Ensure you shine a light in an open plan space

Whether home for you is a studio apartment with kitchen and living rolled into one, or a barn conversion with living quarters divided by the all-important kitchen island, knowing how to light each area is an art to master.

If your home features an open-plan kitchen and living area, interior design house Neptune have curated tips to make lighting your best friend in maximising space, function and comfort.

When planning out your lighting scheme, know that interior lighting falls into three main categories: task lighting, accent lighting and ambient lighting.

Your first step should be to build the essential task lighting layer. Consider the areas where you are going to prepare food, as well as any space you may want to work or read in.

A kitchen island will benefit from pendant lighting over it, with focused shafts of light illuminating the work surface. A floor lamp, with a directional beam, would be suited to a reading nook.

Next, look to any architectural elements of the open space to which you want to draw attention with accent lighting.

Picture lights working wonders to accent a framed artwork and for a feature fireplace, consider wall lights either side, or perhaps, a table lamp on accent tables framing the space.

Often, accent lighting can double up as ambient lighting too, as it will typically be a soft glow that brightens up different pockets within the space at different times of the day.

Consider when you will be using each part of the room and let this inform how you create your lighting zones.These zones do not have to be regimented, especially in an open-plan space.

A kitchen can have multiple zones in itself, with the help of creative lighting solutions. A table lamp on a kitchen work surface, for example, communicates that this is not a busy-busy part of the room.

This is where slow starts happen – morning coffees and afternoon cups of tea where soft lighting through a shade is all that is needed.

It is important to consider natural light in your zoning too. If you are redesigning the room and have light flooding through one section of the space, perhaps that is where you position your kitchen table for sunlit breakfasts.

You might want to include back-up lighting for winter mornings and suppertime, but pendants are preferable here – nobody wants to dine under bright spotlights.

With your lighting plan devised as a whole across your open-plan living space, the result will be a room that breathes function and comfort effortlessly, with all the right spots aglow.


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