Everything You Need To Know Before You Choose Lighting For Your Home

Ask yourself this, what good is that perfectly curated picture wall for if you can't see it?

How to light a room

by Lucy Morris |

For most of us residing in cities and small abodes, natural light, like clean air and high ceilings, is an elusive thing. Hence, most of us rely heavily on artificial sources.

How you light a room - be it low and atmospheric, decorative and esoteric or bright and practical - is arguably one of the most important (and reguarly overlooked) aspects of decorating.

' I always like to layer the lighting, just as an interior designer layers with finishes and textures,' says Sally Storey, a lighting design expert and creative director of John Cullen Lighting. 'It is by combining effects that a successful scheme is achieved.'

We asked Sally all the questions you need to ask before lighting a room...

How Can You Effectively Light An Open Plan Room?

'The best way to light an open plan room is to consider each room as a separate room, for instance, a kitchen, dining and living room. Work out the best solution for each area and then combine them with a single control system so that they can all work together. Instead of a rotary dimmer switch with four or five different knobs, a control system means you can press one button for a daytime scene and the next for early evening, then a dining scene and a final scene for watching TV. '

How Should You Go About Lighting A Room With No Windows In A Decorative Way?

'My favourite way of lighting rooms with no windows is to incorporate lighting into shelving. Shelving can be lit in a multitude of ways; backlighting to throw the items into silhouette, front lighting to light the front of objects of with individual miniature downlights. This creates a window effect within the room adding depth and interest.'

What Do You Need To Consider When You’re Lighting A Bedroom?

'Naturally, depending on the style, I would think of lamps either side of the bed for mood but would also provide a seperate dedicated reading light (such as the John Cullen's Cama) either side of the bed. I would introduce lighting at the end of the bed with maybe two Polespring downlights to light a throw (useful for packing a suitcase too).

I would then have a free standard lamp by a chair or a lamp on a chest of drawers and if the room is large I would throw direct light on to the wardrobe, especially if there is no internal lighting. Most importantly, however, is to ensure you use a dimmer switch to ensure to create a mood.'

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What Lights Can You Use In A Dining Room?

'A central focus could be a chandelier, but I would also always have two narrow beam spotlights to focus on the centre of the dining table. Candles are also fabulous for creating an atmosphere around a room. Wall lights and table lights work well to provide soft general light along with focused downlights to light the artwork.'

How Can You Creatively Light A Bathroom?

'For a bathroom, the lighting should be practical and bright for during the day, but also have the magic of a spa to allow for relaxation at night. For practical reasons, I consider general lighting, task lighting and lighting for mood and atmosphere. Downlights are a practical consideration for general light, but forget the concept of a grid of lighting. Instead, brighten up the finishes by locating an LED Polespring close to a tiled or stone wall to dramatically bring up the finish, they provide streaks of light almost like running water.

'Also think about task lighting around the mirror. In this case, I think, without a doubt, the best solution is two wall lights either side of a mirror as this gives the correct side light that will balance the face. Finally, for a bit of spa magic, add a fitting such as foot level lighting to wash the light across the floor.'

What Are Smart Lighting Placement Ideas For A Small Room?

'A small room can always be made to feel bigger with the clever positioning of lights. Instead of lighting straight down, use directional downlights directed to the walls, which will provide a reflected light increasing the feeling of space.'

How Can You Light A Room With Low Ceilings?

'I try to create some uplight which could be a plug-in solution in the corner of a room lighting up through planting or an LED strip above a kitchen unit or piece of furniture. This will then reflect light off the ceiling helping to increase the feeling of height.'

What Are The Biggest Lighting Trends Of The Moment?

'Trends have focused on decorative fixtures, such as the multiple hanging of pendants which is a popular effect at the moment. Two or three pendants can be clasped together to take on the concept of a much larger chandelier. A big lighting trend for 2018 is hanging pendants low. Instead of a lamp by a bed head or in the corner of a room. It looks funky and has the added advantage of space saving.

And, recent exhibitions have shown that woven materials, wicker or even metal can be used on pendants, which has the added advantage of throwing wonderful shadows. Keep in mind that you will need a filament lamp to achieve these shadows as a diffused frosted lamp will not give you the same effect.'

What Is Your Best Piece Of Advice About Lighting?

'Always layer with light. This will allow you to build the mood and atmosphere and add the magic to any room.

