Somebody once said, 'light is a reality' and how important a role 'good lighting' plays in our life! But what is the lighting? In the simplest terms, lighting refers to the use of various sources of light to get desired effects. These effects can be based on practical as well as aesthetic purposes. With time, lighting has become a key element of architecture and interior design. And using artificial as well as natural sources to optimise the indoor and outdoor lighting of your house has increasingly become more desirable. From the early forms of lamps to LED lighting and more, we have come a long way when it comes to lighting technology. Let us find out more about how lighting works and what are your best options when it comes to designing the ideal lighting for your home.
What is the History of Lighting?
Before we were introduced to modern sources of lighting such as lamps, chandeliers, and light bulbs, the architects relied heavily on the most important source of natural light, the Sun and its positions by designing large windows or designing the house orientation as such for there to be ample sunlight throughout the day. To understand this, one can look at the way the Pantheon, the most significant architectural achievement of the Roman empire, was designed with a dome at the top to take maximum advantage of the sunlight. With the invention of candles, lamps, and modern light forms, we slowly moved towards heavily relying on artificial sources of lighting for our homes. However, modern groups of architects have time and again been emphasising designs that accommodate natural sunlight as it is not only a free source of light but also has a number of health benefits. You can always use artificial sources of lighting such as ceiling lights, wall lights, and sconces to accent natural lighting and make your home a well-lit and comfortable space for yourself.
When Was Lighting First Discovered?
The first attempts at discovering artificial lighting are believed to be around 70,000 years ago when torches were made out of hollowed-out rocks or shells and then filled with combustible material such as wood or grass. It was later developed, however, the core principle remained the same and we saw lamps with fuel sources such as kerosene, methane, and other gases. Before the gas lamps became popular, the Greeks and the Romans also introduced the wick to humankind and candles became a popular source of lighting. Even today, traditional as well as designer candles are quite popular to give your space an old-school, antique vibe.
The credit for the electric lamps that we so fondly use today has to be given to Humphry Davey, an Englishman, who introduced the world to one of the first versions of incandescent light. Using a bank of batteries and two charcoal rods, he invented what is known even today as an ‘arc light’. However, the man credited with developing the modern style electric bulbs and the infrastructure to support them is Thomas Edison. In 1879, he developed the carbon filament incandescent light bulb which also became the standard of lighting for coming decades. His first successful prototype went on to burn for 13 and a half hours. A few months later, Edison went on to discover carbonised bamboo filament that would go on to burn for 1200 hours. This revolutionary discovery changed the whole picture for lighting technology and was enough evidence to establish electricity as the primary source of lighting.
Slowly, the 20th century witnessed major developments in the lighting industry with lightbulbs being developed to become more efficient. The high-intensity discharge (HID) lamps were introduced and these fluorescent bulbs could last for over 10 years of regular use. However, the development of LEDs (light-emitting diodes) effectively changed the lighting industry for good. The introduction of LEDs meant that lighting could be produced easily and effectively for all kinds of uses. It did not require glass housing like traditional bulbs, was cost-effective and could run for up to 25 years! Nick Holonyak, the inventor of the first LED even called it “the magic one”.
What Does Lighting Do?
Lighting, be it natural or artificial, plays a very important role in our lives. It does not only help us view the world when it is dark but also helps us illuminate our surroundings. The purpose of this illumination is practical as well as for aesthetic purposes. Since the invention of fire, before humankind could even think about modern lighting technologies, different sources of light such as lamps, candles and such have been used for illumination at night to keep wild animals away and to provide safety as well. Today, lighting has way more functions but it is as inevitable as it was since its invention. Today, we use lighting not only to be able to see things in the dark but also as decorations. There are so many different options to fulfill such a variety of tasks such as beautiful chandeliers to grace your interiors with elegance or weatherproof LED strip lights to provide gentle illumination to your outdoors. Today, life without lighting is unfathomable.
How Does Lighting Work?
While the main purpose of lighting is to illuminate a room, there are other factors that need to be considered when designing lighting fixtures for your home such as how it will affect your eyes if the room is appropriately illuminated, do the lights complement each other and other parts of your décor well. To achieve all these purposes, you need to properly balance general, task, and accent lighting. We start with having sufficient power points so that you can assure that your lights can be powered from different corners. This helps a great deal if you choose to restyle your décor. This needs to be followed by choosing the right lights to create the ideal balance in your room. After the basic illumination is done, one can move towards task and accent lighting which helps you to set the tone and the mood for your space. These lights may include spotlights for your art or paintings or desk lamps to help you with late-night reading. Various levels of lighting come together to create the ideal balance and provide you with the ultimate comfort space of your dream.
