Light-bulb moment can alter your home
This time of year may be bleak and dark, but it’s the perfect time to switch on to the power of good lighting. Property presenter George Clarke reckons lighting can make or break a winter home
From dazzling new effects to simple bulbs, illuminating your home at this time of year can make a big difference.
“Lighting really matters in a home and can literally transform it,” promises George Clarke, architect and Channel 4’s popular property presenter of George Clarke’s Amazing Spaces and The Restoration Man.
“I’ve seen great buildings ruined by bad lighting schemes, and great lighting improve bad buildings. It can truly make that much difference.
“What’s fantastic these days, is that there are affordable, effective ways of personally tailoring lighting schemes, using technology like smartphones and tablets, which a decade ago, would have costs thousands.”
George, who’s currently working with Philips lighting, believes good lighting doesn’t just have a visual effect, but can also help improve our wellbeing.
“Artificial light can now mimic natural light and light systems can be programmed to suit our body rhythms.
“Replicating a soothing sunset glow in the evening can help people relax and encourage sleep, while gradually increasing light levels in the morning to mimic sunrise can encourage us to wake in a more gentle fashion.
“Lights conjuring the effect of natural sunlight indoors may offset the negative effect of a grey day outside.
“There’s almost no limit to what can be achieved.
“A common mistake people make is only having light coming from one source – for instance, simply having a ceiling light.
“In reality, good lighting is achieved by creating different layers of light which conjure variation, texture and atmosphere,” says George.
“Clever accent lighting – wall sconces, floodlights, recessed lights or track lighting – can dramatically change a space and highlight key areas or architectural features.
“Even just hanging an adjustable pendant light over a dining table will define the space and make it feel more intimate.
“Coloured lighting is also a fantastic way to add a ‘wow’ factor, especially if the light source is hidden.
“Use coloured light strips above kitchen units, but, to get the maximum effect, keep the background a neutral white as a contrast.”
“Lighting should be flexible, so you can zone different areas and alter light levels to change mood, atmosphere or focus it to better suit a specific activity,” says George.
“A good scheme allows you to instantly reinvent a space – or, in increasingly popular open-plan living rooms, the areas within the space – without having to change a room’s overall layout.”
Left, Philips scene switch LED bulb, £9.99, www. amazon.co.uk Right, experiment with coloured light with a Philips Hue LED Iris mood lamp, £70, B&Q Right, copper-base Acropolis table lamp, currently reduced from £27 to £20.70, www.very.co.uk Adjustable lights are super-useful and Marks & Spencer’s Loft adjustable task floor lamp, £99, has a matching table lamp, £45
Debenhams fairground-inspired Marquee collection: Flamingo light, £150; Burst star and Rainbow floor lights, from £150 to £120 online; Lightning bolt floor light, down from £95 to £76, and Cactus floor light, currently reduced from £125 to £100
Scarlett black chandelier, with smoke and clear glass crystal strands, is reduced from £395 to £316 at Debenhams
Left, bag bargain table lamps like this Caesar table lamp, £29, www.very.co.uk