READ MORE: The Best Places To Kit Out Your Home On The Cheap That Aren't Ikea


SHOP: The Best Places To Kit Out Your Home On The Cheap

The Best Places To Decorate Your Home On The Cheap That Aren't Ikea
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Behind every Ian Snow piece lies a story. A tradition, a way of doing things, carefully preserved through the generations. Inspired by Ian's travels to India in 1969, his daughters Daisy and India work alongside him and their mother from their farm in Devon.

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If you've ever been into an Anthropologie store you'll know the overwhelming feeling of wanting everything in sight. From soft furnishings to glassware, they stock near enough everything for any room in the house.

The Best Places To Decorate Your Home On The Cheap That Aren't Ikea
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CREDIT: Zara Home

Zara Home is about to launch a new online collection, so you no longer have to go in store to get your fix.

The Best Places To Kit Out Your Home On The Cheap That Aren't Ikea
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With 33 stores all over the UK, stock changes regularly but they claim they are 60% cheaper than other retailers. Although you can't shop online, which is a bit of a pain. Their beautiful rustic tables are seriously sturdy. Also their beautiful blue & white cushion with serious top texture is a stand out accessory for your sofa (£7.99). You can't buy online so a visit to store is essential.

The Best Places To Kit Out Your Home On The Cheap That Aren't Ikea
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If you've been missing out on Sainsbury's range of homeware then you need to jump on the bandwagon pronto. This beautiful scarf-print bed linen is only £31 and pretty enough to make you ditch plain white bedding for life. They also have some very reasonably priced soft furnishing like this oil paint cushion (£12) to instantly add a unique interior twist without blowing the budget.

The Best Places To Kit Out Your Home On The Cheap That Aren't Ikea
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While you're browsing ASOS looking for an outfit for the last minute boozy brunch you've agreed to attend this weekend, pop some bedding, towels and plant hangers (this one's only £16!) in your basket from the website's homeware range. It's cheap, durable and (most importantly) uniquely stylish.

The Best Places To Kit Out Your Home On The Cheap That Aren't Ikea
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With over 140 stores in the UK with so much to choose from and is suitable for a range of budgets. Their home accessories are particularly good for those with less cash to splash. From their decor range their blue ribbed glass bud vase at £5 is perfect for stems and their metal and glass lantern is just stunning for £8. Also you may not know it yet, but their Albany gold table lamp is exactly what you need in your life. (£104).

The Best Places To Kit Out Your Home On The Cheap That Aren't Ikea
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Offering everything from furniture to wall art, throws, cushions, vases and even a dedicated wedding range. You do have to root around, but you'll find some gems. Check out the hanging chair from their garden essentials, or their Pinterest-worthy ivory arched mirror for £57.99. Their Laos Trail wallpaper is beautiful with a price to match at £14.99 a roll and their Lobster cushion taps into the tapestry trend for just £3.99.

The Best Places To Kit Out Your Home On The Cheap That Aren't Ikea
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Decorator's Notebook specialise in handmade home accessories from fair trade groups, social enterprises and artisan co-operatives all over the world. Their ethos is that design quality and ethics can go hand in hand and allow customers to create a beautiful home without compromising their style or their conscience.

The Best Places To Kit Out Your Home On The Cheap That Aren't Ikea
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A family-run business with unusual pieces. Their geometric vases are so nice it's hard to know if you'd look at the flowers or the vase and their black distressed whale book ends will make even your crappy old uni books look interesting.

The Best Places To Kit Out Your Home On The Cheap That Aren't Ikea
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Wilko calls itself the 'home of family value' retailer. And although it sounds a bit like a razor, it's actually just an amazing shop that sells just about everything. You could kit out your entire home this way, but highlights right now are a slick bookcase from their Julian Bowen range for £140, or this Anthropologie-esque duvet set for just £14.

The Best Places To Kit Out Your Home On The Cheap That Aren't Ikea
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Launched in October 2014, this boutique scours the globe for handmade pieces which means your mates won't automatically have the same wardrobe as you. We're very into this chevron chest of drawers, par example.

The Best Places To Decorate Your Home On The Cheap That Aren't Ikea
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Mostly known for their clothes, H&M has recently upped it's game and stepped into the homeware market. And with pieces such as this rattan basket for just £9.99 it's no surprise the new venture is doing well.

The Best Places To Decorate Your Home On The Cheap That Aren't Ikea
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CREDIT: Marks & Spencer

Seeing a theme here? Yep, there are plenty of supermarkets offering cheap homeware, including Marks & Spencer. This leaf print cushion is only £12.50!

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