How do we decorate with lights in the home?


At Lampemesteren, we experience on a daily basis how difficult it can be to find the lighting that suits your wants and needs. You fall in love with a lamp and buy it, but at home it doesn't look anything like you imagined. If you recognize this and nod in agreement with the despair of finding the right light for your home, here are a few rules of thumb to help you make the right decision!
Design your rooms in 'light layers'
In lighting design, we work with the concept of 'light layers', which in other words, is the concept of designing with multiple light sources that provide different light to the room. When you layer a room, you work with ambient, diffuse ambient light, zones of more direct functional light and supplementary spot light points.

Diffuse ambient light is the light that envelops the entire room. It can come from windows, illuminated walls that reflect the light or a lamp where the light source is shielded and the lamp emits light in all directions.

The zones of direct functional light are the larger surfaces and places in the room that are more illuminated than the rest of the room. For example, you might want to have this above a kitchen counter, dining table or in a reading corner.

Spotlights are created when small light sources are placed in dark areas. This could be a small table lamp inside a shelving system, candles on a windowsill or a single pendant light in a corner where the light source is visible.

We are positively stimulated when we use all three types of lighting in the same room. Below we have outlined some examples that showcase multi-layered interior design.

Make a quick lighting estimate before buying
Making 100% accurate lighting calculations is relatively complex and not something you can do without the right tools. However, it is possible to make a quick approximation of whether a light will provide the desired amount of light.

The first thing to look for is the lamp's lumen output. You can find this under the lamp's technical specifications. Here it is the 'lumen' value (abbreviated lm) that describes the amount of light. If you only know the light source (bulb) to be used, you can find the lumen of the light source under the technical specifications of the light source.

If you use halogen light sources, you can roughly assume the following:
15W = 140 lumens
25W = 250 lumens
40W = 470 lumens
60W = 800 lumens
75W = 1050 lumens
100W = 1520 lumens

In addition to lumens, you need to know your lighting needs. Is it task lighting or cozy backlighting that you want in the intended area? There are specifications that can guide you towards how much light is 'task lighting', for example. These specifications are given in the unit lux (abbreviated lx). Lux is the unit of lumen/m2.

Work lighting = approx. 500 lx
General dimmed room lighting = approx. 200 lx

As a final detail, you need to know the size of the room or the size of the surface, depending on whether you want to calculate the light for a dining table, for example, or perhaps for the living room as a whole.

Once you know the lumen output (lm) of the lamp, your lighting needs (lx) and the size of the area to be illuminated (m2), you can use the formula below to calculate back and forth to determine which lamp or how many lamps you need for your specific needs.

lm = lx * m2
For clarity, we have calculated two examples:

Living room
You have a 20 m2 living room and would like to have general room lighting of around 200 lx, so you can use the formula to calculate how many lumens you need. The calculation will look like the following:

200 lx * 20 m2 = 4000 lm

This means that you need 4000 lm to light your living room properly. These 4000 lm can easily be distributed over several lamps. If you follow tip number 1, it would be a good idea to distribute the 4000 lm across different types of light sources. For example, you could have a glass pendant light that diffuses light to all sides of approximately 1500 lm, a table lamp in the bookcase of approximately 300 lm and two floor lamps of approximately 1100 lm each.

The dining table
You'll want to know how many lights you need to properly light your dining table. Your dining table is approximately 2 m2 and at the dining table you want good task lighting of approximately 500 lx. The calculation in this scenario would look like this:

500 lx * 2 m2 = 1000 lm.

This means that the lamp or lamps together must provide a luminous flux of 1000 lm. Whether this is spread over three lamps of approximately 300 lm or one lamp of approximately 1000 lm alone is of little significance to whether your lighting needs are met.
Make the walls reflect light and lift the room
The third tip is actually very simple, but probably something most people don't think about. Basically, all surfaces reflect a proportion of the light that hits them. Light surfaces reflect more light than dark surfaces. White surfaces, whether matte or glossy, reflect more than 90% of the light cast on them. This provides a great opportunity to use larger, light surfaces as light sources for the room.

Specifically, you can create a calm indirect light by lighting up the walls instead of thinking that you need to light up an area. For example, if you have a dark corner in your living room, it's a good idea to choose a floor lamp that provides upward light (up-light). This will utilize both the bright surface of the ceiling and the two surrounding walls. This would make the room bigger without dazzling you. At the same time, you would avoid creating a spotlight downwards in the corner, which you would experience with a lamp with only downward light (down-light).

A more modern solution that also works with indirectly reflected light is to use surface-mounted spotlights that are tilted to focus the light directly onto the walls. This can be a good solution in a narrow hallway, as it will open up the width of the hallway without dazzling or filling the room in any way.