Lighting Tips to transform your home!

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!

Choose dimmable warm white for residential interiors

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.

John Cullen Lighting raised porcelain tiles under the stairs are accentuated with floor spots and stair treads illuminated for extra safety and effect.
John Cullen Lighting highlighting subway tiles creates texture in a very neutral scheme and side by side mirror lights are the only way to light your face well.

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.

Kitchen by Jacober Interiors – task lighting can also be decorative – no need for grids of down lighters
Jacober Interiors – just out of sight I used a bronze picture light to highlight an antique Danish painting to also be task lighting on the work surfaces.

Decorative – ornamental, think nice lamps, a chance to add a design element.

John Cullen Lighting showing Decorative (lamp) and Task (reading spot)
Modern Light by CTO Lighting is fundamental to this decorative scheme.

Ambient – creates mood/background light, allows you to navigate a space safely by lighting other objects eg picture lights and texture walls.

Project by Jacober Interiors ambient light from back lit mirror with warm white dimmable light strip.
John Cullen Lighting these stair uplighter capture the texture of the walls
Pinterest: Ambient lighting strips in bookcase, focal lights by mantlepiece and decorative light from table lamps.

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.

Before and after light tunnel/solar tube running down from roof, free light!
Pinterest: Roof Lantern particularly important to light original kitchen area.

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.

Artisan of the Month – Lyngard

I met the most lovely couple, Carmen and Iain, last year in Paris at the Maison et Object trade show for interior designers. Together they own and run Lyngard, a small artisan company making the most fabulous lights!

Just for the record I never accept sponsorship for posts, I only write about things I want to, that are authentic and have soul!  With this spirit I am very happy to be able to introduce you to Lyngard!

Image: Lyngard.com

Lyngard is a small lighting company set up by Carmen Lyngard and Iain Pattison in 2014. Carmen’s family have been making pottery since 1829.

Carmen’s Great Grandfather was awarded an MBE from King George VI for his services to the pottery industry. He was responsible for making our ceramic table wares safe today, by reducing the amount of lead in the glaze – so it didn’t poison us! He also helped to improve the working conditions and salaries for the workers in the pottery industry.

Image: the potteries.org

Stoke-on-Trent in Staffordshire, England has been the backdrop for pottery producers since the 17th Century (Carmen’s family included) and is synonymous with Royal Doulton, Wedgewood, Clarice Cliff and Susie Cooper being just a few of the more famous producers from this town.

Lyngard.com

Lyngard uses Fine Bone China to give luminosity and extra strength and Carmen applies a unique decorative technique called ‘true fired lustres’ passed down by her family and known to only a handful of producers worldwide.  Every piece of Lyngard is hand sculpted and made from start to finish in Stoke-on-Trent.

Image: the Conran Shop

I loved the product because you can really see and feel that this is a special artisanal piece, it is hanging art in your room! The lustre finish gives a unique iridescent glaze, the colour or which changes depending on the light in the room.  Metallic elements are added in the firing process which means that no two pieces are the same.

The Emery Pendant from Lyngard showing some of the finishes available….

Other timeless finishes are the handprinted marble effects, and coloured bodies with 24 carat gold, platinum or copper interiors.

The Pinnox Pendant W42cm H27cm

Image: Lyngard.com

I really appreciate the diversity of Lyngard’s production for such a small family business, it is quite extraordinary that they can do this and shows the hard work and commitment they pour into their business. This small company produces to a high standard a wide enough range to fit modern and traditional interiors. All by hand and all in Stoke-on-Trent.

Some of the designs available at Heal’s in London

Depending of the design, Lyngard offers black, white and grey china which can be matt or gloss.

Tall Rushton H37cm D17cm
Shown in Black Matt or Grey Matt

Bone China Rushton’s being made in factory Image: Lyngard.com

I particularly love that with Fine Bone China when lit emits a wonderful organic light.

The Marney Bone China Pendant showing luminosity when lit

Adelaide Pendant Image: Lyngard.com

I will be using some of Lyngards lovely pieces in my forthcoming project and I hope to be able to supply them to my clients too – watch this space!

Lyngard also use their fantastic techniques to make vases!

Image: Lyngard.com

Visit Lyngard’s website here 

Thanks for reading!

Amanda x

10 Tips to Light your Home and Garden

Hello everyone, can you believe it is Autumn and as the clocks ‘fall’ back this week I thought you might like some insider knowledge on how designers tackle lighting, and in particular my speciality to try and do it as eco-friendly as possible! There is so much on the market now, so you just need to ensure your Designer/Electrician knows that is what you want. Any minimal extra cost for low energy bulbs and fixtures is repaid numerous times over by savings on your bill plus you get to make a small step to help the planet at the same time – winner! Investing in quality fixtures is also more eco, as it keeps hand made techniques alive, will last longer lasting due to better quality materials and look wonderful for years to come. Safety is also a factor to consider.

