Lighting doesn’t have to be dull! It’s often said that lighting can make or break an interior scheme. While this is a bold claim, good lighting can change the mood of a room and add versatility.
It can also affect the perceived size of a room.
Lighting mainly falls into three categories: ambient, accent and task. I like to approach lighting by thinking of it in layers, highlighting any architectural and design features of a room – from floor to ceiling, writes Catherine Watson, of Bert & Wills.
Most rooms will have some form of lighting whether this is a single pendant in the middle of the room, or downlighters which are more common in a kitchen or bathroom environment; this is known as ‘ambient’ lighting and provides an area with overall illumination, offering a comfortable level of brightness, and fundamentally allowing you to see and walk about safely.
Increasingly we are seeing downlighters as a feature in other rooms too as they offer a contemporary look and feel.
A centre light doesn’t need to be boring, there are so many options for creating a focal point including chandeliers, fabric, wood and glass options, and lights with several arms.
Dimmer switches are a great way to quickly change the look and feel of a room instantly.
Accent lighting kind of does what it says on the tin – it highlights certain areas and creates a visual interest that helps change the mood of a space. You can light up anything you like – a coffee table, piece of art or a fireplace – choose the pieces you like to accentuate. Standard lamps add warmth and are an extra source of ‘mood’ lighting.
Task lighting helps you perform specific tasks, such as reading, preparing and cooking food, doing homework and playing games.
It can be provided by recessed and track lighting, pendant lighting and under cabinet lighting, as well as by floor and desk lamps. Task lighting should be free of glare and shadows and is designed to prevent eye strain.
We often think about wall and ceiling lights, but never consider low level lighting.
Accent lights on stair treads are a quirky option that can create a dramatic effect.
Likewise small, inset lights around the bottom of bedroom walls can ‘light the way’ and offer a tranquil environment (think how well kitchen plinth lighting works at night).
In summary, when choosing your lighting look at all options – pendants, recessed, track, chandeliers, standard/floor lamps, table lamps, wall lights/lighting artwork, under cabinet lighting and spot lights/downlighters.
If you need a head start, take a photo of your room and see where the dark areas naturally form and what you can do lighting wise in that area.