Lighting – How important is it?





As a designer I spend a great deal of time considering the correct combination of lighting for each room in the home. However, I would suspect that the kitchen is the one room at the top of the list where most people would instinctively consider mixing different types of lighting. Common sense dictates that a single central light should never solely light a kitchen, as this will cast a shadow onto working areas and will not provide sufficient illuminated light. Many kitchens have a combination of central and under-unit concealed lighting, which is usually quite sufficient.

As most living rooms serve several different purposes, the lighting needs to be as flexible as possible in these areas. I aim to have several different circuits, separately controlled and to fix dimmer switches to one or two of them, to help adjust the lighting for different moods. Special consideration needs to be given to the type of wall lights, pendants, lamps etc., required to create the right ambience. It’s always a good idea to see them lit as well as unlit. This is because the effect can be totally different when the light shines through the fitting or shade, affecting the colour of the light and area of illumination.

In the bedroom a reasonable quality of light is needed throughout. The lighting should encourage a calm and restful atmosphere, conducive to relaxation. At bedtime, the lighting should focus on the bed alone, making the remaining space less obtrusive and the bedroom appear more intimate and cosy. Recessed spotlights in the ceiling, attached to a dimmer switch, and sidelights positioned at the bedside appear to be the ideal compromise as spots give an even light across the room. Down lights can also be purchased with a narrow beam, enabling features or accessories to be highlighted, e.g. a favourite painting or piece of furniture. I always consider the balance of the room, as lighting acts as an accent and is very powerful, so it can make a room look one-sided and out of proportion if you don’t get it right. There is a vast selection of lighting on offer, including up-lighters, down-lighters and lighting troughs.

As a designer, I think of the atmosphere a client would like to see achieved, both in the day and at night. Whatever lighting is chosen it should be in sympathy with the style of the room and its decorations and furnishings; e.g adjustable spots in the ceiling, may suit a hi-tech interior, but would look inappropriate in a period home or cottage décor.

Whatever lighting is chosen I always consult my trusted and qualified electrician who can advise you on all the latest LED energy saving lights.

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