If you are building new or making a renovation consider your lighting at the beginning of the project as it makes a tremendous impact on the success of a design and can save you time and money later.  Having finished your decoration and you decide you would have loved some wall-lights or an extra spot or socket here or there is not ideal. If you are in a rental or don’t want to gouge out the walls adding surface mounted is the way to go.

source: vintageindustrialstyle.com
source: vintageindustrialstyle.com

Here are 10 tips I would like to pass on! At the end I have shown you some examples of the lights I mention.

  • Layer the light in your room.  2/3 circuits, with dimmer controls to create different moods at different times of the day for different activities.  Consider what daylight you have first, the way your room is orientated towards the sun. North facing rooms (or the basement in the below image) sometimes need light during the day to prevent it from feeling dreary. Most rooms have more than one activity and need light to adjust when required. Can I just state here,  for the record, dimmer switches are probably the most important accessory you can have in a home!

    This deep basement with only a small window at one end feels light because of the colour scheme and because the ceiling has been up lit, had a false skylight feature with LED lighting and has zoned areas. source: houzz.co.uk
    This deep basement with only a small window at one end feels light because of the colour scheme and because the ceiling has been up lit, had a false skylight feature with LED lighting and has zoned areas.
    source: houzz.co.uk
  • General lighting – allows movement around the space so you are not bumping into things or tripping down a step.  Take full advantage of your available daylight for this during the day and supplement at night to compensate. Overhead pendant lights, wall lights that wash the floor or ceiling in light to reflect downwards. Up lighters can be wall mounted or on the floor. Don’t be afraid to combine styles traditional chandeliers can coexist with halogen spots. The idea is pools of light from halogen spots to allow easy and safe movement. Remember your eye is drawn to the brightest point so make sure ceiling spots are recessed and you see what they light rather the light itself. Not all spotlights are created equal…..

    source: tekna.be
    source: tekna.be

    source: tekna.be
    source: tekna.be

    source: trina.be
    source: trina.be

    source: authentage.be
    source: authentage.be

    Candle light (or the artificial alternative) is very flattering…

    source: tekna.be
    source: tekna.be
  • Task Lighting – list the activities in the room. Eg, bedroom might be reading in bed, seeing into the wardrobe to get dressed, sitting at a dressing table or studying at a desk in the corner.  Make sure your own shadow does not cast a shadow over your work area. By having the correct light when you need it and dimmer switches your bedroom can go from a functional space to one of relaxation where you end the day with a small directional reading light by the bed before sleep. The candle fixture below has some spotlight concealed below to shine task light onto the table.

    source: authentage.be
    source: authentage.be

    An alternative to ceiling spots for a more traditional feel wall hung spots adjustable, source: lumart.fr
    An alternative to ceiling spots for a more traditional feel wall hung spots adjustable, for above a library bookcase, kitchen worktop  or bedside.
    source: lumart.fr

    Task lighting can be seen here two white angles spotlights come out of headboard for reading in bed. The pendant lights with side of the bed on dimmers will create an accent light in the evening whilst overhead spotlights light the pathway for general light source: pietboon.com
    Task lighting can be seen here as two white angled spotlights attached to headboard for reading in bed. The low hung pendant lights either side of the bed on dimmers will create an accent light in the evening to create a cocoon effect against the bespoke headboard, whilst overhead spotlights light the pathway for general light
    source: pietboon.com
  • Accent Lighting – here one can create some drama, it is where the fixture is not usually seen but can create effects to highlight architectural features (e.g. on a beam to make it stand out or light angled at a stone wall to accentuate the rough texture) or you may want to highlight a wonderful piece of art. Specialist lights are required for expensive artwork to prevent damage. In a very minimalist bedroom you may place lighting behind a headboard to gently wash the walls and make the bed look like it is floating off the wall. In a bathroom you might under light a vanity which makes it float off the floor and give you enough subtle warm light at night without using the main lights – also saving every.

    Accent lighting for a kitchen in the evening the natural wood and stone surfaces and art, up/down lighters on the far wall lengthen and heighten the room. source: johncullenlighting.com
    Accent lighting for a kitchen in the evening the natural wood and stone surfaces and art, up/down lighters on the far wall lengthen and heighten the room.
    source: johncullenlighting.com

    source: authentage.be
    source: authentage.be

    Architectural features like this stone archway benefit from floor up lighters. source: johncullenlighting.com
    Architectural features like this stone archway benefit from floor up lighters.
    source: johncullenlighting.com

    The light can also have a statement of its own!
    The light can also have a statement of its own! source: abigailahern.com

     

  • Balance – try to think of balancing the light as you would furniture in a room.  You need a contrast between light and dark to make things interesting.  The human brain likes well lit vertical surfaces, when these are counteracted with light accent features and darker areas it makes the room much more special to be in.  In technical terms interior designers measure the output of light (lumens) from the fixtures proposed and give you a ration of about 3:1 between the brightest and the lowest light source. 5:1 is the limit otherwise your eyes would tire with all the refocusing and you would feel uncomfortable after a short time.

