De­signer se­crets: Susie Atkin­son

Country Life Every Week - - Interiors Insight Lighting -

De­signer whose projects in­clude Soho House

What do you re­gard as the ideal com­bi­na­tion of light­ing in a liv­ing room? Dif­fer­ent lev­els of light, prefer­ably on dimmable cir­cuits, al­low you to cre­ate at­mos­phere and dif­fer­ent moods, and is more flex­i­ble than too much over­head light­ing. Ta­ble and floor lamps, some pic­ture light­ing and a dimmable pen­dant pos­si­bly cen­tred on the fire­place or over a cen­tral cof­fee ta­ble or stool make a good mix.

And in a bed­room?

Lamps are my favourite here be­cause they cast a softer, lower-level light. I might also use some pic­ture or wall lights and read­ing lights by the bed.

What are your tips on us­ing spot­lights?

I try to avoid us­ing too many of them, be­cause they aren’t very char­ac­ter­ful. Twelve spot­lights in a ceil­ing and a pen­dant in the mid­dle just don’t look very good and can cre­ate an over-lit feel. Bet­ter to use them specif­i­cally, for ex­am­ple, an­gled to high­light an art­work or to light a dark cor­ner of a kitchen or bath­room.

How do you light hall­ways?

A ceil­ing lantern, pen­dant or chandelier cre­ates the fo­cal point, of­ten mixed with wall lights in a long hall­way or up a stair­case, where it can be more dif­fi­cult to use over­head light­ing. I also like us­ing can­dles in floor lanterns; OKA (www.oka.com; 0844 815 7380) sells LED can­dles that can be used to safely light a wooden stair­case.

Any thoughts on light­ing in kitchens?

Pin spots po­si­tioned over work­ing ar­eas are ideal, per­haps mixed with pen­dants over an is­land where your head won’t hit them. I also like wall lights around a din­ing area or pen­dants over a din­ing ta­ble, with light­ing in­side glazed cup­boards to il­lu­mi­nate pretty china or glass­ware and up­lighters fo­cused on a dis­play shelf of books.

Any new light­ing ideas that you are keen to share? I love sourc­ing an­tique lights, such as beau­ti­ful old-brass wall sconces, to mix into both con­tem­po­rary and tra­di­tional projects to add in­di­vid­ual char­ac­ter. I also like to buy sim­ple black wall lanterns (such as those by Davey Light­ing, 020–7351 2130; www.davey-light­ing.co.uk) and paint them a colour, such as red or blue, to cre­ate in­ter­est in a hall­way. And the hand­made tex­tile pen­dants by Naomi Paul (020–8556 8387; www.naomi­paul.co.uk) are beau­ti­ful, dif­fus­ing light to cre­ate a gen­tle glow.

Stu­dio Atkin­son (020–7835 5525; www.susieatkin­son.com)

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