The Grazia Girl's Guide To: Interior Lighting
By Lucy Morris Posted on 19 Oct 2018
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.’
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.
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