Lamps & Lighting
Adding the proper lighting to your home is always a bright idea.
Ensuring you have proper lighting protects the health of your eyes, and can also add to the total decor of the room.
3 Main Types of Lighting You Should Ideally Have in Each Room
Ambient lighting gives an even layer of illumination in the room.
Maybe your room has an overhead light in the centre of the room.
Often these are installed at the time of construction.
Daylight from windows and skylights also contributes to ambient lighting.
Task lighting is lighting strategically placed for a certain purpose, most often from a lamp or pendant.
Task lighting can include a bedside lamp for reading, a pendant over the dining table, or a floor lamp beside your desk.
Accent lighting is pretty self-explanatory, it accents something, like art work, a fireplace mantel, or a unique design feature of the room.
Matching the Shade & Base
If you ever decide to replace a shade years after you’ve purchased the lamp, it’s good to know what the proportions are to getting a great match.
- To ensure a lamp doesn’t look top-heavy, follow this rule of thumb: Turn your lampshade on its side and make sure the diameter of the shade is anywhere from 3/4 of the height of, to the same height as, the base, and never higher.
- Make sure the shade covers the lamps harp (the “U” shaped metal piece that the shade attaches to) and bulb socket while leaving about 1” of the neck exposed. Harps come in a variety of sizes if you need to change the proportions.
The most popular shade materials are in classic neutral tones as well as black on occasion.
Each one is appropriate for either general (overall room) task (lighting specific work areas) or accent (add drama or focus attention in one place) lighting.
Silk: Because it is so thin, it is the most transparent shade material and is suitable for task or general lighting. Some manufactured fabrics now look very similar to silk and are less expensive.
Linen: Linen is thicker than silk, but still lets out plenty of light. Good for general or task lighting.
Pleated Fabric Shade: This softens light because the light has to go through a few layers of fabric. Appropriate for general or task lighting.
Parchment: A high quality stiff paper, this has a soft glow but light doesn’t penetrate it. Light is emitted from the top and bottom, making it good for accent lighting.
Kraft Paper: Heavier than parchment, a kraft paper shade emits a warm yellow glow and is used the same as a parchment shade.
Which Bulb to Buy
Incandescent: The standard clear or frosted incandescent light bulb produces a soft yellow-white warm light that is suitable for many applications.
Inexpensive and widely available, these bulbs are wonderful for ambient lighting and also task lighting when used in higher wattages.
The higher the wattage the hotter the filament burns.
Never exceed the maximum wattage recommended for your lamp.
Fluorescent: These bulbs have increased in popularity and their prices have dropped considerably.
Compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs screw into stand lamps and are extremely energy efficient.
Once known for only emitting a cool white light, fluorescent bulbs now come in a wide range of color renditions.
Because installing dimmable fluorescents is expensive, they’re best used for task or general lighting in rooms without dimmer switches like kitchens and laundry rooms.
Halogen: Halogen lights give off a white light, so they’re suitable for both task and accent lighting.
They are also dimmable and more energy efficient than incandescent bulbs, making them appropriate for general lighting.
Halogens burn very hot so make sure they have cooled before touching. Not all halogen bulbs are the same.
Different types have qualities that impact how long they last, how much light you get and how white they are.
Common Bulb Shapes
Globe LED Bulb
Twisted Fluorescent Bulb
Compact Fluorescent Bulb
Tube Fluorescent Bulb
Flame Shape Bulb