No matter how great a space you have, if the lighting is wrong all you actually have is a space with potential. Directors use lighting in films to evoke a mood and you can do the same when decorating your home. For example, using warm lamps to light up dark corners helps create a welcoming mood. At night, when it gets dark, lighting is of the utmost importance – low level lamps are cosy and relaxing, helping you to decompress and mentally prepare for bed. (This is why casinos often simulate daylight at night – the last thing they want is for the players to get sleepy and go home.) But back to your home and how best to ensure it’s well lit throughout…
The entrance is undoubtedly one of the most important rooms in the house. It’s the first part of your home that you encounter after a long day at work. And it’s the first taste of your home that your guests get when dropping by. So lighting here is key; after all, it sets the tone. We suggest using feature lighting to create impact, while adding large scale lamps with silk shades to the space will conjure up a sense of luxury. On the other hand, a load of cables on display will do the exact opposite! Hide or at least tidy up wires using cable ties and tape; strategic placing of stools and baskets is also a nifty way of concealing plug sockets. If however you’re lucky enough to be planning your lighting as part of your build, we advise placing sockets at a height of 80 cms so that you can you tuck any unsightly cables from your hallway lamps behind your chosen console.
Layer lighting sources to create the multifunctional use of a living space or a more formal main reception. For family use, this should be a quintessentially cosy room, the room where the family gets together to relax, and its lighting needs to reflect that – scatter lighting round the room is an easy way to create exactly that atmosphere Dark corners can be lit up with floor lamps. Reading lights to the side of a sofa should do just that: make reading easy – though if space is tight, a floor lamp is an easy substitute. As for adding a sense of grandeur and drama? A large lamp on a side table will do the trick, though do make sure the side table is stable! Equally, a pair of lamps on a table behind a sofa can be both dramatic and enticing. Cables, as ever, can be a constant nuisance – try to run them to a floor box under the sofa. If this isn’t possible, at least make sure they’re not running right where you’ll walk.
The dining room is the space where you entertain and gather socially so a large, central pendant can inject a real sense of style and drama. An overscale shade is perfect for an informal room or kitchen dining and will still create an impact. In a more formal space, glass or metalwork can create a more glamorous mood. Make sure that the table is well lit by adding overhead downlights to avoid dark pools when dining. Layering is another decorator tip and wall lights, picture lights and lamps add to a welcoming feel and sense of interest.
When it comes to the bedroom, lamps needn’t be simply for light; they are also an easy way to inject colour and texture to the room. For a classic look use feature lamps with shades, but make sure there is enough space not to knock the shade when in bed. (As a general rule of thumb, it is good for lamps not to be higher than the headboard – though there can always be an exception to the rule if the scale is right.) If you want a more contemporary look, then use an angled metal lamp – not only does it look slick, it’s also more directional for reading. A good space saving tip that doesn’t compromise on style is to use a pendant hung low or a wall light above the bedside.
If you’re starting from scratch with the lighting in your property though, you’ll need more than lamps to fulfil all your lighting necessities. This is when you’ll need to call in the experts – specialists such as the award-winning lighting design consultant Sally Storey; or Rebecca Weir, who recently, alongside Allyson Coates, put together the educational and visually impressive book, ‘The Languages of Light, A Creative Approach to Residential Lighting.’