Decorating with light
The entrance to the home can be lit both in a rational and in an expressive manner. The entrance door of a home can be lit with a spotlight, illuminating the area surrounding the door, the name plate, and the bell. If switching is controlled by a sensor mechanism, a LED spotlight is recommended; otherwise, if the spotlight is always on, a compact florescent lamp will do.
This room separates the outer world from the home, and should be lit as such. Spotlights or wall fittings provide the ideal solution. If the hall opens up onto a corridor, an ideal luminous path can be created with medium-intensity LED spotlights, in higher number inside the actual hall. Wall fittings can emit indirect light, but this usually creates quite a dull ambiance; it is better to opt for lamps with glass diffusers that brighten up both vertical surfaces, including faces, and horizontal ones, such as the floor.
This room is the most representative one in the home. It is where family and guests meet, converse, play games, watch television, and listen to music. It therefore serves many different purposes, and should allow to meet a variety of visual requirements simultaneously. It is important to note that while adequate illumination criteria should be followed to illuminate the different activities, the overall result should nevertheless be cosy and appealing. In addition to general illumination, with an average of 100-200 lux, obtained with recessed wide-angle spotlights, if there is a lowered ceiling, or with fluorescent wall lamps, individual areas can be enhanced with a suspension appliance above the dining table, or with floor lamps near the conversation area.
Adjustable floor lamps can be arranged in the play area, while table lamps can be placed on sideboards and coffee tables.
In the reading corner, a lamp with a spot source, perhaps with LEDs, can be placed vertically above the reader.
The living room’s lighting system near the TV area should be adjustable, and the wall behind the screen should be lightened with wall washer appliances or with the diffused light of a dim table lamp, to soften the contrast between the background and the screen and allow more comfortable viewing.
This room should be bright but free from glare, with an appealing and warm atmosphere created by a harmonious distribution of light without excessive or glaring contrasts.
The table is the main element, and should be lit with 100-150 lux. A suspended lamp can be used, fitted at least 2.2 metres from the floor, matching the interior style and the colour of the furniture.
Appliances with warm hues and perfect colour rendering, perhaps including energy-saving halogen lamps, should be considered.
The walls can be decorated with wall fixtures to match the suspension lamp.
Visual requirements are very high in this room, both in terms of quantity and quality of illumination.
The criteria adopted for the studio should be similar to those used for the office work station: 500 lux horizontal illumination, elimination of direct glare and disturbing reflections on the work areas and the computer screen, adjustment of light flows to individual requirements and habits.
Floor lamps placed close to the desk, indirect emission wall lamps or suspension lamps can be used.
Table fittings with incandescent lamps can be used on the work top. These, appropriately oriented, can illuminate even tiny details. If a computer is used, a special lamp for video terminals can be placed at a higher level, thanks to the controlled-width emission. A table lamp with normal emission should, instead, be placed at eye level, with the light beam directed towards the keyboard, but not towards the screen.
To make household chores more comfortable, prevent accidents, and allow the necessary cleaning work, the lighting of the kitchen should feature specific characteristics:
- illumination level: 300 lux average horizontal light evenly distributed across the room, and about 300 lux on the working tops and cooker;
- lamps with warm hues and perfect colour rendering;
- appliances equipped with sufficient protection, as well as easy to clean;
- absence of glare, especially on working areas and on cooker;
These requirements can be met by using fluorescent lamps with a 12W/m2 output for general diffused illumination. If the room has large windows, the modules should be aligned with the windows.
Focused illumination on the working tops and cooker should be provided by recessed or semi-recessed adjustable spotlights fixed to the ceiling, or possibly under the hanging cabinets, best using LED sources.
Suspension lamps hanging above the table can be used for the dining area.
This room requires two types of illumination. First a general diffused light, of maximum 100 lux, if possible indirect or from diffused emission suspension lamps with adjustable flow to create a pleasant and cosy ambiance. Lamps with warm light hues with average 50-150 lux outputs, or appliances creating different light atmospheres by changing the colours or colour temperature, are recommended.
The second type is local illumination on mirrors, bedside tables, wardrobes, and desk, if any. Narrow-beam LED appliances on the bedside table allow to read in bed without lighting the entire room and, thus, disturbing one's companion.
Wardrobes should be illuminated with strong light, i.e. approximately 300 lux vertically and excellent colour rendering, obtained with recessed spotlights, if the room has a lowered ceiling, or projectors fitted directly on the ceiling.
This is a multi-purpose room. The kids use it to sleep, play, do their homework, and spend time with friends.
It therefore requires flexible illumination, to meet the needs of the different visual functions, considering that:
- youths need more light than adults do;
- the lamps will probably remain switched on even when not in use, thus consuming energy and developing unnecessary heat;
- safety should be a main feature of the lighting appliances.
Consequently, a general horizontal illumination of about 250 lux (10W/m2) can be obtained with recessed appliances with compact fluorescent lamps, if there is a lowered ceiling, or ceiling/suspension appliances, also with compact fluorescent lamps.
The homework desk needs to receive at least 350 lux directed towards the working area, using suspension lamps.
Wardrobes or shelves can be lit with spotlights, if there is a lowered ceiling, or projectors fitted on the ceiling.
In addition to meeting the aforementioned safety regulations, the bathroom should be brightly lit with lamps ensuring proper colour rendering. Clear visibility is required in this room, not just of the surrounding objects, which will look cleaner if illuminated with a 4000-5000 K cold fluorescent light, but also of oneself, in order to take care of one's body and appearance. The illumination of the mirror is crucial, and so is appropriate background light. The mirror and the surrounding area should be lit with at least 500 lux, while at least 200 lux will generally do for the rest of the room.
While lamp shades and glass screens can be of very different and bright colours in the rest of the home, they should be of soft colours or white in the bathroom, in order not to alter light and thus the colour of objects. For bathrooms or rooms fitted with water outlets, the CIE 64-8 regulations provide two drawings with specifications of the areas subject to certain measures. In fact areas close to water outlets are classified with numbers from 0 to 3, and differ in size according to whether the bathtub is protected by a box or not. No electric appliances can be installed in area 0, only boilers can be installed in area 1, while lamps of class II and with a minimum protection index 44 can be installed in area 2.
Area 3 is free, but here too it is nevertheless safer to use appliances with a minimum PI of 40.
Cloakroom and household areas
Illuminating cloakrooms, cabinets, and generally all vertical surfaces requires adjustable recessed lamps if the room has a lowered ceiling, or movable spotlights mounted on tracks, with high colour rendering, to properly distinguish the colours of the garments.
Such appliances should be arranged in front of the wardrobes, at a distance longer than the value stated on the appliance tag
A value of 100/200 lux should be obtained vertically.
Working areas (ironing, mending) should have brighter local illumination, perhaps obtained with lamps with an adjustable arm.