The Importance of Lighting - Know Your Math Formula For Perfect Lighting In Every Room

Reblogger Sharon Tara
Home Stager with Sharon Tara Transformations

You learn something new every I learned that there is actually a formula to use to determine the amount of wattage necessary to light a room.  I find this information to be valuable and thought I would pass it on. 

Everyone is aware when they walk in to a room with the perfect lighting scheme. A room with a well planned out lighting scheme just feels right; it feels welcoming, relaxing and yes even sophisticated.

How do you feel in your home? Do you walk in to your rooms and feel as though you've just entered an operating theatre or a movie theatre during the previews? Are your pets and small children afraid of what could be lurking in the dark corners of your rooms?

Getting the right balance of lighting is an art...but it is an art with it's foundation firmly rooted in science.

Lighting Formula = Layers of Light = Artful Lighting

The different types of lighting, and I'm not talking about floor and table lamps, chandeliers etc, have specific purposes and can be artfully layered to create the perfectly lit room for all your lighting requirements.  

The Science of Lighting

Layers of Light

The 5 Basic Types of Lighting:

  • ambient - this is your general purpose lighting
  • indirect lighting- which comes from 1 or more fixtures also known as luminaries. Light from these sources bounce the light off the ceiling and walls. Indirect can be used as the ambient lighting for a room. Uplighting which can come from scones for example is a form of ambient where the light uses the ceiling to bounce the light back down on to the voila! You now have indirect lighting.
  • task - provides a focused light designed for specific tasks you preform such as fixing meals or reading a book. The task lighting would be a layer of light in the room over and above the ambient lighting source.
  • wall washing - provides even lighting around the perimeter of a room and can come from the floor up the wall or from the ceiling down. Placement is important so avoid lighting over or under a window, mirrors or framed photography or you will create reflections which can be harsh and distracting. If you have an accent wall in your room with a darker paint colour you will no doubt have to add additional lighting to wash the walls due to the darker colour absorbing more of the light.
  • accent- is placed specifically to highlight an object. Make sure you avoid the light from straying beyond the object and avoid over use of accent lighting or you will overwhelm the room and occupants with visual stimulus and potentially move the lighting in to the realm of operating theatre.

What architects, interior designers, decorators and lighting specialists know in order to calculate the perfect amount of lighting for a room:

The Lighting Formulas

  1. general formula

Room Length X Room Width X 1.5 = Required Wattage to Light a Room

An example:

10 x 15 foot bedroom x 1.5 will require 225 watts.

Therefore if you only have 1 overhead light with 2 60 watt bulbs the lighting in the room will be deficient by 105 watts. 

    2.   task lighting formula

task area length X task area width X 2.5 = Required Wattage for Task Lighting

The concentrated lighting provided by the formula results in the amount of wattage for getting the job done.

The Art of Lighting - Professional Required

With required wattage in hand the left half of the brain takes over and the art of lighting reveals the intricacy's of layered lighting. The artist understands the interplay of light and colour and can visualize the layers of lighting required in a room to achieve the perfect balance.

In a follow up blog we will discuss the art of lighting and layering in detail.

Please feel free to re-blog this post to spread enLIGHTenment!



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Sharon Tara

New Hampshire Home Stager
Questions about Home Staging or Redesign? Send me a message!
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