Committing to the lighting options early in the design process


This needs to happen for your sparky, of course - before there is job on the walls, paint or furniture for visualisation or placing things around to get a feel for what they will look like. I'm a highly visual person - I need to be in a room and have a play around with things to see and feel what they will look like in order to balance the space and get it right.

So the problem is that I get a slight pang of anxiety when I'm forced to decide where exactly I want a feature pendant or wall sconces before I see other elements in a space or get a real feel for what I want to do for the room. In a sense, it stops you from being able to wing it too much because you really have to decide on your style and layout in order to correctly position these feature lights in a room.

Let's talk it through and make some steps…..

1. Really think through every room, and what you do in that room.

LEDs are pretty straightforward. You want them to balance the light evenly across the room. Talk to your electrician about what options there are, whether you need angled ones or just flat inconspicuous ones that are less noticeable. Most bedrooms I think would only need four downlights. Space them out accordingly so that they will light everywhere in the room when they are on. Consider what rooms you may want to have your LEDs on a dimmer also. In a kitchen make sure you have the correct lighting over your prep and cook areas, there is nothing worse than not being able to see what you're doing because of your own shadow.

The same goes for the bathroom. You need some good task lighting to put makeup on, so really consider this and talk with your sparky about options.

Choosing your downlights is pretty self-explanatory and you can really get guidance from your sparky as to how the lighting from these will project and what styles are available.

2. The next decisions are about your special feature lighting, which is the hard bit to commit to at the early design stage.

A lot of the time, feature lights are positioned in reference to an item to complement or balance something – whether that be a vanity or a table or a bedhead. The safe place is to put them in the centre of the room, but if you want to make your home special and a wee bit unexpected then think about hanging a pendant to the side of your bathroom mirror, or wall lights down one side of the mirror. Placing a pendant in the corner of your kitchen or having a swing arm light that you can move for prep is just a little something different.

If you have high ceilings, how about doing a cluster of three or five pendants? You can do different shapes or colours, hung at different heights or keep it uniform and have them the same.

In the bedroom, if you are primarily committed to one-bed formation due to size or layout then you can have fun with some striking wall lights. If your home is contemporary in style then keep size and structure uniform. If you are a bit more eclectic then have a play with levels and shapes that don't match. Lighting can really become an artwork and there are some absolutely sensational lights out there. Think about keeping your style consistent with the rest of your house. If you’re using brass tap-ware then try and keep your light fittings brass as well and try not to introduce another metal.

If you have an organic and natural feel to your home then think about the texture of your pendants - bamboo, rattan and soft fabrics will work. Be selective if you are incorporating glass lighting into this environment, Opt for smoked glass as it will soften the look.

If you have a modern home, then stick with glass and structured pieces with angles for a clean look.

If you have an eclectic style then experiment with pops of colour and retro style light fittings.

If Scandinavian is your vibe then choose pastel colours, light wood tones and soft lines.

If you really find it hard to commit and make decisions on where you will put furniture at the early stages then there are ways to still include amazing lighting features. There are some great armed wall lights that you can fix to the wall that simply plugs into the wall so you don’t have to commit or spend money with a sparky to give this design look a go.

Have a bit of fun and take risks!