What are the features of lighting?
To understand how lighting impacts us, it is important to understand the different features or properties of lighting which determine its behaviour significantly. Knowing how lighting affects our vision, perception, and emotion helps us understand how best we can utilise it. Therefore, our first step to understanding lighting is to understand its intensity, form, colour, direction, and movement. The intensity or the strength of the light source is detrimental because it does not only determine the number of lighting sources that will be needed in your design but also the different types of lighting fixtures which when used together, can give you the desired illumination. The form or the distribution of light has to do with how light reflects off of an object to give its perception. To ensure that your space is aesthetically pleasing, the distribution of light becomes a crucial factor. When it comes to the colour of light, we are presented with a spectrum of hues. Different colours have different effects not only on our eyes but also on our moods. Therefore, it is important to use a combination of white, cool white, and yellow light to make up for your indoor lighting. Ideally designed indoor lighting also requires close attention to the direction of light. You would not want very high lights that may cast an unappealing shadow or a downlight where uplighting is required. Every detail is crucial to achieving the desired effect. Movement of light can refer to any change in the lighting’s intensity, colour, form, or direction. This change could be natural or artificial. It could be rapid or subtle. The movement also refers to the physical movement of a lighting fixture while restructuring or restyling your home.
Why is Lighting Important?
Reports have it that people receive about 85% of their information through the sense of sight. Lighting plays a crucial role in fulfilling this purpose for us. Lack of proper lighting can have negative effects on our health too. It can lead to headaches, eye fatigue, depression and a general change in mood, and a lack of productivity. Lighting also helps us achieve other practical and aesthetic effects such as enhancing the beauty of your home, ensuring road safety at night, and creating a comfortable environment that increases productivity. Psychologically also, good lighting can help stabilise your mood, and your cardiac rhythm and help you sleep better at night as well. Good lighting has the potential to completely transform a space, making it one of the most essential aspects of home design.
What are the different Types of Lighting?
We can not emphasise enough how important proper lighting is as it has a major impact on how you feel in a space. It is an often ignored fact that lighting plays a crucial role in determining your mood, productivity, and your general well-being within a space. Your lighting needs vary according to your space and there are certain important factors that one needs to keep in mind to combine different types of lighting and create a relaxing, welcoming space. Let’s have a look at the different types of lighting that come together to give your space the desired effect.
Task lights perform the practical function of helping you perform specific tasks. For example, you can use desk lamps or floor lamps to study or work on your laptop. Or pendant lights above your kitchen island helps you with chopping vegetables and preparing meals. You can also use wall lights such as mounted desk lamps or sconces to help you with bedtime reading. This type of lighting is localised and can be provided by a variety of different sources. You can also choose customisable lighting options such as task lighting and adjust the illumination as per your need. Effective task lighting should be bright enough to prevent any eye strain while doing activities that may require a lot of concentration such as reading, crafts or even cooking. Task lighting should ideally be used as a contrasting light as it helps one to be more concentrated and alert. Task lighting also works as a natural brain stimulator which is why major big offices pay extra attention to task lighting.
Accent lighting is the ornamental lighting that helps you highlight the different parts of your room such as art, furniture, bookshelf, or pictures. Using wall sconces, chandeliers, recess lights, and carefully positioned lamps, you can emphasise the various architectural wonders of your room. The accent lights should be brighter and stronger than the ambient lights to draw the attention of the people toward their focus objects. Holiday lighting such as Christmas lights or Halloween lights can also work as temporary accent lighting as they help highlight holiday decorations for you.
General lighting, also known as Ambient lighting is basically the main light of your room which also determines how you will be picking the other lighting options. Trend analysts recommend using multiple light sources for the ambient lighting of your room. Do not depend only on a central ceiling light. Instead, use pendant lights, floor lamps, and chandeliers to create a well-lit vibe for yourself indoors and LED strip lights, garden lights, and sconces for a well-illuminated, comfort zone outside as well.
What are the different forms of lighting?
Your home décor is incomplete unless you design ideal lighting for all of it. Good lighting is vital not just for practical purposes but also on aesthetic and sensory levels. Lighting is the main key to a good interior and exterior design.
1. Indoor Lighting
Well as the name suggests, indoor lighting can consist of any lamp or fixture that is used to brighten up the insides of your house. However, indoor lighting is not only to illuminate your space but also to accent your home décors and add to its overall features. General, accent, and task lighting, together, make up for your indoor lighting. You can use ceiling lights, wall lights, sconce,s and even spotlights to provide different functions and keep your interiors well-litt. A well-lit home has many advantages as it comforts your brain as well as your eyes and helps you be productive and happy as well.
