Our Tips for Great Interior Lighting
Don’t you just love this time of the year, you pull open the curtains and the room floods with the beautifully bright yet soft glow of the morning sun, if you’re like us it fills your heart with warmth setting you up positively for the day. At the height of the summer that feeling lasts all day resulting in bright smiles and happy faces.
With the turning of the summer solstice, our thoughts began to revolve around the shortening of the days (we know, we’re sorry) and how you can prepare for the longer darker nights by creating beautifully-lit spaces that carry that warm glow into winter. It may seem like a difficult undertaking and its hard to understand where to begin. When it comes to lighting, there are a few things we first consider before putting pen to paper:
Types of lighting
Every home needs architectural lighting, the light that takes the darkness away and allows the space to function. This type of lighting does not need to be a series of architectural recessed downlights in a grid-like fashion on your ceiling. Do they light the space? Absolutely, there’s no denying that, but combining a series of different types of functional light fittings will highlight different elements of the space to create interest and layers. Low-level wall lights, floor washers, up lights, downlights, recessed, picture lights all have a very clear function and can be used together beautifully to create that functional yet layered effect.
This type of lighting is essential, there is absolutely nothing worse than strained eyes when you don’t have adequate luminosity especially when it comes to your home. It is important to understand what you will do in a space that will require task lighting and installing the correct light fitting to suit. As an example, recessed downlights are great for illuminating an entire space, but they can cast shadows easily.
By adding another type of light, for example an LED light strip underneath a wall hung kitchen unit, or, pendants which sit just at eye level, we counterbalance the shadow and you will have a lovely well-lit workspace. It is no coincidence that island pendants have become a standard feature in most modern homes as they light the counter space and make it a welcome place for homework, finishing off those work notes or prepping for dinner. The trick is not to install them too high. An installation height of 80 cm from the top of the counter to the bottom of the counter works very well.
We love love love decorative lighting, like art and soft furnishings they can change the aesthetic of a space and add drama when needed. They come in many forms: pendants, chandeliers, wall sconces and lamps. They add an extra dimension and layer to the decorative palette, but they also increase the quality of light and the internal environment.
When choosing your decorative light fittings, you must look at the room as a whole, the colours, textures, materials and use the lights to tie them all together, be bold! Your decorative light fittings should make a statement and they are easily interchangeable if you want to switch up the look quickly and with a dramatic effect.
What to do
Zone your space:
It is important to understand how you wish to use different spaces within your home and to zone them accordingly as this helps to understand the different types of lighting you may need. Zoning is simply divided into various activities such as: Eat, Play, Cook, Entertain, Relax, Wash, Sleep, Circulate, Activity. Take for example an open plan living space which includes your Kitchen (Cook, Entertain, Eat, Wash, Activity), Dining (Entertain, Eat, Play, Relax) and TV area (Entertain, Play, Relax, Activity).
Each of these spaces has at least one activity in common, in this instance it is Entertain but that activity in the different spaces can look very different and requires a different type of lighting in each. When cooking with friends you need task lighting when hosting a lovely meal, you require mood lighting with task lighting, and when watching a movie as a family you need mood lighting alone.
Create a Mood:
Also known as ambient, this type of lighting is key to creating a wonderfully lit and cosy living space. By installing the correct control system it adapts all of the above types of lighting elements and turns them into beautifully soft ambient lighting. Dimmers are essential as you can raise or lower the level of light to suit your mood.
When hosting a dinner party at home we love to put the fire on, dim down the architectural lights to their lowest, turn some select decorative and task lights and put some sweet music on in the background, it’s not just the taste of the food that adds to the night, its the scene and mood of the space your eating in that really leave a lasting impression on your guests.
Pick the right Bulb:
When it comes to bulbs the choice is endless, whether it’s an Edison, screw in, GU 10 or LED its hard to figure out the right one for your light fitting, never mind choosing the one for creating an ambience. Most light bulbs come in LED format these days which is fantastic for the environment and for your electricity bill but have you noticed that cold blue tone.
Well, that’s down to the colour temperature of the light and is measured in Kelvins that range from 6500k which are super blue (like those Christmas tree lights that strain your eyes) down to our preferred 2700k which is a softer yellow tone perfect for backlighting to use in decorative lamps as well as under counter and behind shelving. Its light is a soft warm glow, perfect for cosy nights in. You can also select smart bulbs which can be turned on or off via an app on your phone but that’s a blog for another day.