The Design Process Revealed - light

The Design Process Revealed - Light

Create a Mood

Dimmer switches are a godsend; they allow you to change the atmosphere of a room from brightness through to semi-stygian candle light. I think they’re essential if you are using wall lights or any kind of built in architectural lights that you may want to tailor to suit your mood.

Floor lights, concealed behind plants or architectural features may carry all sorts of 70s connotations but they work well in creating atmospheric, romantic lighting schemes to enhance the proportions of a room.

Plan your scheme

Decide where your lights are going to go before you start decorating - plan. The best lighting schemes operate on several layers.

Harsh overhead lighting is alright in a dentist's surgery but for the creation of a relaxing atmosphere you need low level, flexible lighting from table lamps or standard lamps. I always suggest that three corners at least should be lit by decorative light fittings so that you create a warm background wash of light.

Please Note!

When choosing shades for lamps always check the effect a lit bulb has on the shade material before you buy.

Believe it or not, having clean windows can increase the amount of light coming into a room by as much as 40%.

To make a ceiling feel further away, place lamps on low tables. If you’re lighting is too high on a wall or in a lit room it will draw the eye up towards the ceiling and instantly make the room feel smaller.

Tricks of the trade

Reflective surfaces near windows can maximise the amount of light in a room. So, painting the window sill and window reveals gloss white or even as the Georgians did, installing pieces of mirror will really make the daylight work that much harder.

Shiny floors reflect back an enormous amount of light. Dark shiny floors reflect back even more. A dark shiny floor with a dark shiny skirting painted the same, surrounding a pale rug, is as close to light enhancing, proportion increasing heaven as you can get.

Finishing Touches

Always try and balance lighting levels. Modern conservatories are very light spaces which often mean that adjacent rooms without the benefit of a glass ceiling can be dark and pokey. Soften the light with semi-opaque ceiling blinds in the conservatory and then increase the light in the next door space by using pure clean lighting like halogen.

Summary of the design rules

Draw up a lighting plan before you begin.

Light the corners of a room for a warm effect.

Keep lighting at a constant level through out your home.

Change the atmosphere quickly with dimmer switches.

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