2. Outdoor Lighting
Outdoor lighting refers to the use of various lighting fixtures for outdoor illumination of private gardens, patio or public landscapes and roads etc. The purpose of outdoor lighting can be to enhance and beautify the landscape as well as ensure safety, accessibility, and security among others. Outdoor lighting is also referred to as landscape lighting or garden lighting. While before, not much attention was given to outdoor lighting, this perception has changed over time. More homeowners are understanding the importance of outdoor lighting as it is an investment with valuable returns. One of the most important things to keep in mind before installing outdoor lighting fixtures is to map out the purpose of each fixture since the fixtures designed to improve safety are different from the ones meant to beautify the landscape. Further, outdoor fixtures should be weatherproof and made up of high-qualityy resistant materials because one can hardly control what happens outside. Rain, sun, and storms have various effects on electric fixtures, and therefore to ensure safety, it is important that these natural variants are kept in mind before installing your lights. Sconces, Christmas lights, spotlights, flood lights, and lamp posts are some of the most popular fixtures which are ideal for outdoor lighting.
What are the different types of lamps?
A ballast is a device used in a fluorescent lighting system to regulate the current to the lamps and provide sufficient voltage to start the lamp. Without a ballast to control the current input, a fluorescent lamp when connected directly to a high-voltage power source would experience an uncontrollable increase in current causing it to overheat and burn out. A ballast uses magnetic energy to stimulate the electrodes to make a current for the lamp to glow. Fluorescent lamps and HID (high–intensity discharge) light bulbs require a ballast. To find a suitable ballast for a lighting fixture, it is important to have information about the lamp type, lamp quantity, and the line voltage of the fixture.
A fluorescent lamp is a mercury vapour lamp that uses the fluorescence of a phosphor coating to deliver visible, artificial light. It is a low-pressure lamp because of which it is made in the form of a long tube. The main function of a fluorescent lamp is to transform the energy more efficiently in comparison to incandescent lamps. These lamps provide shadow-free lighting and hence have wide applications in industrial, commercial, and residential lighting. They can provide high light output and uniform lighting to illuminate large areas and are well-suited for detailed task lighting. For residential purposes, they are great to be installed as kitchen lights or cabinet lights.
A halogen lamp is an incandescent lamp consisting of a tungsten filament that is sealed in a compact transparent cover that is filled with a mixture of inert gas and a small amount of a halogen, such as iodine or bromine. The halogen gas and the tungsten filament combine to produce a chemical reaction that redeposits evaporated tungsten on the filament. This process increases the life of the halogen lamp and allows it to operate at a higher temperature and produces light with better luminous efficacy and colour temperature when compared to a standard incandescent lamp of similar power. These lamps are mostly used in automotive headlamps or for under-cabinet lighting. Halogen reflectors are often preferred for directed lighting in floodlights and spotlights as well. However, with CFLs and LEDs being more energy efficient than halogen bulbs, the latter is slowly being phased out.
Light bulbs have been around for a long time and have become an integral part of our everyday life. We can't imagine life without electricity and light bulbs make for a huge part of that. Conceived by American scientist Thomas Alva Edison in the 1800s, traditional incandescent bulbs have continued to illuminate our worlds for years. It consists of two parts, the bulb, and the filament. The bulb part is mostly made up of glass with a vacuum inside which helps in protecting the light bulb. The filament is made of a long and coiled material called tungsten. Tungsten is a good conductor of electricity and helps produce the actual light. Some bulbs are also filled with an inert gas to help slow the process of tungsten filaments wearing out. Nowadays nearly all bulbs including the ones used at cars too are LED light bulbs and which are consist of a driver for converting the electricity from AC to DC and adjust its voltage level according to quantity of LEDs of their forward voltage. As a light source some LEDs and a body for a heatsink for LEDs and a optic part for reflecting the emitted light.
What is LED Lighting?
LED or Light Emitting Diode bulbs are small solid bulbs that require less electricity to produce more light than a traditional incandescent lamp. It is a semiconductor device that emits light when current flows through it. Currently, it is considered to be the most energy-efficient and rapidly evolving lighting technology in the world. In comparison to traditional lighting sources, it produces the least amount of heat, lasts longer, and saves energy as well as money on energy consumption.
What are the Led Types?
With the fastest developing technology, LED technology has been able to come up with multiple, cheaper options for everyday lighting usage and is being adopted by average households and businesses alike. Here are some of the LED types that you can choose from as per your needs:
Colour LEDs: LEDs emit light in three different varieties; warm white which is also the most used one and is very similar to halogen bulbs, cool white which can be mostly found in shops and offices and have the similar colour temperature to that of fluorescent bulbs and daylight white which is stark white light with a hint of blue to it.
