Lighting is such a key aspect when designing a room. For anyone embarking on a major refurbishment project or simply giving an existing room a bit of an overhaul, adapting the lighting can completely change its atmosphere. Just as you would layer your overall interiors scheme, so too should you think of a lighting scheme as being a process of layering. Outlined below are the key elements of lighting layer.
Natural Light - When you start your designs or plan always consider what natural light the room benefits from. Even the most sophisticated lighting scheme is no substitute for natural light so try to find ways to enhance as much of it as possible. In a full refurbishment this could be adding floor to ceiling windows, skylights or even a glass roof. For more minor alterations, position mirrors to bounce light back into the room, adjust curtain fixtures so they sit as far bask as possible from the window panes or change inner doors into glazed versions.
Ambient lighting - The most generic lighting, this is the layer that which replaces natural light. Most popular forms of ambient lighting are overhead recessed lights. Here are some top tips when selecting your ambient lighting:
- A good rule of thumb for the number of spotlights is 1 light for every 4 square foot.
- Recessed spotlights give a much softer and sophisticated ambience. You can either choose fittings which actually recess in the ceiling or fitting with recessed bulbs.
- Whilst chrome fittings used to be fashionable, a white fitting blends into the ceiling and diverts the eye.
- Controls should include dimmers to allow for a changing of atmosphere as your and if your budget allows you, a centrally controlled system helps preset various moods.
Task lighting - pretty much what it says on the tin! Task lighting allows specific areas to be lit in order to get tasks done. For your kitchen think pendant lights over your island unit or under counter lights to illuminate food preparation areas. It can also be a table lamp in a reading corner of your lounge or a ceiling mounted light fitting over the dining table. When designing the task lighting requirements, first think about the way in which you live and how your room will function. Make a list of all the activities you will be doing in the room, and where they will occur.
Accent Lighting - This is really the styling layer. When planning this phase, consider those areas you really want to show off. Are there any architectural features in your home which deserve to be highlighted with uplighter or downlighter or tracked spots? Does a cosy corner of the room deserve to be highlighted with a statement lamp? Perhaps you have some artwork that you needs to be illuminated? Lamps are in fact a fabulous way to add style to your room and illuminate spaces with soft low level lighting at the same time. You can add warmth and texture with a lamp and in the case of the Anna Jacobs range, some lamps even act as works of art. More isn’talways better though so don’t overdo it. A single statement lamp such as our Sefuri (below) is often more effective than an array of lamps scattered randomly throughout the room.
Candle light - never underestimate the power of candles to create that romantic relaxing mood. But if lighting a whole host of candles in your room every night is not your bag, then the faux LED versions offer an easy alternative. Ours have built-in timers too, so they will light up every night at the same time. One less thing to worry about…
For further inspiration for light fittings take a look at high end experts John Cullen Lighting, who have worked in the industry for over 35 years and Creative Director Sally Storey has written numerous books on the subject including this one. “Perfect Lighting: inspiring solutions for every room”, available on Amazon.