In­te­ri­ors guru James Tre­ble shares some bright ideas.

Homes+ (Australia) - - CONTENTS -

James Tre­ble has plenty of bright ideas to help you sort your home’s light­ing.

Q What’s the first thing you ask a client about light­ing for a new room? A Whether I’m work­ing with clients on a brand-new home or on a ren­o­va­tion, the first thing we dis­cuss is how they want to use the room.

It’s im­por­tant to clearly de­fine the ex­pected use of the room, to en­sure that the light­ing re­quire­ments are prop­erly met.

Based upon the brief, we look at the lay­out of the room and take into con­sid­er­a­tion the en­try and exit points, the lo­ca­tion of pro­posed fur­ni­ture pieces, any re­quire­ments for ex­ist­ing fur­ni­ture pieces, like large side­boards or over­sized din­ing ta­bles, as well as key fea­tures like art­work and ac­ces­sories. Q How do you make sure the light­ing in your kitchen works well? A Over­head light­ing, such as down­lights or track light­ing, is prac­ti­cal in this busy hub of the home. I usu­ally place a row of down­lights closer to the cab­i­nets so the benches are not over­shad­owed when you’re pre­par­ing food.

I also sug­gest un­der-cab­i­net light­ing, which is both prac­ti­cal and stylish. These can be left on, and the over­head lights off, for a softer-lit space.

It’s com­mon to high­light the kitchen is­land with hang­ing pen­dant lights and these fit­tings can add style and drama to the space. I al­ways sug­gest an odd num­ber, usu­ally three is the per­fect num­ber, but this must re­late to the size of the is­land bench.

Depend­ing upon the style of the home, some of my clients also add ad­di­tional fea­ture light­ing, such as un­der-cab­i­net light­ing run­ning along the skirt­ing boards or kick­plate. Q What’s the dif­fer­ence be­tween “warm” and “cool” light, and how do you choose the right light bulb for the room? A There are gen­er­ally two dif­fer­ent types of light bulbs, which are bro­ken down into cool and warm light. Warm light, as the name sug­gests, is con­sid­ered warmer, more invit­ing and is mostly used in rooms that re­quire at­mos­phere, such as bed­rooms and liv­ing ar­eas. The cooler white light is brighter and more in­tense and is there­fore bet­ter suited to work ar­eas, such as kitchens or bath­rooms.

You also need to take into ac­count per­sonal taste and house style, with warmer light gen­er­ally bet­ter suited to tra­di­tional colour schemes and cool white light work­ing well with mod­ern homes that have brighter, whiter in­te­rior schemes. Q How do you cre­ate mood light­ing in a liv­ing room? A The best light­ing schemes are usu­ally a mix of over­head func­tional light­ing and mood light­ing. In the liv­ing room, it’s all about bal­ance. Start with your ceil­ing or over­head light­ing – it may be clean rows of LED down­lights al­low­ing you to have a bright and light in­te­rior and make the room feel large and open, or it may be a mix of fea­ture light fit­tings above the liv­ing area and din­ing ta­ble.

In terms of mood, con­sider where ac­cent or fea­ture light­ing can be utilised. If you’re build­ing or ren­o­vat­ing, think about wall light­ing, which can high­light an art­work or an in­te­rior fea­ture like a fire­place. If your home is ex­ist­ing, this same ef­fect can eas­ily be achieved us­ing a com­bi­na­tion of ta­ble and floor lamps.

Q What are the pros and cons of down­lights? A Down­lights pro­vide low-im­pact, non-in­tru­sive over­head light­ing and sit snugly into the ceil­ing cav­ity for a clean, un­com­pli­cated look. This works espe­cially well if you have low ceil­ings. They do oc­cupy room for the fit­ting in­side the ceil­ing cav­ity so, if space is tight, or you have a tim­ber ceil­ing joist in the way, they may not fit ex­actly where you want them to.

Q What’s the key to great bed­room light­ing? A It’s about cre­at­ing a bal­ance of func­tional and mood light­ing. The stars are usu­ally bed­side lamps, which are a great way to add pat­tern and colour to the room, pro­vide a fo­cal point to help “frame” the bed, and of­fer prac­ti­cal light for read­ing.

For some­thing dif­fer­ent, why not have your elec­tri­cian in­stall hang­ing pen­dants from the ceil­ing, which hover just above your bed­side ta­bles. Re­mem­ber that the height of these should work for read­ing in bed, so they will sit lower than nor­mal fit­tings, ap­prox­i­mately 30-50cm above the bed­side ta­ble top. An­other im­por­tant con­sid­er­a­tion is to al­low for switches on ei­ther side of the bed so that you can turn off the main ceil­ing lights with­out hav­ing to get up. Q What’s the big­gest mis­take peo­ple make with light­ing in gen­eral? A To go with one stan­dard light fit­ting in the mid­dle of the ceil­ing. Good light­ing is all about op­tions, about chang­ing how a space can feel – this is the magic of a clever light­ing plan. You can eas­ily add a ta­ble lamp and maybe change up some of your globes this week­end, and al­most in­stantly you will have added op­tions to your room with the in­ten­sity and amount of light avail­able. This will have a huge ef­fect on how you feel.

Of course, it’s al­ways worth talk­ing to the ex­perts, so if you’re plan­ning a ren­o­va­tion or build­ing a new home, I would sug­gest meet­ing with a light­ing spe­cial­ist or qual­i­fied in­te­rior de­signer first. There are some sim­ple things you can do your­self, though – like swap­ping light bulbs and adding or mov­ing around lamps – that can change the mood of a room and have an im­pact on how ev­ery­one en­joys your home.

Good light­ing is all about op­tions, about chang­ing how a space can feel.


James Tre­ble is a qual­i­fied colour con­sul­tant/in­te­rior de­signer with over 20 years’ ex­pe­ri­ence within the build­ing and de­sign in­dus­tries. AC­CENT LIGHT­ING Hang a row of strik­ing pen­dants above the kitchen is­land.

AM­BI­ENT LIGHT­ING Choose a bulb with a warm white light to cre­ate a cosy feel in the liv­ing area. AC­CENT LIGHT­ING High­light an art­work with a care­fully po­si­tioned down­light. TASK LIGHT­ING Un­der-cab­i­net down­lights in the kitchen il­lu­mi­nate work ar­eas.

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