Dimmer Switches: Alike other traditional lamps, LEDs also can be controlled with dimmer switches and are highly efficient this way as these operate with minimum wattage when compared to other standard bulbs.
LED lighting tubes: It is a highly efficient substitute for fluorescent tubes and works by providing a series of miniature LED lights along the length of the tube.
SMD LED: SMD or Surface Mounted Diodes belongs to the new generation of LED lighting. The SMD chips mounted in the bulbs give off additional brightness making these LEDs very popular for office and household uses.
COB LED: Chip on Board can be considered to be from an even more advanced generation than that of SMD as it provides a denser amount of light along with great optics because you get a consistent beam of controlled light. These are also more efficient than SMDs.
Graphene LED: This light has a filament-shaped LED that is coated with graphene, a highly durable material and it boasts of reducing energy bills by 10%. It is also cheaper than other existing LED bulbs.
What is the Difference Between a Lighting Fixture and a Lamp?
While mostly used interchangeably, a lighting fixture and a lamp are two very different terminologies. They do have a relationship but it is much similar to that of a car and its engine which means that one is basically a part of the other. The lighting fixture is the body that uses different types of lighting sources i.e. the lamps. A lamp is a device that is fitted into the lighting fixture to give off light. They are generally replaceable. A lighting fixture, on the other hand, is a body that has one or more sockets for a lamp connection. The fixture includes all the components of a lighting device such as the lamp, power supply, electrical connection equipment, and others.
What are the Types of Lighting Fixtures?
In this era of modern lighting, it is safe to say that there is a lighting fixture for every need and every room. From sleek to suave, minimalist to large, you get lights in every shape, size, and material. Some of these fixtures may be associated with a particular layer of lighting such as ambient, task, or accent, however, the majority of the fixtures available are widely versatile and can be used in a number of ways. The possibilities are needless and these fixtures can also be customised to fit your home’s unique vibes.
As the name suggests, globe light fixtures are large, globe-shaped light bulbs that are primarily used in decorative fittings. Widely popular among new-age restaurants, bars, and cafés, these fixtures have made a name for themselves in the hospitality industry. Because of their size, they may look odd when fitted in houses with lowered ceilings but when paired with larger ceiling lights in spacious halls, they can be pretty striking. Along with the practical purpose of illumination, they are also used as decorative pieces as they attract attention even when switched off. As many users have mentioned, globe fixtures are the perfect balance between modern and classic lighting, making them a versatile option.
Emergency Lighting Fixtures
Emergency lighting fixtures are battery-powered lighting devices that automatically switch on in emergency situations where a loss of power results in the failure of normal lighting. This could be a result of a power outage or fire. These lights work as a lifeline in such hazardous situations and ensure safety in the event of complete darkness and invisibility. Crucially, they are put up to enable safe, prompt, and efficient evacuation of spaces in cases of blackout and to guide people to locate safety equipment or assembly points by delivering essential illumination. It is a crucial tool to reduce panic and save lives in emergency situations. Some examples of emergency lighting fixtures are exit lighting, fire signs, or neon path lights that can be found in cinema halls, buildings, offices, etc.
Pendant Lighting Fixtures
Pendant light refers to a ceiling light that suspends from the ceiling There are many types of pendant lights and while it has been around for a long time, it can never go out of style as a lighting option. They create a warm and comfortable atmosphere and are beautiful enough to make a statement about your house. These lights are of different shapes, sizes, and colours and add a beautiful decorative feature to your house. Most commonly used as kitchen lights and living room lights, pendant lights are a must in your list of lighting options when envisioning your home décor.
Motion-sensored lighting fixtures are very popular when it comes to outdoor lighting. The motion sensor is installed in the fixture and lights up when something passes by the infrared beam, The lighting goes on for a specified amount of time before turning off automatically. This feature is not only great for safety and security during the night time but also works as an energy saver since the light stays on only for a few minutes. Most of these lights have built-in timers also for you to adjust the duration for which you want the lights to stay on after a motion is detected. These lights are most effective in areas that do not need constant illumination such as driveways, parkways, entrances, hallways, washrooms, toilets, and exits.
