How to get your lighting right

How to get your lighting right

An Interior Designer’s tips on getting your lighting right, as well as the importance of choosing the right fitting.

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As an interior designer, I understand the importance of lighting, and often see how it can make or break a home. Good lighting is an investment, so getting it right the first time is really important and an integral part of the design process. Below, I am sharing with you my thoughts on the three main functions of lighting, plus giving you my top tips on designing a lighting plan for your home.

FUNCTION

Above all, if a room isn’t effectively lit, the overall functionality of the room can be compromised. When designing a lighting and electrical plan, be sure to run through the flow and function of the room. Think about the activities being done in what areas (cooking, writing, working etc.) and consider what type of lighting needs to be placed above or around your space. Here are my tips for task lighting:

  • When lighting a bathroom, avoid placing down lights directly over the top of the mirror, this can cast an unflattering shadow when getting ready to go out. Instead, try to mount wall sconces at eye level- this will be much more flattering, particularly for applying makeup.
  • Choose the right bulbs It’s important to consider what type of light you want to achieve. White light (daylight) is usually more effective for task lighting and warm light for ambience. LED globes are set to change the way we look at lighting, as they are very cost efficient. Once again there is warm light and cool light (daylight) to consider. They cut costs of up to 85%.
  • There are also beautifully shaped globes, with fancy filaments to complement the light fitting or lamp.  You may need to speak to your electrician about what wattage and the type of globes you should be using and where.
  • Consider different zones in each room and what you do in those zones. You might read, watch TV, write, work, rest etc.; attempt to light each zone accordingly. But don’t overdo the lighting. There is a fine balance that needs to be achieved.

 

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ACCENT

You can make a bold, stylish statement with lighting. Pendants, wall sconces and feature/sculptural lighting all have their place in an interior; when done right and planned well, it can really compliment the space.

Below are some ideas I draw upon regularly to create an aesthetic appeal using lighting:

  • Use wall sconces to light the hallway to invite guests into the home.
  • Make a beautiful, enticing statement in your entrance with a chandelier.
  • Choose gorgeous floor and table lamps that you love and compliment your interior and style really well. You can also update your lamps by changing the shade colour and texture as desired.
  • My favourite lighting designer for making a modern statement would be Lindsey Adelman and I also love Tom Dixon for lighting in general. Both Tom Dixon and Lindsey Adelman design and create stunning contemporary lighting which I adore.
  • I also love to source antique lighting to spark visual interest, whether it be an antique wall sconce (pictured below) or a magnificent, one-of-a-kind chandelier that will be forever beautiful.

 

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MOOD

Lighting has a purpose, but it also helps to create a mood. It can lift, soothe or relax someone; depending on how the lighting is set.
A brightly lit room can bring someone to attention, whilst a dim, romantically lit room can help you to relax and unwind.
Different lighting design can really have an impact on the room and the way that it makes you feel. I use the following elements to help bring the room together and create a beautiful mood:

  • I like to use dimmers to help create an ambience in the room, hallway or entrance.
  • I like to encourage my clients to light candles of an evening, which can really make a room feel beautiful and romantic.
  • I use pendants over a dining table on a dimmer to create an intimate dining experience

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EXTERIOR

Exterior lighting is just as important as interior lighting for both function and aesthetics. Good exterior lighting complements the architecture, adds value to the garden and allows us to enjoy outdoor entertaining of a summer evening. Outdoor lighting needs to do more than just look good and light the area, it also needs to be able to withstand harsh climates so its important to understand the the specific qualities of the materials used in your lighting. Copper is one of the best ways to add a rustic, antique look to the exterior of a home and can withstand the elements and last for many years. Other options include stainless steel, aluminium or polycarbonate which can all withstand weathering.

 

AN INTERIOR DESIGNER’S TOP TIPS FOR LIGHTING:

  • Get the scale right- the size of the room, enclave or space versus the size of the light fitting.
  • Put your ceiling lighting (pendants, chandeliers, down lights etc.) on a dimmer
  • Think about the function of the room and light accordingly. Think about what function you need the lighting for (cooking, applying makeup etc.) and consider lighting that area effectively.
  • Consider creating a feature by hiding lighting behind a ceiling bulkhead, or behind a mirror in the bathroom.
  • Use pendants in unexpected areas, such as the powder room, walk in robe or in the guest room for added welcoming and charm.
  • Attempt to have more than one source of electrical light in a room (on different switches) that can be beautifully used both separately, and altogether.
  • Have a play with symmetry- floor lamps; wall sconces and table lamps are a great way to create symmetry as a feature. Pair with artwork and accents to make a gorgeous vignette.

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Looking for some more inspiration?
I have saved some gorgeous images for you, with a focus on lighting design.
Come on over to my Pinterest board and fall in love with lighting.
– Click here to take a look – 


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