Tips from an expert: What to consider when lighting your home
PUBLISHED: 13:54 30 October 2020 | UPDATED: 13:54 30 October 2020
With careful consideration lighting can be used to create just the right ambience or to make a room feel brighter, cosier, more relaxing and interesting.
Lighting specialists Ira Blake and James Humphries, of Light My Space near Salisbury, work with a wide range of residential and commercial clients and offer some practical advice:
Q: Why is it so important to consider lighting carefully?
We like to think lighting is the body language of the space. It determines if you feel energised or relaxed, welcome or uncomfortable. People often choose form over function, especially when there is a look they are after, but really that should just be the start of the conversation. We find people either tend not to have enough light or they completely flood a space. Our advice is to light selectively: create an ambience, accent something desirable, make a focal point or create lighting to enable you to do what you want, where you want. You may have an open-plan area, with Dad in the kitchen, the children doing homework at the table and Mum reading. In a multi-use space, everyone requires very different lighting, and no-one should have to compromise.
Q: Where do I start when planning my lighting?
It depends on whether your room is new or already finished. The ideal time to start is before you have decorated as this gives you the most options. We ask clients to think about the lifestyle they want, their preferences and interests. What do they want to do in the space? Where will their furniture be? Once we understand this, then we can start thinking about types of lighting and controls.
Q: How do I make a space feel bigger?
The tone and colour of lighting makes a difference here. Generally, if you want something to feel spacious, go for a daylight white. There are interesting innovations coming through at the moment around biodynamic lighting, which is about replicating the colour and intensity of the sun through artificial light sources. This has a massive impact on health and wellbeing and at its cutting edge is something called human centric lighting (HCL). But there are also some practical things you can do, such as moving ceiling lighting out of your eyeline because anything hanging into a space will make it feel smaller.
Q: How do I make a space feel cosy?
The more yellow or amber the light, the cosier a room will feel. You can also get bulbs and lighting that almost have a firelight quality. If you want to create the cosy cottage feel, then you can do this artificially now!
Q: How do I make a statement with lighting?
There is a growing trend where art and lighting cross over, where lighting is embedded in or forms part of something very architectural or is a piece of art in its own right. These can be absolutely stunning, but you do need to make sure you get the size and ratio right for the space.
Q: What exciting lighting innovations are you seeing?
One thing that seems to blow people’s minds is a Bluetooth, low-energy system to control lights. You can use switches, an app or a remote control to operate it. It controls on, off and dimming but also allows you to set scenes and pre-programme levels and which lights come on together. If you want to watch television, for example, you click a particular button and it will put the lights on to the ideal level. All the control is through a Bluetooth mesh, it doesn’t rely on Wi-Fi or need a hub. The switches operate on kinetic energy, with no battery or power supply required so you can put them anywhere you want.
Q: How much will my lighting cost?
It really does vary. Very small adjustments can make a very big difference, or you can just let your imagination go wild and say: ‘I just want everything to work how I want it to work!’ Then you won’t have to think about it – it will just be there!