Thursday, 23 September 2021

And the interior designer said ‘Let there be light’

LIGHTING is such a subtle design tool. Good use of lighting will bring to life the most mundane design schemes.

LIGHTING is such a subtle design tool. Good use of lighting will bring to life the most mundane design schemes. Put great lighting together with a great interior and you’ve got the perfect partnership.

Picking a fantastic light fitting is just one element of the job. Where you place it, how it operates and the effect it has on its surrounding area is twice as important. Not unlike a fashion designer, a good interior designer layers the lighting in a room. The four basic principles of lighting are:

lGeneral lighting

lAccent or feature lighting

lTask lighting

lDecorative lighting

It is the combination and layering of these four principles within a space that provides the key to successful lighting design.

General lighting means filling a space with an overall illumination. For us it is the instant light we switch on when entering the space. On its own it is featureless and dull yet it’s what most people do — one pendant hanging alone in the room which switches on and off.

Feature or accent lighting is light directed at an area. The focus is the object of illumination, not the light source itself. Beware of overdoing it as too many illuminated focal points will clutter the room.

Task lighting is illumination for performing a job or task such as reading or cooking. All kitchens should have plenty of task lighting over counters and areas where work is carried out.

Decorative lighting is exactly what it says — it provides decoration and architectural interest. Typical examples are chandeliers, wall sconces and table lamps.

A trick often employed when designing a lighting plan for clients is to cross light a focal point with halogen spots. A chandelier sometimes looks better with light shining down on it from above, than lit itself.

Always remember that halogen bulbs provide white light — in other words your colours will look more as they should be than if under regular tungsten bulbs which emit a yellow light.

Exterior light is often overlooked yet it creates an extension of the interior, entices you outside and adds character to the environment around your property. Uplight garden features, moonlight pools within the garden and use step lights if you have steps. Bring your outdoors in with clever use of light.

Another area you should consider when installing a lighting plan is the creation of different circuits. In other words, have different switches for the various layers of light in the space — a dimmer system can control the atmosphere.

Lighting is an area often neglected in the design scheme within the home, but think twice before you hang that simple pendant. Go that extra step, be more creative and your lighting will enhance your space.

While lighting is an essential part of creating any interior, it’s also important to think about the quality of natural light your room receives when designing any interior scheme.

For example, if your room is small, north facing or receives little natural light, it’s advisable to avoid dark paint colours such as reds, deep blues or purples as these can create an oppressive, overly dark scheme.

Top tips:

1. Natural lighting is very important, so choose a home with large windows and lots of natural light. If that is not an option, look for ways to compensate for small windows: place mirrors on walls opposite to windows, so that they reflect daylight and create a brighter home.

2. Match your lighting with your furniture’s style. If you like classic, traditional décor, look for old-fashioned chandeliers or lamps designed in a simple, “reduced” way. Recessed lights are good for all types of apartments — minimalistic and fancy, vintage and cosy. Modern furniture goes well with elaborate, ornate lamps and wall sconces.

3. Provide strong, good lighting for study rooms and your children’s room desks where kids do their homework. Table lamps are usually good for such occasions, but overhead lights are necessary as well.

4. For a nice atmosphere and to reduce electricity consumption, use candles whenever you can — in the dining room during dinners, in the bedroom while getting ready for bed, in the living room while playing games, drinking wine or watching movies.

5. Shop for lights wherever you can. Vintage stores and car boot sales can be just as good for light shopping as department stores.

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