Paying attention to how we light our homes is highly underestimated when it comes to interior design. I find that lighting is often an afterthought with people spending more time considering furnishings and accessories. It can be viewed as purely functional without seeing the bigger picture. I believe that the right lighting can completely transform the look and feel of a room or an entire property. It is more than purely operative and can effect emotions, alter room sizes and colours of the wall.
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Lighting plays a large part in affecting mood and can help you feel happier or more upbeat. Just consider how lethargic we can feel during the cold winter months. For example, the right dimmed light in the bathroom can help relieve the stresses of the day or wake you up to work by your desk. Good lighting works by creating layers of different effects. Soft lighting creates a restful feeling, perfect for bedrooms and bathrooms. He is the founder of Design Plus Light which bridges the gap between architects and electrical engineers to blend luxury and necessity in houses, hotels and businesses. Sanjit’s team are experts in sourcing the best lighting technology, equipment and fixtures and they can help you to use energy-efficient lighting wherever possible.
MEET THE EXPERT Sanjit Bahra is a speaker at this year’s Decorex International –the world’s leading design trade show The trick is to make sure that it doesn’t make the room too gloomy, though. In my opinion, lights in a bathroom ideally need to be dimmable to create different moods from bright and functional during the day to dimmed lighting for long and relaxing soaks in the bath. At Design Plus Light we like to make sure a ‘night light’ is integrated into the design. This can be a simple floor washer in the shower/WC area or concealed LED strip under the basin cabinet. It is essential for a bathroom nightlight to be on its own circuit so you can enter the bathroom at night in a relaxing mood without illuminating the other lights.
In a nutshell, you need to consider the intensities of light and what sort of ambience you want to create in different rooms, as well as in different areas of the same room. Task lighting needs to be brighter when you might be doing food prep or require a stronger light for reading, as which we all tend to need as we get older. As a rule of thumb, where you work, read or prepare food should be three times brighter than general lighting. In these areas, it is ideal to use lighting of higher wattage to boost the brightness. Pendant lights are excellent to hang over a table or kitchen island to cast concentrated amounts of light downward. The right lighting can make a small room appear larger by magically pulling space out of thin air. A room can look wider when light fittings are placed higher up the wall so the eye moves vertically rather than horizontally.
Recessed ceiling lighting can make a room seem brighter and more open without taking up any additional space in a room. Lighting a door, shelving or any recessed areas can also engage spaces to make them appear larger. Remember that the hallway is the gateway to a home; it sets the tone when guests arrive and also showcases the personality of your abode. A creative, well-lit and inviting hallway is a great way to make an impression so why not try some decorative lighting? This will instantly create an overall feeling of serenity and playfulness. Ornate lighting can enhance a home like artwork, with shapes bringing texture and interest to your decor.
Indeed, our ancestors knew that chandeliers create beautiful focal points. Accent lighting can create special focal points in a room. Lighting objects can bring them to life, creating dramatic effects or helping to layer textures within a home. Precious objects such as paintings, sculptures and architectural features like fireplaces can be highlighted to stand out. Halogen lighting is the best way to highlight features thanks to its intensity and brilliance. Even an cheap vase can look glamorous if it is properly backlit. Spot lighting a piece of furniture, joinery or a painting can make a space look redecorated. Accent lighting is especially useful in sitting rooms and hallways. Finally, lighting shelves and making a feature of the books and objects displayed, is a lovely way to highlight a special area in your property. The latest advances in technology are a real boon for lighting. Did you know that Philips offers bespoke ‘wireless lighting’? You can now control, dim or illuminate your house at the touch of a button on your smart phone, ready for your arrival home.
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