I’d like to start this blog with a question.
Does anyone, other than me, find the subject of lighting interesting?
I love lighting and what it can do to an interior. Getting it right can elevate a space to something truly amazing, drawing the eye and guiding you through the space effortlessly.
My wife on the other hand won’t have managed to read this far into the blog before losing interest. Within seconds of me mentioning “the L word”, Maddie has literally glazed over. On one occasion, despite me becoming increasingly animated and excited about a client’s scheme, she genuinely fell asleep. It is perhaps a testament to my own enthusiasm that I failed to notice this until she started to snore gently.
In an attempt to make it more palatable for her – and possibly anyone else brave enough to get to this point, I thought I might liken things to one of Maddie’s favourite things to help keep things interesting.
So, here we go.
Creating a lighting scheme using cake (yes CAKE) as a sort of template.
The Cake’s Sponge Base (or Low level lighting)
Usually lower than eye level when standing and just at or slightly above eye level when sitting, this helps to draw you into and move you around a space. Think table lamps which cast a wide light providing ambient and some task light, or bedside lamps which provide reading light without blinding you.
The Butter cream (or Mid level lighting)
Set slightly higher than low level lighting (obviously) but should be used more sparingly – floor lamps can be used to cast light down next to an armchair, or to one side of a sofa, perhaps. Also useful to solidify the notion of symmetry in a space, either side of display storage for example.
The Jam (or High level lighting)
Up lighting from either a floor or wall lamp can be really effective at creating a sense of height. Using LED strip lighting to frame an area with a lower ceiling height can be especially effective – washing the ceiling with light and essentially making the whole surface a diffuser.
The Cake’s Top Sponge (or Pendant lighting)
Pendant lights can of course be positioned in all of the afore mentioned layers, but for ease (and making sure the cake theme still works) I’ve called them the top. Fantastic for creating an inclusive space like over a dining table really pull together or to be a real feature in a space. Hallways for example, especially in period properties, can benefit massively from a touch of the spectacular when you walk in…
Decoration (or Area specific and decorative lighting)
Back lighting and picture lighting should be used sparingly and specifically. As should spot lighting. The tendency to use ceiling spots to light a whole room is a trap we’ve all fallen into. The reality is that there are better ways to give ambient light to a space (LED framing) and as task lighting in a kitchen, for example, they are woefully lacking given that you’ll probably be standing between the light source and the thing you’re trying to light… Use them to pick out a specific object or group of objects instead – the effect will be amazing!