Shine on

Wad­ing around in the dark over light­ing op­tions? ABI JACK­SON asks some in­dus­try pros for their top tips on hon­ing down the op­tions

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - YOUR HOME -

Get­ting the light­ing right in your home is one of the most im­por­tant el­e­ments, in terms of style, am­bi­ence and func­tion­al­ity. As Clare Grif­fin, light­ing buyer for Habi­tat (habi­tat.co. uk), puts it: “Light­ing can com­pletely change the look and feel of in­te­ri­ors, so it should al­ways be prop­erly con­sid­ered when you’re putting to­gether a room de­sign.”

It’s easy to think light­ing is all about prac­ti­cal­ity, but it goes far be­yond that – par­tic­u­larly for those look­ing to make a real state­ment in their homes. “Gone are the days when light­ing was seen as just a means of see­ing in the dark. Cus­tomers are now far more in­clined to see light­ing as the start­ing point for a de­sign scheme and will spend ac­cord­ingly,” agrees Mark Hol­loway, direc­tor at spe­cial­ists Hol­loways of Lud­low (hol­lowaysof lud­low.com).

“Choos­ing a light has never been so ex­cit­ing,” he adds. “Al­most daily, ex­cit­ing and in­no­va­tive lights are launched, show­cas­ing both de­sign tal­ent and new ma­te­ri­als and tech­nol­ogy.”

But where to start, and what if you’re a renter or on a bud­get, or just not en­tirely sure which style to go for? Here, ex­perts out­line some key ques­tions to get you go­ing... 1How will you be us­ing the space? “THE most im­por­tant ques­tion to start with, is what are you try­ing to achieve within the space? If you want a cosy, re­lax­ing en­vi­ron­ment for a lounge or bed­room, then dim­mer switches are key, com­bined with warm white light bulbs and dif­fused light­ing, such as opal glass globes and lamp shades that soften light, and aren’t as harsh to the eye,” says Clare.

“In con­trast, for rooms that are work­ing en­vi­ron­ments, like the kitchen, of­fice or bath­room, then bright white light bulbs are needed.”

“It’s very im­por­tant to be crys­tal clear what func­tion a par­tic­u­lar light fit­ting will per­form,” echoes Mark.

“For il­lu­mi­nat­ing an en­tire space, ‘ar­chi­tec­tural’ light­ing is often best.

This in­cludes down­light­ing, spot­lights, track sys­tems and at­mo­spheric light­ing. For more fo­cused il­lu­mi­na­tion, task light­ing is re­quired – light­ing used to help with spe­cific ac­tiv­i­ties in the home, such as read­ing, cook­ing and of­fice work.” 2Con­sider your bud­get – as there may be ad­di­tional costs CLARE says your bud­get should be a main start­ing point, as some light­ing op­tions can have ex­tra costs.

“Any­thing in­volv­ing an elec­tri­cian is go­ing to re­quire more ex­pense, so you need to con­sider what your elec­tri­cal op­tions are within the space,” she notes. “Where are the plug sock­ets lo­cated? Could you cre­ate a light­ing scheme us­ing just plug-in lamps, or us­ing easy-fit shades on ex­ist­ing light fit­tings?” 3What decor vibe are you go­ing for?

“IN terms of look, light­ing can be used to en­hance the decor scheme of a room. For a glam­orous, luxe feel, then add a metal­lic con­tem­po­rary chan­de­lier. If you want a mid-cen­tury vibe, add a wal­nut floor lamp with a vel­vet shade,” sug­gests Clare. 4How could well-po­si­tioned light­ing en­hance the room’s di­men­sions? “LIGHT­ING can also change the per­ceived size of the room. Add up-and-down wall lights to a room with a low ceil­ing to give an il­lu­sion of height, or use a floor lamp to light dark cor­ners to cre­ate the il­lu­sion of more space in the room,” says Clare. “For space with very high ceil­ings, add a large dra­matic pen­dant to fill the space and bring the ceil­ing height down a lit­tle.” Lisa Broad, head of buy­ing at Har­veys (har­veysfur­ni­ture.co.uk), sug­gests: “Light­ing is the key to mak­ing your home cosy. In win­ter, en­sur­ing your liv­ing space is full of soft light­ing can add a sea­sonal am­bi­ence to your liv­ing space. Place lamps in front of mir­rors to in­stantly dou­ble the amount of light in your room.” 5Do you want to make a state­ment? IF you want to make a state­ment, go for it. “Go large! You re­ally can go big­ger than you think,” says Mark. “The best light­ing de­signs will work in any con­text. “A stun­ning con­tem­po­rary pen­dant, such as a hand-blown glass pen­dant from Bocci, will work in al­most any in­te­rior scheme – tra­di­tional or mod­ern.” The same goes for colour as well as size, Mark adds: “Af­ter a num­ber of years in the wilder­ness, colour is back. “Be bold and let your light­ing bring some colour and fun into your home.” 6How can you still make an im­pact on a bud­get? DON’T have a big bud­get to play with but want to cre­ate some wow fac­tor?

Be cre­ative. “A lamp­shade with a pop of colour is a good way to make a state­ment – our French vel­vet and drum silk ranges do this well,” says Clare. “But the best way to make a state­ment on a bud­get, or if you are a renter, is through an easy-fit shade.

“These are de­signed to look like pen­dants but do not re­quire an elec­tri­cian, as they at­tach onto your light fit­ting like a lamp­shade. “This means dif­fer­ent ma­te­ri­als, like glass, metal, wood and rat­tans can be brought into the home with­out rewiring, and also means more dec­o­ra­tive bulbs can be used to make a real state­ment. Our best­selling easy-fits in­clude Elm­ley, Mar­gate, Seasalter and Niq­uita.” 7Last but not least, do you love it?

FIND mak­ing de­ci­sions tricky? That’s nat­u­ral, but at the end of the day, don’t be swayed too much by trends if it’s re­ally not ‘you’.

“Ul­ti­mately, I al­ways en­cour­age my clients to be con­fi­dent and choose light­ing that they love and de­signs that make them smile,” says Mark.

Use a floor lamp to light dark cor­ners to cre­ate the il­lu­sion of more space in the room

Filigrana Pen­dant range, from £230, Hol­loways of Lud­low

Seasalter metal ceil­ing shade in orange, £45, Habi­tat

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