    LED strips can be inserted into bookcases to create and accent and the fireplace has up lighters to highlight. The eye is drawn around the space looking a the various 'pools' of light. source: mostbeautifulthings.net
    LED strips can be inserted into bookcases to create and accent and the fireplace has up lighters to highlight. The eye is drawn around the space looking a the various ‘pools’ of light.
    source: mostbeautifulthings.net
  • Security – a sign of the times.  We have to ensure that we feel secure in our homes and having a well lit front doorway, pathway, side access and back garden will prevent burglary. To conserve energy and not have them burning all night they can be on passive infra red and are switched on by movement.  You can also get them with pet sensors so the neighbours cat or a hungry fox do not set them off at all times of the night.  Ensure that these security lights are placed highly enough that would be burglars cannot disable. You can supplement these high energy security lights that switch on with movement with low energy decorative lights that can remain on during the hours of darkness for a feeling of security. Inside your home put some lights on a timer to come on early evening in the winter months even when you are not on holiday its an easy and inexpensive deterrent. There are systems (if you feel particularly vulnerable) where your lights will follow a pattern of recent history, include the opening and closing of curtains but that is a whole new blog!

    source: tekna.be
    source: tekna.be

    source: elanorhome.com
    source: elanorhome.com
  •  Safetly – this sounds ridiculously simple, but surprising how many people don’t think about, stairways and changes of level within one room can be dangerous.  Well and evenly lit stairs are a must.  It is also very important to indicate by light a change in level within a room, even just one step. If you have a similar flooring throughout a space it can be difficult for the eye to detect a change in level, also in the evening, for family members who know the space, a well placed stair light can save a nasty fall.

    wall integrated stair lights and below stair led strips source: pretasol.com
    wall integrated stair lights and below stair led strips
    source: pretasol.com

      Fitting an LED strip under the handrail is an easy and inexpensive option. source: PinterestFitting an LED strip under the handrail is an easy and inexpensive option.
      source: Pinterest
  • Light to visually change the shape of your room 

Large room, e.g. an open plan living/dining/kitchen space, creating soft pools of light on certain objects/areas will make it feel more cosy. Don’t over do it.

Small room can be made to feel larger when walls are washed with even layer of light, e.g. wall washer lights (see below) this ‘pushes’ the walls out.

Narrow room by lighting along the shorter walls this draws your eye from the long ones and balances the space.

Ceilings too low wash light up with up lighters. Ceilings too high keep light off the ceiling, use surface mounted downlighter or pendants hung at a lower hight without light upflow to ceiling all directed down or side. Uneven ceiling or unsightly beams highlight the positive with light and ignore the negative your brain will follow suit.

Ceiling spots wash the walls to highlight the plaster work. Contemporary pendant lights bring down the ceiling height to better proportion the high narrow lobby. source: pietboon.com
Ceiling spots wash the walls to highlight the plaster work. Contemporary pendant lights bring down the ceiling height to better proportion the high narrow lobby of Huys Apartments in New York
source: pietboon.com

  • Mirrors– when hanging mirrors in a bathroom or at a dressing table always have soft non diffused lights at head height either side of the mirror to create even flattering light on the face. For full length mirrors direct the light at an object in front of the mirror e.g. space for a vase of flowers or at the space where the person will stand. Never direct light onto mirrors as the glare will be very annoying.

    Lights at face height are diffused with frosted glass and other spots highlight the marble and stone to reflect a soft light. source:sallystory.com
    Lights at face height are diffused with frosted glass and other spots highlight the marble and stone to reflect a soft light.
    source:sallystory.com

    Light integrated into large mirror which also lights floor. source: houzz.co.uk
    Light integrated into large mirror which also lights floor.
    source: houzz.co.uk
  • Windows at night when there are no curtains (a common thing here in Switzerland in modern homes with huge windows) turn into black mirrors that suck the light out.  This is counteracted by lighting the space outside the window, balcony or garden to compliment the inside.  This also extends the room.  When that is not possible use recessed ceiling downlighter to wash the area directly in front of the dark windows.

    light your trees and garden wall at night to extend your room source: pinterest
    light your trees and garden wall at night to extend your room
    source: pinterest

    Outside terrace/garden light from Authentage.be
    Outside terrace/garden light from Authentage.be

    source: authentage.be
    source: authentage.be

There are so many more lights I could show you but I think might be enough for now! Most of the sources above are lighting companies I will be working with on Project Weinberg and subsequently for clients through my studio in due course….

Thanks for reading.

Amanda x