Bright ideas

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 16 January, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 16 January, 2008, 12:00am

Set the right mood for rooms in the home with softer lights or LEDs

Light bulbs largely determine the ambience of a room. But first decide the mood you want because different colours bring out different moods.

Experts refer to light bulb colours as temperatures - warm and cool - and most people prefer a warm feeling in their home.

'Regular light bulbs that say 'warm light' on the package are usually yellowish and are good for residential settings,' Hong Kong Design Institute senior lecturer Teresa Ho Sau-kuen said.

Virginia Lung Wai-ki, director of One Plus Partnership, said: 'In my experience older people want lighting to be warmer and more yellowish. It is softer and more comfortable.'

Warm light also helps hide wrinkles, much like candlelight. If you want decor that is hi-tech or futuristic go for cool incandescent lights such as a white, blue or silver effect.

'I think for modern design people like stainless steel, aluminium and clean minimalism. They like white light, but not as white as an office,' Ms Lung said.

Beige-coloured lighting is a good in-between choice.

Children need good lighting on their desks to aid their studies. The most desirable lighting combination for a writing desk, study or studio, is a combination of incandescent fluorescent tubes and warm, white light bulbs.

Ms Ho said: 'Together they provide balanced lighting for all sorts of work that requires good intensity lighting.'

She said Hong Kong University's architecture studio used a checkered pattern of lighting, alternating a fluorescent tube with a white light bulb.

'If we don't have the right light we will see crimson as orange and purple as blue, the colour will be distorted,' she said.

Using a mix of light in the home will preserve the luscious deep-red colour of your favourite velvet cushions.

This is also true in the bathroom, or wherever you apply make-up. If you do not have the correct lighting all the colours will look wrong.

The future of lighting and all the rage now is using light emitting diodes (LEDs). This type of lighting has been in use in Hong Kong for some time and is popular for signage.

Designers are integrating LED lighting into headboards for beds, around bathroom mirrors and into stairs, handrails, wine cabinets and storage cupboards.

Some designers are taking a cue from Lan Kwai Fong and installing LED in personal wet bars. The effect is dramatic.

Ms Lung said: 'LED uses many bulbs and is small so it can be formed into many shapes.'

She said that an LED light was the size of a fingertip, lasted longer and was cooler than a regular bulb.

Some residential building lobbies were switching to LED lights because they were cooler so air-conditioning did not have to be turned up too high, she said.

She said LED lighting had many possibilities for the home. 'One of the biggest differences from a regular light bulb is it can change colour. A bathroom could become like a hip hotel, changing the room from red to yellow or blue to orange.'

However, buying LED lighting is not easy. You must either buy the furniture with an installed LED system or through decorating contractors.