Lets talk about Lighting

Right, let’s stop throwing things out for just a moment and on this dark cold night talk about lighting.  Finalising the lighting arrangement is up next on my list of decisions to make for the master bedroom. But first – my simple guidelines.

You need 3 different sources of light 

When designing a lighting scheme for a room as a rule of thumb I feel there should be three different types of light sources.  These should be capable of being switched on individually, so you can mix and match to set the perfect lighting scene (8 options from just 3 fittings!). Here are the three sources you need:

Light Fitting 1 – Role: Ceiling Illumination

The first fitting you need is a large bright light to generally light the entire room on those gloomy days and early nights (above left image).  The best way to do this is with uplight to your ceiling, which will likely be painted white. This will bounce light from your fitting around the room making it appear taller and more spacious. This light should always be on a dimmer so you can control the overall background light level for the room depending on what is going on. Just because the builder put the ceiling rose in the  middle of the room, doesn’t mean it needs to sit here if it doesn’t make sense. Get an extended flex and hang it in a corner – it will still give plenty of light there. (I just wanted it centred on the fireplace in our living room as I will eventually have built in units on either side)

In our study I ran a strip of concealed LEDs on every other wooden truss to uplight the ceiling and therefore the space. In our grand hall and guest room the opal shaded pendant does the same job.

It is important to note that for this source you should not use a solid (opaque) lamp shade on your pendant as this will focus the light downwards. When I took off the fabric lamp shade on our kitchen pendant during my de-cluttering, the space seemed twice as tall!

Light Fitting 2 – Role: Task Lighting & Jewellery

The next bit of lighting you need is some task lighting to drop pools of focused light on specific areas where needed. I like these light fittings to act as pieces of  ‘jewellery’ to embellish the space and give it some personality and sparkle. These lights could be a contemporary light fitting like the Tab Lights from Flos in our guest bedroom, a vintage fitting like the Anglepoise in our study, or a re-purposed heat lamp (above middle image). This isn’t to say that light fitting one can’t be a sparkly chandelier – one source can fill two roles…

Light Fitting 3 – Role: Hidden Softness

I always love the magic of seeing light without seeing the fitting. There is always something beautiful and gentle about a soft glow creeping out of a light cove, washing over a textured surface or spilling out from under a cabinet. Concealed lighting doesn’t need to be fancy or expensive, or even integrated into the fabric of the building. In our living room a simple £10 globe light from B&Q banishes the darkness from behind or sofa visually expanding the floor space (above right image). To me an element of concealed lighting somewhere is the finishing touch that adds a layer of softness and sophistication to any room.

These are of course guidelines – so mix and match… but try to get in three fittings – even if the third is candles! Tomorrow I’ll show you what we did in our bathroom.

P.S. Our living room really isn’t as dark as it looks in the photos above! I set the camera exposure to show the light fitting rather than the room.


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