Who can live without light? Without light we could not be able to perceive colour, textures or patterns and more importantly we could not see the space around us and the shapes, forms and lines. Light is one of the most important elements of interior design. There are two types of light: natural and artificial.

Natural Light: The source of this light is our beloved sun. Intelligent orientation of fenestration will maximise the effect of natural lighting in a room.  Designers can then plan a space and choose colours according to the amount of natural light it receives during the day.

Artificial Light: Man-made lighting sets in the mood and ambience into a living space. There are three types of artificial lighting: Task, Ambience and Accent. Lets explain briefly each of them. Task Light: They have a purpose for a specific task like desk lamps, under mount cabinet light, etc. Ambience Lighting: This takes care of the total lighting of a room in general. Accent Lighting: Their purpose is to emphasis certain elements in the space. It could accent textures of a wall, art, or even create drama, rhythm etc. It usually can create an specific mood and style in a space. A savvy designer knows how much light a room would need and how to create the desired mood. The three lighting types should be included in any room to achieve a functional and effective lighting design. See image above.

Now that you know how to differentiate the types of lighting, we can go deeper into the complex of artificial lighting.

For many, many years we have been buying bulb lights by using “watts” as a reference. The only thing we needed to know was if we wanted a 100, 60, 25 watt bulb. In the lighting industry there are certain terms that we need to learn in order to obtain the lighting that we really need for specific applications. These words are “lumens” and “kelvin” but let’s start with watts.

  • What is a Watt? Watt is a unit of electricity used by a device or light bulb. In reality has nothing to do with  light itself.
  • What is a Lumen? Lumen is a unit of light output from a device or bulb. To put it in simple words, A watt is what you pay for(electricity) and a lumen is what you see (light).
  • What is Kelvin? Kelvin is the colour temperature of the light bulb. The three primary types of colour temperature for light bulbs are: Soft White (2700K-3000K), Bright White/Cool White (3500K-4100K) and Daylight (5000K-6500K). The higher the Degree Kelvin the whiter colour temperature. Kelvin does not affect lumens at all.

Here you have some tips to use Kelvin more effectively in your interiors:

  • Soft White/ Warm White: Good for bedrooms, Living rooms since they give a traditional cosy feel to the room.
  • Bright White/Cool White: Good for garage, kitchens and bathrooms. It energises and whitens the space.
  • Daylight: Good for basements, garages, for makeup mirrors or application of make up, drafting and intricate projects. It emphasises contrast and true colours are perceived clearly.

There are a variety of household type light bulbs in the market. The most efficient in energy usage (approx.16 times less electricity than incandescent bulb), life span is over 16 times longer than an incandescent bulb and a higher emission of lumens is the LED bulb.

Here are some of the most common conversions that you might need to know: 60 W is 900 lumens, 75 W is 1125 lumens and 100 W is 1500 lumens. Look for a light bulb that is at least between 2700-3200 Kelvin to get a decent quality of light.

Happy lighting!