Lighting can make or break a design scheme. It is that important. Whether you’re starting from scratch and can influence your electric plan or just making a cosmetic update in a scheme where you cannot rewire, there are plenty of tips and tricks I want to share with you to help you nail that design!
Dimmers – switch EVERYTHING to dimmer, ok maybe not the cupboard under the stairs or your laundry room. Low cost high impact! This has got to be the easiest trick in the book, you can then control the amount of light and play with moods at different times of day and evening.
Lamps/Light bulbs – buy the dimmable option and all the same make/voltage on each circuit. Banish the blue cold light ughhh … the amount of times I see bright white lights installed and even not dimmable – creating a harsh and unpleasant feeling. Just installing dimmable warm white is game changing!
Lighting strips – available at any DIY. These can be used as a soft back light or ambient light eg, behind mirrors, inside wardrobes/closets, or to illuminate shelves etc… Beware though of getting carried away and turning you kitchen into the Starship Enterprise, don’t allow your designer to illuminate the floor line all the way around and under kitchen cabinetry and worse still make it blue!
Designer Tips… designers look at lighting in layers and if you want to steal a few tricks then here you go!
Focal Layer – typically used to highlight vertical surfaces and 3D objects including architectural features, artwork etc, although considered cosmetic, importantly, it determine how we perceive the brightness of the space. A room where the vertical spaces are lit (not only the horizontal, floors tables etc) will feel brighter and more spacious. This focal layer blends in and highlights something else. Place down lighters aprox 150mm in from walls to allow them to wash down.
Task Layer- it illuminates specific tasks eg over a kitchen island, task lighting can also save energy in not lighting the whole space. Never position your down lighters in a grid across the ceiling (known as developers acne!) Think of the ceiling as a reflection of your floor plan and place them to highlight areas you above working areas and not in standing areas or you will create a shadow over what you are doing. Task lighting can also be decorative, on a recent kitchen project we did below I used handmade porcelain lamps to illuminate the island and antique brass library lights to illuminate the surfaces either side of the cooker. Under the hood are more powerful lights only needed when cooking.
Decorative – ornamental, think nice lamps, a chance to add a design element.
Ambient – creates mood/background light, allows you to navigate a space safely by lighting other objects eg picture lights and texture walls.
Having the layers dimmable and on different circuits means layers can be controlled independently. Creating lighter and darker areas, highlighting textures and objects makes the area appear interesting, special and larger. You can crank things up when you need to find the Netflix remote, and dim them down when you want to smuggle that extra biscuit with your tea!
Daylight – our best friend, we need Vitamin D to give us a feel good factor and it allows us to see true colours. Especially important in workspaces, schools and public spaces as it makes you more mentally aware. Using window treatments you can control it in your home to enhance or limit as required. You can also add it to your home installing roof lights or light tunnels/solar tubes to dark areas to create a feeling of wellbeing.
Hope I have shed some light on the topic! (pardon the pun!) Happy designing!
If you have any questions or need lighting advice in your home, don’t hesitate to contact me.
Thanks for reading.