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The beginner's guide to lighting

The good old light bulb has been around for roughly 150 years, transforming our homes, our cities and the world as we know it. And yet, the idea of furnishing with light is still unfamiliar turf for many. Light fixtures don’t just illuminate your home – they can also improve its ambience, add to its style and (most importantly) make certain areas more useable. Now, with the introduction of smart lighting, the possibilities truly are limitless. If you’d like to learn more about what light can do for your home, then you’re in the right place. With this family apartment as a shining example, let’s explore the three basic categories of lighting in action.

On top of a white SYVDE glass-door cabinet stands a lit, white FADO table lamp amid multiple decorative items.
On top of a white SYVDE glass-door cabinet stands a lit, white FADO table lamp amid multiple decorative items.

General lighting: the very first layer

Not unlike a kind smile, this first category is what (very literally) lights up the whole room – most often achieved with ceiling-hung pendant lamps. These lighting fixtures are often on the larger side, and so can really enhance the style of your interior. One great idea? Play around with plurals. In this longer hallway, for example, three pendant lamps hang in a row, guiding your eye into the room. If you’d like different levels of brightness for different times of day, this is where wireless LED bulbs can really lend a helping hand.

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A lit, white NÄVLINGE pendant lamp hanging over twigs with yellow flowers set in a vase. Framed art hangs on a nearby wall.
A hallway with broad-striped, black-and-white walls, hanging lamps, black PINNIG benches with shoe storage and UGILT rugs.
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Functional lighting: for where you really need it

The name gives it away: this is purpose-serving light that helps with specific activities around the house. You can use these lights to brighten up your desk or favourite reading chair, but also for things like highlighting collections or peering into the dark, hidden depths of your wardrobe. Look, there’s that sweater you last saw two years ago! Floor lamps and table lamps are great, but if free space is hard to come by, this home shows that you can also put your walls and ceiling to work.

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A young boy sitting, pen in hand, at a white PÅHL desk, adjusting a white KRUX work lamp.
Ceiling lighting, black-and-white SOFIA fabric hung as curtains in front of a wall-mounted white BOAXEL storage combination.
A corner of a white-tiled kitchen with lamps and side-by-side, wall-mounted, dark-grey EKET four-compartment cabinets.
The head end of a light-grey SLATTUM bed made with SPIKVALLMO bed linen, lit up by double, dark-grey HEKTAR spotlights.
A corner of a bedroom with a black-brown RAKKESTAD wardrobe, a floor lamp and a light-grey LINNEBÄCK easy chair.
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Ambient lighting: now it really feels like home

Think of this softer, warmer lighting as the final cherry on top; filling in the gaps between other light sources to create a really cosy and welcoming atmosphere. Table lights, fairy lights, LED tea lights... the list goes on. This is also where naked bulbs are best applied as – without a lamp shade – the bulbs can be harsh to look at when lit brightly for more functional purposes.

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A hanging, naked light bulb lights up a bed and a black KNARREVIK bedside table piled high with stacks of books.
A MARKFROST table lamp lights up a stack of beige KVARNVIK boxes and decorations atop a black-brown MALM chest of drawers.
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Hanging lighting in front of a white-tiled a kitchen wall, with black HULTARP rails and utensils hanging from HULTARP hooks.
By a bed stands a white SYVDE glass-door cabinet filled with storage, decorations and a lit, white FADO table lamp on top.

Switch on your home's style

Black and white lamps lend themselves brilliantly to this home’s punchy black and white palette. Take a look at the colours and textures of your home, and keep them in mind when picking out your light fixtures.

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