When one is involved in theatre one is immediately aware of lighting. Putting it crudely: it either makes or breaks your set design.
Having spoken to friends who are involved in the Malta property market I get the impression that most home buyers treat home-lighting as an afterthought. In fact the subject is treated as part of their list of accessories to be dealt with in conjunction with the home’s final touches.
I asked my friends in Malta real estate a leading question knowing beforehand the sheer probability of their answer. How often do their clients ask to view a property in late evenings? Well, you have guessed right; visits are inadvertently arranged during day-time when the property is bathed in sunlight. This tends to explain how certain rooms end up looking fine by day but are rather disappointing under artificial light. For ‘disappointing’ read lighting inconveniently placed for those who constantly live amid the lighted space.
Having helped friends with lighting schemes for their property and office in Malta I think that the subject should be approached in conjunction with what’s being envisaged for seating and other furniture. I feel that this is the only way where one can be sure of buying the right type of lighting and siting it correctly.
Trying to explain good lighting sounds so easy that it almost makes one feel slightly ridiculous yet oftentimes I am informed by friends that it’s not working right for them. The basic rules I think concern lamps hanging centrally over a dining table, bedside lights to shine on your book and laptop but not into your eyes, the illumination of desks and worksurfaces, lighting of dark corners and the display of objects that you want to stand out.
So I guess if you want to specifically work out a lighting plan to cope with your spaces this has to be based on three main factors, in fact these are the same considerations used for lighting up a theatrical design.
There’s the background lighting which gives a soft level of light throughout an area so as to create mood and atmosphere and therefore has to be supplemented by other light sources. There are various ways of going about it and the range includes recessed downlighters (spots hidden in the ceiling), uplighters (floor-standing lights beaming upwards), table lamps and wall lights may all provide the background lighting.
Direct lighting is of course necessary in the kitchen and in bathrooms. Besides providing adequate light for eating, writing, shaving and so on, direct lighting is necessary for the inside of deep cupboards, dark corners and staircases. It usually comes from pendant lamps fitted to the ceiling, although strip lights fitted under units or spotlights which may be flexibly angled out, may also do the job.
Then there’s the display or accent lighting designed to enhance anything that you want to be clearly displayed. By focusing attention on the desired object the eye is also drawn away from the less attractive features you may want to hide. There are innumerable fittings such as spotlights, framed projectors and other flexible lamps which again work very much like theatrical lighting.
I believe it always helps to draw a lighting plan for the area in question. Needless to say Malta Property, offices and new buildings found across the wide spectrum that comprises Malta real estate range from shell-form to fully refurbished residences. However it still pays to draw up an overall plan whether you are rewiring from scratch or adding a few extra lights or dimmer switches. Putting it all on paper helps you decide which fittings to use and where. Misplaced switches can mar an otherwise co-ordinated lighting scheme and should always be planned along the main circulation routes.
One does not need be a rocket scientist to know that our perception of colours is based only on light. The simplest illustration of this fact is achieved by looking at an ordinary piece of fabric under neon lighting, domestic lighting and natural light. The rag will appear as if it is in three different shades, if not in almost three completely different colours.
However do remember that even natural light, which is always the best way to view fabrics, carpets and upholstery, varies. And same as there’s a huge difference from the bright lighting of a midday summer day to the grey of a wintry day, artificial lights also vary in character and intensity.
Written by: Tony Cassar Darien, Writer