I love lighting. I will even stick my neck out and say it’s the most important thing when it comes to designing a space. Yes there is a long list of other things which are important, but your lighting lets you see all those other things, particularly when the sun has gone down, or between the hours of 3pm and 9am if you spend winter in Cumbria……..Perhaps necessity is the reason why I’m such a lighting fan? #lightbulbmoment.
To prove my love of lighting I thought I’d give you a mini tour of the lighting in my house if you’re up for that? But first a bit of techy stuff but I’m going to keep it short before you get all ‘get on with it woman, show us the pics’……
A Quick Guide to Lighting
I’m going to assume you’ve made the smart decision and switched to more energy-efficient LED lightbulbs. Although some of you may still be a little bit baffled by lumens and what size of LED bulb you need to replace your old 60W bulbs… if so here’s a handy little table from CNET magazine:
A quick and dirty way to figure out how much light you need in a room is to multiply the size of the room in square metres by 1.5. For example, a 4m x 4m room = 16 m2 x 1.5 = 24W in LED bulbs. So if this was a living room a semi-flush light with 4 x 6W bulbs should be sufficient, or you could spread the 24W between a ceiling light and wall lights. In rooms like kitchens or home offices where you need more light multiple the m2 by 2.5.
You also need to figure out what colour you want your ‘white’ lights to be. This is called the light temperature and is measured in Kelvins. Here’s another handy little chart. As a guide 1000k is candlelight and 2700k is what our old incandescent bulbs would typically be. Interesting fact – apparently people who live in colder climates prefer warmer white lights, and those living in hotter climates favour more blue or white light.
So you’ve worked out how much light you need and what colour you like so now where to put it?
- Ambient (or general lighting) is your main source of light. It’s what you would put on if you’d lost the back of your earring and needed to scrabble around on the floor to find it.
- Task Lighting would be the reading lamp over your favourite chair, or the light above your bathroom mirror you need to spot those weird long dark hairs that appear overnight on your face, and don’t pretend that’s never happened to you…
- Accent Lighting can be as simple as a couple of table lamps for the evening or something more for visual effect, such as plinth lighting in a kitchen.
My tip would be to have as many sources of light in a room as you can without it looking like a lighting shop. Oh, and put your general lights on a dimmer so you have even more flexibility.
So enough boring stuff – how about some pics?
The Summer House
I’m going to start here in the Summer House as pretty much every seat in here has it’s own light.
Wait there’s more…..
And it doesn’t stop at the door. I also have exterior wall lights, path lights and strings of fairground style lightbulbs around the summerhouse and in the trees. Told you I love my lighting.
Lets pop inside now shall we?
This is a dark room with little natural light so I have your typical downlighters, under cupboard and some in-cupboard lighting and the hob light. But my favourite lights are the large dark pewter pendants over the island and sink from Industville.
The Utility Room
This room is soooo small and dark it is impossible to photograph so I’m just going to make my life easier and show you a pic of the cage lights I have lighting it….
Another dark room and I still don’t think I’ve got the lighting right. For general lighting I went with downlighters because it has a very low ceiling.
The old over picture lights you can see above were too dim and a bit boring, so I changed these to 2-light wall lights with glass shades but these are too bright. I think they need to be on a dimmer.
I also have a large concrete base table lamp, but this isn’t enough on it’s own and I like dim light, so I end up lighting lots of candles.
You’d think being an interior designer and all that I’d have this figured out…..lets move on.
This is a tiny room, which to it’s credit does seat 7 people just don’t come for dinner if you have personal space issues.. There isn’t room for much lighting wise so I just have 3 ribbed glass ceiling pendants over the table and on a dimmer.
Check out the new pheasant wallpaper.
Another tiny room where we watch TV. I have a couple of downlighters for when we can’t find the remote and a floor lamp which serves as a task lamp and accent lighting.
But when I’m watching a movie I like to light a smelly candle and put on this amber globe bulb lamp from Cult Furniture.
I recently changed the lighting in my office and it was a classic case of needing to practice what you preach. I need bright light to work and the room had two 3-lamp ceiling lights which provided that…….but they were butt ugly. I initially changed them to metal coolie pendants which I loved but they couldn’t have given off less light if they tried. So thanks to my very patient electrician I now I have a single 5-bulb cluster light in the centre of the room.
I also updated the desk lamps recently with simple Hektar plug in’s from IKEA. Say hello to Florence the Flamingo.
The ceiling in my Wetroom is sloped with exposed beams and doesn’t really lend itself to any form of ceiling light so I have 4 bright wall lights and the biggest velux I could find to light up the room. I recently replaced the old IKEA lights you can see in the first pic with black and antique gold industrial wall lights I found on eBay.
Much better don’t you think? And yes I do like ducks. The framed prints are by the very talented artist Charlotte Gerrard
Lets go upstairs shall we?
In my bedroom I have an 18th century Czech glass chandler with an old 100 watt bulb which I haven’t got round to replacing *hangs head in shame* In theory I should need twice the lumens for a room of this size but the light reflects off the glass and lights up the room like an operating theatre. I bought it from an antique dealer for just under £500 but you can pick up reconditioned chandeliers like this one up for a lot less on eBay or Etsy.
I also have a couple of lamps in the bedroom with shades from my favourite lampshade supplier Love Frankie
I have another chandelier in the guest bedroom next door which cost £120 from a local antique shop, and a couple of mismatched table lamps. You’ll have to excuse the chintz in this room. I decorated it in 2010 when I bought the house and was a bit giddy about buying a cottage in the countryside which is clearly reflected in the decor…. I really like the wall colour (Farrow & Ball Old White) but I’m not loving the rest so much anymore. I just haven’t got round to figuring out what I want to do in here.
My single guest bedroom is very bijou and has a sloped ceiling so I just have two wall lights for lighting in here, but they turn on and off independently so the one over the bed also acts as a task light and accent lighting. Clever eh?
Although the ceiling slopes in here I still added a couple of downlighters at the highest point for general lighting. Them we have wall lights over the mirror and one on the wall opposite.
I also have a tiny spotlight behind the lowest beam to light up the bath and provide low light for relaxing baths and the inevitable at my age late night bathroom visits….
So the only light in the house I haven’t shown you hangs over the landing
and here you go (I couldn’t get a decent shot so a pic from the retailer will have to do I’m afraid).
And thats the tour over. Hope you enjoyed a nosy round my place. Get in touch if you need any help with your lighting, or anything else in your home for that matter, I’d love to hear from you.