Towards the light
A thoughtful lighting plan can change the way your rooms function, writes Robyn Willis
Ask anyone about their top priorities for building or renovating and it’s unlikely they will say lighting. Beyond choosing a beautiful pendant light or table lamp, lighting has the power to make a room feel smaller or larger, create a party atmosphere or ready the household for bed.
Segment manager for Gerard Lighting, Peter Portelli, says a good lighting plan gives you the flexibility to change your space at the flick of a switch. “You can create a room within a room by lighting one part of the room and not the rest,” Peter says.
“It visually reduces the size of the room to make it feel more comfortable. Generally speaking, if you want a room to feel bigger, you light the walls, but if you want the room to feel snug, move the lights away from the walls.”
You can make a hallway feel more spacious, he says, by hanging artwork on the walls and then lighting each picture. The FLOS AIM Suspension Light designed by Bouroullec Brothers from Living Edge hangs low, directing the light into one corner of the living room.
“You can even direct people through your house with light,” Peter says. “If the kitchen is dark, they will naturally move through to the living room where there are lights on.”
With a little thought, you can create different moods for the same room.
“You can have multiple ‘scenes’ by turning certain lights off and creating a different atmosphere in the same space,” he says. “But it helps a lot if the lights are dimmable.”
While big-budget building projects can factor in the cost of a lighting designer, Peter says the reality for most people is to rely on the electrician for information. But he says lighting retailers are often a great source of advice.
“Do some research online,” he says. “Our website has a section on lighting design. Even if it’s a rental — they won’t want you to change the light fittings but you can change the bulbs.”