Street fixtures refer to lamps that are a part of road lighting to provide illumination for roads, streets, parking lots, pavements, and other public areas at night. They improve security and driving safety by enhancing visibility during the dark. The primary objective of street fixtures is to illuminate the objects and areas that would otherwise be dark and may cause serious accidents. The most popular lighting technology for street fixtures is LED lights(or bulbs) as they offer the most amount of light and require minimal maintenance. They also have a longer bulb life which saves a lot of money on bulb replacement too. Most street lights are made of water-resistant and corrosion-resistant materials to withstand the outdoor elements and are commonly pole–mounted. Increasingly, street fixtures are now using motion sensor technology or smart control technology to increase safety and reduce energy consumption.
Very much as the name suggests, spotlight fixtures are used to illuminate particular spots in your home, office, or other spaces. These fixtures provide focused lighting to emphasise a particular feature for safety, wayfinding, or aesthetic purposes. They allow you to highlight a specific area without casting a wide beam of light all over the place. You can use spotlights for commercial as well as residential purposes such as near sign ways, along pathways, to highlight a particular architectural or landscape element. You can also find spotlights at large exhibitions, museums, and galleries. They are used to draw attention to stunning artwork and sculptures. Spotlights are considered an architect’s most important tool. They offer versatility in design and help create visual accents to distinguish the most stand-out features of a space. However, using too many spotlights can lead to overlighting an area. If a space needs wide beams of light across a large space, you may want to consider other forms of indoor fixtures that are more suited for that purpose.
What are the Benefits of Lighting?
Lighting has numerous benefits. First and foremost, lighting helps us see things around us. Everything that we can see and perceive around us is because every object reflects off the light. Natural light is a crucial factor for the sustenance of bio life on the planet Earth. Without it, there will be no life, air to breathe, gravity, warmth, or plants. It is impossible to imagine life without lighting, natural as well as artificial. Artificial lighting has its own benefits as it helps us during the times when natural light is unavailable such as during the night or dark winter and rainy days. It gives us extra time for work, study, and leisure. Lighting also has several health benefits. While natural light can help us stabilise mental health, and cardiac rhythm and help us with our sleep, artificial lighting makes sure that we get ample lighting for our work. Low light can strain your eyes as well as your brain, making it very important that ideal lighting is available, especially when doing work that requires a lot of concentration. Lighting is a crucial element to produce a relaxing environment for yourself while also increasing your productivity and efficiency.
What is the Importance of Lighting in Design and Architecture?
Be it natural or artificial lighting, lighting does not only help you to see things but when properly designed, it also plays a crucial role in helping the architect achieve its goal of illuminating and drawing attention to the specific designs of your home. It enhances the way we see and experience architecture. The placement, intensity, and directions of lighting fixtures have a major impact on our visual and perceptual experience of any space. Proper lighting can lead to you believing that a rather small space is in fact huge and bad lighting can in turn make any space feel cramped and uncomfortable. Therefore, for design and architecture, lighting becomes one of the most influential tools to tap into the consciousness of people who would be occupying space.
How Energy-Efficient and Cost-Effective Should Lighting Be?
Lighting is very crucial in our lives. So crucial that it accounts for almost 20% of a typical household’s energy bills. Therefore, to make things easier for your pockets, you need to opt for options that are not only efficient but also cost-effective. Energy-efficient bulbs are light sources that, with the help of modern technology, reduce the amount of electricity used to generate light in comparison to traditional incandescent bulbs or halogen bulbs. LED and CFL bulbs are the most common and popular ones in this category. While these lights may cost more than traditional bulbs upfront, because of their highly efficient technology, in the long run, they cut down your energy cost magnificently. Another way to be energy efficient and cost-effective when it comes to lighting is by ensuring that you use lights that are not defective. Flickering lights are not good for your pocket as well as your eyes. They consume unnecessarily high energy and can also cause headaches. It is advisable to immediately replace such bulbs in your home. Energy saving is not only for yourself but to also help towards building a greener tomorrow.
Which Lamps Are Used to Save Money in Lighting Technology?
According to reports, lighting accounts for 5-18% of electricity consumption for an average home. By simply switching to energy-efficient lighting options, one can save 80% of this consumption. Additionally, energy-efficient lamps also last longer hence saving you large money over a longer period. LED (Light Emitting Diode) bulbs and CFLs (Compact Fluorescent Lights) are the most common examples of lamps that can be used to save huge bucks on energy consumption. CFLS are the mini versions of fluorescents and give off light that is similar to the common incandescent bulbs but uses less energy than the latter. LEDs are small solid bulbs that produce the most light with the least electricity. These last way longer than traditional bulbs and help avoid the costs of changing bulbs regularly. While these bulbs may cost more upfront, they pay for themselves in only a few months. Of all these types of bulbs LED bulbs are the most efficient and longest lifetime bulbs. Replacing old bulbs with LED ones will keep your bills low and will make the world greener.