No matter how well chosen and coordinated your colour and material scheme is and how luxurious artwork and furniture you use, if the light levels and temperature is not correct, all those design details will be lost.
1. To begin: think practical When you are designing your lighting layout, it’s best to start with general lighting. Symmetrically placed recessed downlights with simple white trims are the easiest and most cost effective way to provide constant lighting levels throughout the space. Having areas of darkness and very bright areas will be strenuous for your eyes and can cause discomfort and headache over time.
2. The amount of light you need in a space depends on everything Seriously - everything! From your ceiling height to your wall colours and the number of windows you have in the space, there are many details that need to be factored in. Counterintuitively, you need more downlights if you have more windows - glass doesn’t reflect light as well as white walls! The rule of thumb is to design for 30-40 lumens per square meter.
3. Use lighting to create focal areas Once you have your general lighting set up, you can accentuate areas of interest with directional spotlights. If you are planning a big artwork for one of the walls, the best way is to design for a picture light above the piece or a directional spotlight illuminating it from above. Likewise a nice, textured feature wall with interesting wallpaper or stackstone will look even more stunning with a row of wall washers to highlight it.
4. Use feature lighting to add a whole new dimension to your space You can use discrete light fittings to illuminate your kitchen or bathroom, say, and the objects within it, however you can add a whole new layer to your space with feature lights! Treat feature lighting like you would accessories that you are using for their beauty. If you have a good general lighting scheme pendants and wall lights can provide additional light sources to set the mood.
5. Don't overlook stand-alone details Start the design process with fixed lights, but don’t forget about freestanding pieces either. Floor, table lamps and task lights still need consideration early on, as you need to provide socket locations in the right places to avoid long runs of cables.
6. Two words: light temperature The easiest mistake to make is chaos with the light temperature. You need to keep this consistent throughout your home, for instance if you buy 3000K light bulbs for your downlight, but used 2700K LED strips to highlight your joinery the difference will be very visible. The safest option is to opt for 3000K throughout as this is easy to obtain and has a natural, bright white colour.
7. Embrace technology If you do have a bit of budget left to spend on the lighting scheme, make use of the great technological advancements of today’s LED industry, namely ‘human centric lighting’. This is a system where you can change the colour temperature of your lighting with a built-in chip, thus you are able to set it to a cool, stimulating and more daylight-like temperature in the morning and change it to a warmer, calming one before you go to bed. This helps the body to complete its natural cycle thus increases your well-being.
8. If in doubt, ask a pro Lighting is a complex subject and also not something that’s easy to change once the works are completed. If you're in doubt, it’s best to speak to an interior design studio or your light supplier to make sure the lighting design you love will suit you and your lifestyle.
NEXT! Want some lighting inspiration for your kitchen? Peruse our moodboard of ideas - click any image below to begin...
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Sonia grew up in Russia and moved to London in 2007 aged 19 where she worked in the city’s property sector, specialising in sourcing residential, commercial and development opportunities, and managing portfolios for high net worth international clients. In 2012, Sonia co-founded Temza Interior Design Studio with Pawel Sipta. Temza not only offers first-rate interior design services, the specialist team can also help clients find their ideal home or investment property, and project manage, too. The company can deliver a complete interior and architectural design service, taking care of the entire construction and refurbishment process, for those who require a stress-free turn-key solution. Temza creates high quality spaces for private clients, developers and investors, and has a portfolio consisting of home improvements and renovations, conversions of buildings into flats, new build schemes, extensions, basements and loft conversions. Temza focus on maximising the potential regardless of the type of project, they are always driven to create exceptionally designed and functional spaces with uncompromised quality, making dreams homes and lucrative investments for clients.