Friday, 25 February 2011

Light; transform your environment

Light is a basic human need, it is necessary for sound mental health and deprivation can be harmful.

Did you know that if you pair colour with low energy level illumination lamps it creates an environment where people lower their voices to respond to the hushed, quiet atmosphere? 

And as Sally Storey said " If things are moving so quickly for a lighting designer, it’s very hard for the general public to keep up."

That brings me to today’s blog, I want to show you that it isn't as terrifying as you might think. So let's talk about lighting. 

A well planned lighting scheme can bring a house to life so ideally it should be thought about at the start of a home refurbishment or new build. Start by deciding where your furniture and paintings are going to be positioned and yes you will find that sometimes there is more than one possible furniture arrangement, so you need to design the lighting in order to suit the different configurations. 

Do provide enough sockets in the corners of the living room; at some point you will be requiring them for lamps but remember not to go OTT. Also in a large living room you will need sockets in the centre of the room, this can be hidden under the sofa and furniture.

When planning a scheme you must consider ambience lighting (overall illumination), task lighting (i.e. reading, preparing and cooking food) and accent lighting (i.e. highlight art, houseplants and window treatments). Also by layering lighting you create interest and a good way of doing so is to use shelf lighting; either in a kitchen display, bookshelves or in the bathroom.

Lighting can:

·         Enhance a space
·         Define features & zones
·         Decorate surfaces
·         Set the mood
·         Add drama

Transform the atmosphere of your home with lighting by layering it. Fit dimmer switches wherever possible for a versatile lighting system; have ambience and accent lights on different switches so you can create diverse moods. Here are some ideas on how to create mood lighting.
·         Make sure your corridors and staircases are well lit in order to make your house feel homely and inviting.
·         In an open plan living area, you can use light to carve out different zones around the dining table or comfortable seating area.


Colour lights are used in stage sets to create moods. In a home, however, you should apply them with moderation; use colours at the red end of the spectrum—pink, orange, amber, yellow for a sense of warmth but for coolness, use colours at the cool end such as violet, blue, and green. But know that blue and green detract from the human complexion and can produce an unpleasant effect when used wrongly.

I’ve covered here the basics of good lighting design. Over the next few days I am going to illustrate how to tackle the lighting in each room.

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