How better home lighting improves your mood and concentration

  • Design
  • Sunday, 30 Oct 2022

Even if you're just watching something, you will still need a basic level of lighting in your living room. Otherwise your eyes always have to compensate for strong differences in brightness when watching television. Photo: Franziska Gabbert/dpa

The reputation of cosiness precedes the gloomy season of autumn or rainy seasons. Most people want their living room to be pleasantly bright when it's starting to get dark outside – but not too bright.

A good lighting arrangement is a good place to start, but this requires a bit of fine tuning.

Which lighting levels are important in the home depends on the room in question.

"In the living room, 300 lux is usually all you need," says Iris Vollmann of the German Electro and Digital Industry Association (ZVEI).

If you need more light for more demanding tasks – for example when reading or handling sharp knives and hot pans in the kitchen – the illuminance should be 500 lux. 500 lux is also recommended when working, ensuring your eyes don't get tired and you can concentrate better.

Tip: You can use a measuring device called a lux meter to determine whether the required light intensity is being achieved.

To do this, you need your lights' lumen rating (you can find it on the product's packaging or fact sheet), the distance to the base surface (ceiling height) and the beam angle of the lights (fact sheet).

When it starts to get dark and dreary outside, cosiness at home is all the more important. Photo: Christin Klose/dpaWhen it starts to get dark and dreary outside, cosiness at home is all the more important. Photo: Christin Klose/dpa

How to handle hallway, living room and bedroom

Hallway/corridor: One or more lights on the ceiling provide some basic brightness.

"At the coat rack, we recommend additional mirror lights with one light each on the right and left to illuminate your face without any shadows," says Vollmann.

Living room: "To achieve exciting effects, several sources of light are a good idea, including one in the centre of the ceiling," says Ulrich Beckert.

Pictures illuminated by light or a small table lamp on the sideboard provide different lighting accents. Indirect light is provided by floor and wall spotlights that illuminate the walls and ceiling and whose reflections brighten up the room.

Bedroom: Here, basic lighting in the form of a ceiling light is essential. Having a second light switch close to the bed is practical, while a wall or table light on either side of the bed is also a good idea if you want to read in bed.

Wardrobe lighting makes it easier to choose your clothes in the morning, especially when it's dark outside.

Nursery: It's important to have a separate light at the changing table, but it shouldn't be too bright for the baby. "Infants' eyes are very sensitive to light," says Vollmann.

When children are at the crawling stage, mobile lights that are within reach of children's hands are a no-go – the risk of injury is too great. From school age onwards, children need a desk that should be illuminated like in a study.

A little battery-powered spotlight can turn a niche of your home into eye-catcher. Photo: Andrea Warnecke/dpaA little battery-powered spotlight can turn a niche of your home into eye-catcher. Photo: Andrea Warnecke/dpa

Avoid shadows

Study: Your desk should be lit with direct light that doesn't create a glare. The light should not come from above and cast shadows.

"It's better if it comes from the left for those who are right-handed and from the right for those who are left-handed," says Vollmann.

Kitchen: Bright functional light that falls directly on the work surface is particularly important in the kitchen. Lights are often built into wall units or extractor hoods or can otherwise be retrofitted.

LED lights, for example as light strips, help you find something in the depths of a cupboard or drawer.

Bathroom: Whether for applying makeup or shaving, in the bathroom, light at the mirror is important. Lights should be mounted either above the mirror or on both sides to avoid shadows.

"300 to 400 lux in front of the mirror light is ideal," says Beckert. – dpa

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