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Interiors Q&A – planning effective lighting

April 5, 2011

Dear Andrew, I’m thinking about redecorating and want to plan the lighting. What is your advice?

Lighting should be a key element to any interior design project but it is often overlooked.  The correct lighting can complete a well designed interior but poor light can easily ruin it.  If you are renovating you should plan your lighting from the start; fittings often need to be moved and it is easier to move wiring early on.

There are three types of lighting: first, ambient lighting which are your general lights. It is typically used with the other types of lighting to create a good atmosphere – on its own it can appear harsh.

Ambient lighting

Second, task lighting is appropriate for areas where you need to carry out certain activities with a strong light source – ie, an Anglepoise desk lamp by the bedside.

Task lighting

Third, mood lighting. Its primary function is to accent, not to provide a strong light source, which is often provided by lamps, or lights that provide a small amount of accent lighting.  The Somerset lamp below from Ligne Roset adds mood to an interior but would not be used as the sole light source.

Mood lighting

Floor-level lighting in the hallway or up the stairs is a great way to add drama to your lighting scheme while safely illuminating the staircase or hallway without the need for overhead lighting. The corridor lighting from John Cullen below creates a dramatic interior.  Hidden lighting is another great way to add interest. You can cut a recess into a wall and add a hidden light or put one on the top of the kitchen cabinets.

Bathroom lighting needs to be carefully considered due to the mix of water and electricity. Try to include both task and mood lighting – task lighting is good in the morning but mood is better for evening soaks.  You should always seek the advice of a professional for lighting in a bathroom.

Planning correct lighting to any scheme is essential – never overlook it or underestimate it’s importance.  By carefully planning the lighting you will have an interior that meets your needs throughout the day.

This Interiors Q&A first appeared in an abridged form in CityAM

One Comment leave one →
  1. April 7, 2011 9:52 am

    Excellent advice Andrew, many of the same rules work for outdoor spaces too.

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