Let there be light! Am I the only one who woke up on Sunday with an extra spring in her step? Despite losing an hour of my precious sleep, knowing it wouldn’t get dark until 8 pm put a big smile on my face. I love Spring, not to mention Summer, and although it’s still pretty nippy out there, the end of Winter is my favourite time of the year.
And yet here in the UK, we all know that whether it’s April, July or December, dark rainy days are always on the cards. Maybe it’s the uncertainty of our weather that makes us so good at taking advantage of the sunny weather. We know that tomorrow might not be bright and sunny like today, so we make sure we enjoy the brightness while we have it.
So with that in mind, where more important to have that mood-enhancing light than in our own home? When the sun goes down, or when it’s gloomy outside, there are a number of design ideas that can really make a difference to the mood of our home.
The light fixtures you use are not the only thing that matters — the type of lightbulb is equally important. Halogen, compact fluorescent and LED bulbs are available in a range of cool and warm tones. And using different tones in different areas of your home will give each area its own unique feel.
It’s also a great idea I think to have contrasting tones in the same room. So, for example, if your walls are covered in cooler tones, you might want to warm them up with a lightbulb that casts a warm glow. Or you could have a cooler glow to brighten up a darker space.
Don’t limit yourself to only using downlights. Downlighting may be the norm, and that’s fine, but you could also have wall sconces or uplighting to create a softer mood. Uplighting also has the advantage of not creating shadows, which can give spaces a more open feel.
Light up your stairs
Installing lights in your staircase will make using the stairs much safer in the dark, especially when you have just woken up and are still half-asleep! Staircases are often enclosed, so lighting them from the sides or embedding lights in the risers can give them a really classy design.
Consider your ceiling height
Knowing your ceiling height is essential, especially if you are choosing hanging light fixtures. Some lights come with adjustable cables or rods, but others don’t. From experience, I can say that it’s easy to get lumbered with a light that hangs too low or too high.
As a general rule, it’s a good idea to be aware that the bottom of a light should hang about 12 to 20 inches below a standard 8-foot ceiling. For each additional foot of ceiling height, you should add 3 inches.
Don’t be afraid to use different colours! Having a light fixture in a bright hue in a simple room can really make a dull space interesting. Coloured shades can look great, especially when the light is turned on.
Consult a Lighting Designer
Consulting a Lighting Designer and using a design light shop can be really beneficial, particularly because it can be hard to right wrongs when installing lighting design and the planning phase is well worth investing time and money in. And it’s especially worth thinking outside the box. Lighting designers, like Paula Arntzen, of Studio Arntzen, can help you not only with lighting but with spatial and conceptual design. Using space and furniture effectively in conjunction with designing your lighting can really enhance the impact that your choice of lighting will have on your home.
There are certain times when consulting a professional is the better option. Especially with specialist services like lighting design.