More than any other element in the interior, lighting is responsible for generating atmosphere and hence has a considerable impact on the way you feel about a living space. Every home needs a mixture of different types of light: ambient background lighting, task light and information light. It is therefore imporant that a lighting scheme is carefully planned and not left to last-minute decision making.

Once the basic system is established, there is a mesmerising variety of lighting to choose from - both hi - and low-tech - which, as well as offering practical solutions, presents a whole host of decorative possibilities.

Of all forme of contemporary fittings and furnishings, lighting is probably the one that is changing most rapidly. It is developing so fast that it may take little more than a generation for the fundamentals wich which we are familiar - the traditional light bulb and wall switch - to be all but redundant in new homes.

The ordinary tungsten light bulb is already outmoded in terms of its inefficient energy consumption and long-term cost, although its warm glow is reassuringly familiar and consequently it continues to be widely used. Long-lasting, low-energy mini-flurescents are more efficient and adaptable to the practical and aesthetic requirements of modern lighting, both as a result of their small size and because of the tonal quality of the light they emit. Another exciting new development are tiny light emitting diodes (LEDs); controlled by computerized microprocessors they offer wide-ranging flexibility of colour and performance. 

New technologies, aside, however, it is possible to improve the existing lighting in your home reletively easily. By changing the types of bulbs and fittings you already have, by installing dimmer switches, or by replacing or moving free-standing and table lamps, you will be able to achieve a much more functional and life-enhancing environment.