Fluorescent lights give off a blueish, cooler light. They pair well with cooler paints and are best used in workplaces or kitchens.

4. Architectural Lighting

There are three key aspects of architectural lighting to create a successful balance between lighting and architecture.

  • Aesthetic is the emotional impact. It is where designers determine how they want people to feel when they walk around a space.

  • Function is to help us see. Areas should be illuminated so occupants feel safe when navigating a room. The floor and wall should be illuminated to create a feeling of reassurance.

  • Efficiency provides an energy efficiency solution by using LEDs.

To enhance architectural elements and evoke emotions, it's vital to understand spatial borders and how to properly light them.

1) Vertical borders

Light should be directed towards wall surfaces. If there is a wall that has a different texture, wall washing is a great tool. It will draw attention to the wall and make it appear as its own architectural element instead of a piece of an entire room. This can be used in retail shops to draw more attention to walls.

2) Horizontal borders

Light emphasised the specific area by illuminating it. It works well in dark rooms like cinemas and nightclubs to illuminate the floor. The accent light levels are too low and not enough light can reach the floor, thus requiring the floor to be illuminated. If light needs to be diffused in the room, lighting the ceiling can be a successful strategy. It helps create a uniformity of light throughout the room and provide proper light levels without using direct light on objects.

5. Types of Interior Lighting

There are three interior lightings, such as general lighting, task lighting and accent lighting.

  • General lighting is used for the overall illumination of the space. This type of lighting source provides basic lighting requirements to create an accessible space where users can navigate easily in a safe way.

  • Task lighting means an adequate amount of light for the function and that the intensity is strong enough to illuminate any spaces that need specific light. This type of lighting allows us to position appropriate light sources when it is most needed, illuminating specific areas and providing visibility for activities such as reading and cooking.

  • Accent lighting adds decorative elements and creates a strong visual impact. This type of lighting source can highlight certain elements like paintings, sculptures, an entrance or an architectural feature.

6. Lighting Position

1) Direction of light

  • When you position the light source in the front, the surface will be illuminated.

  • When you position the light source on the side, the texture will be highlighted.

  • When you position the light source at the angle, the shape will be outlined.

  • When you position the light source above eye level, it will trigger a feeling of restraint, which provides a formal atmosphere.

  • When you position the light source below eye level, it will evoke a feeling of individual human importance, which provides an informal atmosphere.

2) Psychological Impact

Artificial light can have psychological impacts on humans by positioning it.

  • Intense direct light from above creates a tense feeling.

  • Lower overhead lighting with some lighting with a warm tone in the room creates a relaxing feeling.

  • Bright light with a cool tone on the worktop with less light at the perimeter creates a sense of work or visual clarity.

  • Bright light with lightings on walls and ceilings creates a sense of spaciousness.

  • Low light level at activity space with a little perimeter lighting and dark areas in the rest of space creates a sense of privacy or intimacy.

Lighting is an effective tool to manipulate space. Using different materials, colours and textures with different types of lighting by positioning them differently can affect the way people feel and how they experience a space.

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