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Getting the Lighting right in your Home

Did you watch RTE's Home of the Year this year? We loved this year's winner for its design ethos which was all about low impact, energy efficiency and renewables, but like Huge Wallace we noticed the lack of ambient lighting throughout the house and in many of the homes this year.

RTE Home of the Year
RTE Home of the Year 2023

According to Hugh Wallace, lighting its one of the fundamental things that people get wrong in their homes. Hugh has been a champion of good lighting for many years and has commented previously that Irish people don't know how to do lighting in the home "to give that extra layer of ambience".

Hugh Wallace, RTE Home of the Year Judge
Hugh Wallace, RTE Home of the Year Judge

Well we're here to help!! Here are our top tips for choosing the right lighting for your home.

1. Good lighting is transformative! Lighting is a relatively quick and inexpensive way to completely change a space and its quite a simple thing to achieve once you understand some of the basics. Its about understanding how you use a space and what atmosphere you want to create. Then its just about using the right light for that space.

2. Ambient lighting is all about the amount of lighting in a space and is the combination of natural lighting (which RTE Home of the Year had in spades) alongside other sources of lighting such as task lighting and decorative lighting. It is the total amount of light in a space and will vary depending on the type of room and the time of day or year.

3. Layering is the combination of lighting that you use and good layering will include a variety of lighting sources to create a specific atmosphere. For example, you might choose to use more decorative lighting in your living spaces while an office or a kitchen area may have more task lighting.

3. Task lighting is the light you use to perform a specific task and we also refer to it as functional lighting. Cooking and computer use are areas where you will need task lighting so we often see this in kitchens and office spaces.

4. Decorative Lighting is generally more about creating a mood or ambience than it is about performing a task. It can consist of a range of lighting including floor lamps, table lamps, ceiling lights or pedants. It tends to look good when turned off as well as on as it will often sit as a feature in your space and will generally tie in with your overall aesthetic. This is the type of lighting that we focus on at Copperfish.

Fall Pendant in a Stairwell

5. Accent lighting is used to focus on a specific area within a room such as a piece of furniture or a painting. This can be achieved by strategically placing a table or floor lamp or you can use a downlighter to focus light on a specific object.

6. Kelvin's tell us how warm the light is and this is a crucial part of understanding lighting. White bulbs will have a higher Kelvin scale and will emit a colder, bluer light which tends to work better for functional lighting. Warmer bulbs will have a lower Kelvin scale and are much better for creating a warm, inviting atmosphere. (Most of our bulbs are in the 2,000-2,200 Kelvin range). Hugh Wallace recommends a move away from the cold white light you generally get in downlighters to warm ambient lighting.

7. Wattage tell us how much energy a bulb uses and is especially important when we consider energy usage and the impact on the environment. Old school tungsten or incandescent bulbs have a higher wattage - you'll be familar with 40 Watt, 60 watt or very bright 100 watt which means they use more energy. Today, most people are moving to LED bulbs which are more energy efficient and will use 4-6 Watts. Copperfish bulbs are all high efficiency LED and tend to be in the 4-6 Watt range.

8. Lumens refer to the amount of light an LED lightbulb casts. You need higher lumens (400-600) for workspaces or lower lumens (100-300) for when you want to relax.

Now you know everything you need to choose the right lighting for your home. A lighting designer can be helpful in planning the layout of a space but you can also do this yourself with a pen and paper and thinking about the different areas in your home and what lighting might work best. After that, the sky is the limit in terms of what's available.

If you're looking for decorative lighting then make sure to check out our unique range of lighting which is handmade in our workshop in Co. Wicklow. Visit our showroom in Rathnew which is open Monday to Saturday.


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