When it comes to interior design, many people don’t consider the specific type of lighting that would work in each room. However, lighting can be an integral part of a complete interior design. One of the best options to help cut down on energy expenses while providing the ideal lighting for any space is LED lighting. Oftentimes homeowners and interior designers might select traditional lighting over LED options, but there are several benefits that come with choosing an LED lighting design for the home.
This guide will cover how to select and use LED lighting to both provide sufficient illumination for the home and complement the rest of your interior design.
What Is the Difference Between LED Lighting Design and Traditional Lighting?
Light Emitting Diodes (LED) lighting uses diodes, which are electrical devices that enable current to travel through it in one direction more quickly than it can in the other direction. In LED lights, diodes emit light as the current travels through it.
Traditional, or incandescent, lighting functions by emitting light when an electric current travels through a filament. Traditional bulbs use tungsten for filaments that gets hot as it glows. Subsequently, they use more energy than LED bulbs, as LED bulbs are 25 to 80 percent more efficient because of the lack of heat. LED bulbs can also last around three to 25 times longer than incandescent bulbs. LED lighting is also a great option if your home uses a portable generator or solar panels, which makes them ideal for remote locations.
The Impact of LED Lighting on Psychology and Physiology
LED lighting can have several mental and physical effects on people depending on a number of factors. Some specific effects of LED lighting include:
Positive and negative emotions are more intense in bright lighting Overabundance of lighting at night, including lighting from televisions and other electronic media, can cause sleeping difficulties and worsen sleep disorders Natural light via daylighting can make workers and students happier, healthier, and ultimately more productive while decreasing energy costs
With the right arrangement of LED lighting in a home or facility, you can optimize the mood of any space and promote a happy and healthy environment. LED lighting design is both an art and a science that can impact mood, sleep, and appetite.
Main Factors to Consider When Buying LED Lights
Brightness levels are determined by LED light lumens and wattage. High wattages and lumens will make for a brighter light. LED lights typically range from 9W to 22W, while others can go as high as 28W. LED lights also normally range from 450 lumens to 1600 lumens. You might want to use bright LED lights for dining room settings where relaxation is the desired effect, but it’s important to avoid making the room brighter than it needs to be.
Lighting Color Temperature
Color temperature relates to the overall mood and appearance of the lighting. For example, your lighting might be warm yellow light that encourages relaxation or cool white light that makes for a more productive work environment. You can determine color temperature based on the heat, which is inversely proportional based on Kelvin. For instance, a 3,000 Kelvin LED light will be warmer while a 5,000 Kelvin light equals daylight. You’ll want to select a color temperature that matches the space’s personality and sets the mood you want for it. Lower color temperatures are great for areas such as bedrooms and LED lights can disperse light more evenly.
Angle and Dimmability
You’ll also want to consider the angle of the beam and the dimmability of your LED lights. Dimmable lights are a bit more expensive than traditional lights, but dimming is a great option for entertainment areas such as theaters.
The beam angle, on the other hand, will determine how well the LED light spreads throughout the space. The narrower the beam, the more concentrated the lighting will be, so if you want to illuminate a bigger area, you’re better off choosing a broad beam.
Layers for LED Lighting Design
When using LED lighting for interior design, it’s important to consider layers based on the setting you want to create. Generally, most designers put LED lighting in one of three categories:
Ambient or General Lighting
This lighting is referred to as general or ambient because it’s used primarily to increase visibility in a space. This lighting provides illumination for a space and can be referred to as natural or existing lighting. You can think of ambient and general lighting as natural lighting that works in conjunction with lighting in the room.
Task lighting is lighting that’s directed toward a specific area to highlight certain objects and maintain a safe level of visibility in a space. Close-range work such as writing, cooking, drawing, and sewing should utilize task lighting that enables individuals to see details in their workspace.
Accent lighting is used to highlight certain features and objects or areas, encouraging people to direct their attention to something the designer wants people to see. You can use accent lighting to affect the room’s mood and contribute more drama.
Types of LED Lighting Fixtures
Before we get into the specific ways you can use LED lighting design throughout the home, there are several types of LED lighting fixtures that you can use in various spaces.
Surface-mounted LED lighting fixtures are visible and typically flush against the wall or ceiling. You’ll want to use this type of LED lighting in hallways, bedrooms, or entryways.
Pendant lights are fixtures that hand from the ceiling using a cord, chain, or cable. You can use these in dining rooms, kitchens, and other areas with higher ceilings.
Recessed lights are hidden from view, normally using ceiling cavities such as cove molding designed for indirect lighting. This indirect lighting is popular in many spaces through the use of potlights or downlights, and is ideal for many spaces in the home. However, you should use other types of lighting to complement it.
