Whether you need table lamps for those idyllic moments curled up on the sofa with your favourite book, or want to impress guests with a statement chandelier, we’ll help you find the perfect lighting for your home.
Interior design is as much about lighting as it is about colour scheme, furniture and accessories. Fact. No matter how much time and money you put into your home, all it takes is a set of badly chosen ceiling lights to introduce a decided starkness to things, and ruin the look of your carefully crafted room.
Getting it right can be tough, especially for those who are tentatively dipping their toes into the world of interior design for the first time. One of the hardest things about getting lighting right is knowing where to start. So, without further ado, here are some initial tips and points of inspiration to get you on the road to a perfectly lit, perfectly gorgeous home.
Maximise natural light
When it comes to light, there’s nothing quite like natural. Not only is it beneficial to your health[i], it opens spaces up and makes even the smallest rooms look bright and airy.
Let’s start with the north-facing spare bedroom that looks so gloomy you’d think twice about letting your cat sleep in there, let alone an actual guest. In rooms like this, it’s best to use colours that maximise whatever light there is. Opt for white or eggshell walls, and ditch the heavy drapes in place of light muslin curtains that don’t absorb light, but reflect it. Even though bright, bold colours may seem like a good idea, anything other than pale, pastel and white-based tones will instantly shrink the space. Avoid block colours, and layer light, neutral tones instead to add a feeling of depth and spaciousness to the room.
Finally, one of the best ways to optimise natural light is to make good use of mirrors. Think big, statement pieces as opposed to small and fiddly ones, which can look dainty, but tend to float anticlimactically on empty walls.
Don’t forget functional lighting
The trick with functional lighting is to ensure it works in harmony with styled lighting. If you’ve got an office space in your home and often work late in the evenings, floor lamps can offer a great way to illuminate desks, and will save you from labouring under the ungodly glare of harsh ceiling lights come 10pm. Likewise, table lamps can act as a lifesaver for late-night reading when concentration levels are dipping and caffeine has ceased to act as a valuable assistant.
And then there’s the kitchen – where functional lighting is an essential part of ensuring you can cut vegetables without cutting your fingers too. As one of the busiest places in the house, it needs more complex lighting than any other room. Luckily, there’s a seemingly infinite array of options to choose from to cater to the diverse modern-day kitchen, which is often considered a key social space too. Consider simple spotlight bars, illuminated kitchen shelves, under-cabinet lighting and hanging breakfast bar lights – the opportunities to be both practical and stylish are endless. Try to opt for a good mix of bright spotlights and dimmer features so you can play around with the ambience of the room, but always get the light you need for practical tasks.
Express your love for lamps
No matter what the style of your home – modern or traditional, quirky or clean-cut – never underestimate the power of the humble lamp when it comes to getting lighting right. From standing lamps to bedside lamps, gimmick lamps to designer lamps, there’s something to suit every room and every taste. As a rule of thumb, we tend to think more is more. Don’t just go for a single, un-noticeable number in the corner of the room – think of lamps as a way to fully light the space without ruining the ambience you need to relax on an evening.
For rooms with tall ceilings, standing lamps can be a great way to fill the space and light it in a way that’s both practical and cosy. If you’re going for a modern, industrial kind of look, offset copper lampshades with big glossy mirrors to bring an impressive and textured feel to your home. If cosy and chintzy is more your thing, choose velvety fabrics shades, and play around with retro lightbulbs to add character.
Make a bold statement
Lighting is as much a part of the overall image of your home as anything else – and not just because it illuminates the space. Go for statement pieces to really bring your interiors to life. From dining room chandeliers (there are tons of modern options now available if ornate isn’t your thing), to trendy pendant lights and vintage bulbs, there’s a limitless array of styles to experiment with.
Don’t just go for a standard lampshade by the bed, choose materials like blown glass or rustic metals to add personality to the space. If your home has a big hallway, why not make use of the space and go for a chandelier that will instantly set the tone for your home? It’ll have your dinner party guests ooh-ing and ahh-ing before they’re even through the door.
It’s time to say goodbye to gloomy bedrooms and too-bright living rooms, and to hazardous kitchens and unimpressive hallways. With a bit of imagination and daring, you can transform your home into a truly chic space that positively glows with style.