How to light your interiors

How to light your interiors

How to light your interiors

Three experts show us how to use lighting effectively in your home

With many of us spending more time at home, and the nights drawing in, how to light your interiors to best effect has become more important than ever. Good lighting can transform a space, making it more productive, cosier, larger or even smaller by using it to zone a big area. And it can help translate your personal style, instantly adding a statement to a room.

Whether you’re embarking on major renovations or simply looking to update the lighting scheme in your existing décor, it pays to plan ahead. Notes Mark Holloway, founder of Holloways of Ludlow: “If you are doing a project, the lighting plan should be one of the first things you do. Incorporate background architectural lighting and layer over some beautiful and functional decorative pieces.”

Layering your lighting

This idea of layering is key. Says Sally Storey, creative director at John Cullen Lighting: “Different layers of light will create a textured effect which gives depth and interest to a space. There is nothing worse than a blanket of light evenly distributed by a grid of downlights in the ceiling. Mix ambient, accent and task lighting for the best overall effects.”

Planning your lighting

The most effective lighting schemes work around the features in a space and how you use the space. “This requires forethought and planning. Get the furniture layouts locked down at the design stage of the project, also try to confirm finishes. These elements can dictate the best way to light the space,”

Spotlights and highlights

Sally adds. “Focus light where you need it for a practical task or towards a feature which you want to highlight. Shadow is also important so that the things you light stand out. Don’t be afraid to not light everything and remember that it is important where the light falls in a space and not where the light source is positioned.”

Colour temperature

Pick an appropriate colour temperature, too. “The wrong colour temperature, measured in Kelvins(K), can give the feeling of being in a hospital or office rather than your home which should be comfortable and relaxing. 2700K or warmer is a good colour temperature to aim for.” And also consider the colour rendering index (CRI) if you are lighting artwork. The CRI is a measurement of how well a light source will render colours in relation to natural daylight and is a value between 1 and 100. Aim for 90CRI or above. Lower than 85 can give a very flat and lifeless effect.

How to choose your lighting

So, what lights to choose? Ian Cameron, creative director of Cameron Design House, advises that you choose a piece that works within the space rather than dictates the space. “It is really important to take into consideration the architecture of your home and the colour palettes featured throughout before choosing the right light for you.”

Make the most of the architecture such as a statement chandelier down a stairwell. “A beautiful stairwell with a bold piece hung down can create a really dramatic atmosphere. It also helps to tie the rest of the rooms of the house together,” says Ian. Or you could create a centrepiece above a coffee table or dining table by placing a sculptural pendant above. “It can really change the dynamic of the space and become the focal point of the room. The beauty of sculptural lighting is that it looks beautiful whether it is on or off, like a piece of art.”

Lighting trends

In terms of trends, Cameron Design House has found that brass has been a hugely popular finishing choice, along with glass lights, with a growing demand for glass chandeliers. The team at Holloways of Ludlow is excited about the new Monochrome PH5 pendant by Louis Poulsen, a variant of this classic light first designed in 1958, and the Apiales chandelier from Danish brand Nuura. Super stylish it can work in almost every room of the house.

Investment pieces

Quality is crucial. “The market is awash with cheap lights ‘inspired’ by design classics. We believe it is far more satisfying to have the real thing. To value the story behind the design and to let lights become family heirlooms,” says Mark.

Ultimately when thinking how to light your interiors, enjoy being creative with it. Notes Mark: “Be bold! Lighting is a great way to express your style and inner character.” Sally adds: “Lighting is the only interior design tool that can change the space at the touch of a button so have fun with it. And play with light and shadow to create interesting effects.”

(Main image: Haara Cameron Design House)

More inspiration. How to create a gallery wall.