When thinking about the flow of space, ambience and atmosphere in your home, lighting can be one of the most fundamental elements. Brighter lights can make you feel alert and awake, where as dimmer, softer lights can be relaxing and sleep-inducing.
Take a layered approach to lighting with different light sources across different levels to create ambience and interest in a room. Use lighting to make the most of a room’s size and shape –uplighting makes a room feel larger, low hung pendants will create an illusion of height and clusters of lighting make large rooms seem cosier.
Consider what tasks you may be undertaking in each room where lighting can affect or aid you. Cooking requires more concentrated lighting, therefore a combination of bright downlights and recess lighting, in cabinets and above stove tops, is useful. For reading, flexible and directional lighting aimed away from you is better. Powder rooms require a combination of sidelights and downlights. Dimmers will quickly become your new best friend, providing an energy efficient and effective way to quickly change the atmosphere and warmth of a room.
The bulbs you choose should be more than an afterthought, racing through the supermarket when you realise they’ve blown. You should consider the following:
Use lighting to subtly (or not so subtly) focus on a feature wall, architectural element or key possession (like your mahogany leather sofa or winged armchair). Wall mounted lights symmetrically arranged on either side of a statement mirror above the mantelpiece of a fireplace will add warmth, sophistication and elegance to a room.
Spotlights work well when pointed at the centre of a dining table to draw people in.
Midnight bathroom breaks are made worse with harsh lighting that causes temporary blindness upon flicking a switch. Invest in directional floor level lighting in hallways, staircases and the bathroom to create subtle warmth and a guide.
Keep theme, colour schemes and material finishes consistent throughout the home, especially when it comes to lighting. Too many different styles in a sordid array throughout the home can be confusing on the eye and will cause uneasiness. Neutral, lighter tones will open up a space and make it appear larger, statement pops of colour (e.g. through lampshades) will add interest, while darker hues add a touch of luxury and cosiness. Keep it simple and consistent.