Track lights offer more flexibility than other types of lighting. Track lights consist of several bulbs on a single track, with multiple voltages and circuits. Similar to pendants, they can suspend from the ceiling, or you can surface-mount them like surface lighting. There are many options when it comes it colors, styles, and finishes.
Portable lights are ideal if you want to be able to move your lighting to different areas. You can plug them into outlets using a cord in many cases, but battery-operated fixtures are also becoming increasingly popular. Portable LED lights could be used for bedside tables and desks, while floor lamps are also great for many areas in varying configurations.
In addition to interior lighting, you can also use landscape lighting to highlight the home’s exterior. Flood lights, bullet lights, deck lighting, motion sensing lighting, and other options can truly make your landscape match the interior in terms of mood and appearance.
LED Lighting Design Tips for Any Space
Today, you can do just about anything with LED lighting design. Use LED lighting for any space in the home and create a unique look that speaks to you and wows your guests. The following are some helpful design tips to help you get started.
One of the primary uses for LED lighting is in bathroom vanities. This is because the ideal bathroom design is one that’s crisp and clean, which the evenness of an LED vanity fixture can provide. All you need is a single LED strip in this space to create an appealing vanity.
In any area with tile or other types of atypical wall finishes, you may want to use wall washers via an LED strip, which can accentuate details and textures as an elegant design element.
Circular Lighting Fixtures
LED strips are available in straight or flexible designs, which allows you to create various shapes. These lights are great for areas such as kitchen tables where the lighting will be complementary without becoming the visual focus during a conversation.
One of the most popular applications for LED lighting is under kitchen cabinets. Undercabinet lighting is ideal for task lighting, as kitchens require plenty of visibility when performing actions such as slicing and chopping, cooking, and reading recipes.
Adding LED strips to areas such as beneath island counters, drawers, and cabinets, can help brighten interiors through unique recessed lighting placement. You can also use LED lights under or behind different architectural structures to provide an ambient glow in areas ranging from traditional to contemporary.
Mini Bulb Accent Lighting
Apart from strips, you can use LED lighting in the form of mini bulbs to replicate the effect of incandescent bulbs. They can also complement surrounding art and interior decor. The added benefit of using LED for these applications is the longer lifetime.
Slim LED Pendants
The potentially small size of LED bulbs also allows interior designers to use slim pendants that are petite in size while remaining powerful enough to provide sufficient illumination for any space. Contemporary cones or cylinders are popular choices for a more modern look, and you can add dark matte finishes to provide contrast for lighter walls.
Simulated LED Windows
If you need lighting for a basement space or another area that’s normally dark and doesn’t allow much natural daylight, simulated windows can be great installations. Consider using these recesses to create a look that stands out compared to simply adding more table lamps or floor lamps that crowd the space. You may also
want to consider installing LED lighting into your skylights to provide lighting at any time of day and in any weather conditions.
It’s also important to have proper lighting in the shower. You can achieve this with an LED strip that’s recessed into ceiling, which can provide a glow that travels down the wall and brings more light into the shower, which will, in turn, make the space feel bigger and accentuate your tile finishes.
Headboard Accent Lighting
If you want to add some uniqueness to a bedroom, you can tuck an LED light strip behind the headboard, which will cast a nice glow. Most LED products will give you some control over the lighting level, with the ability to dim or change the temperature or color of the light. These controls can help you optimize lighting in the bedroom depending on the time of day, with brighter light during the morning hours and softer light in the evenings.
Installing lights below shelving can add elegance to your shelves and highlight certain pieces such as barware and drinking glasses. This lighting can also help make your lighting scheme appear more diverse, complementing pendants, floor lamps, ceiling lighting, and undercabinet lighting.
Lighting should provide a balance of function and style. Function is particularly important regarding stair lighting, where people should be able to see clearly to avoid potential trips and falls. LED lights that are tucked into the edges of steps can provide plenty of visibility without taking up more space.
Even if you don’t have a walk-in closet, you can create an upscale look through the use of LED closet lights, which will make the closet feel more like a boutique display than a simple closet. You’ll also be able to benefit from additional visibility when browsing and organizing your wardrobe.
Use LED Lighting Design to Create the Perfect Look Throughout the Home
The versatility and efficiency of LED lighting makes it ideal for any application. Create any mood or complement any other interior design elements with the perfect arrangement of LED lights, whether you want something more subtle or obvious in design. There’s practically no limit to what you can do with LED fixtures. If you’re unsure of how to utilize this lighting in the home, you can also consult with professionals who can help you optimize interior lighting, or you can experiment to see which layout works best in any space.
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