As an award-winning residential lighting design consultant, I am often asked interesting and searching questions. So I thought I would select a few to share with you. Thanks to many years of industry experience I have worked with a number of high profile clients, and have been involved with projects ranging from luxury mansions and multi-million pound refurbishments, to smaller private builds and one-room design concepts.
However, regardless of the size, scale and budget, the same level of attention, energy and talent applies to every project.
So let’s start by taking a look at why lighting design is so crucial to the ambience of a room…
Getting lighting right takes skill, knowledge and expertise. It’s so easy to purchase off-the-shelf solutions, but they won’t provide the sensory stimulation and aesthetic beauty of a professional lighting design scheme.
Great lighting design offers you the opportunity to totally transform a room, as well as to completely alter its ambience and feel according to the time of day. Lighting has an overwhelming effect on our emotions and it can make us feel happy, relaxed, romantic, sleepy, or glamorous. Great lighting creates intimacy, luxury and cosiness, and it makes home a wonderful place to be.
Furthermore, lighting is wonderfully versatile and emotionally persuasive. Take the rise in open-plan living, for example. I enjoy creating zoned lighting design schemes that offer function and form in the kitchen area, intimacy and glamour in the dining area, and then a cosy retreat through in the lounge. This is the beauty of lighting; it’s so adaptable, but yet it offers such incredible results by completely transforming the look and feel within a space.
Get lighting right and you’ll reap the rewards by enjoying the perfect ambience for years to come.
Next, let’s look at what the lighting design process entails…
The lighting design process is very involved and takes a great deal of time and energy to perfect. I would start by considering my clients’ profile: Are they young professionals, a family, perhaps they are middle-aged or retired. It’s critical I have an understanding of my clients and their needs from the outset.
Next I match my clients with their style of home in order to understand their taste. Is it classic, modern, uber-chic, or vintage? I also make a note of the proposed furniture layout, as well as areas that will house art, ornaments or heirlooms, and the location of paintings, pictures and portraits. This means I can effectively layer light by illuminating areas and objects of interest to create depth and intensity.
Another major factor requiring consideration is colour. Not just the colour scheme, but also whether the tones are warm or cool, the effect natural daylight will have on the rooms, whether the house faces north, south, east or west, as well as flooring, wall coverings and textures, such as wallpaper or paint.
Next, I think very carefully about my clients’ emotional needs and requirements. What do they want to achieve from the lighting design scheme. There’s no better feeling than coming home after a long day, closing the door on life, and escaping to your very own sanctuary. Home inspires a whole host of emotions from safety and solitude, to a haven of rest and relaxation.
OK, I talked about layering light. So what exactly does it mean…?
Well, for the perfect room you need to layer light to create interest, intrigue and intensity. Just imagine taking a blank canvas and then applying a base coat – in this case it’s the flooring and wall coverings. Now add all your detail and interest – how about beautiful pieces of furniture, and personal touches such as pictures, paintings, ornaments, and candles. And finally, select your favourite aspects of the room for added depth, interest, and emotion.
To layer light effectively you need to start with the ceiling light, which could be anything from a glamorous chandelier to a whole array of spot lights. Next, highlight your favourite picture or painting with some subtle wall lights. Now it’s time to add accents, such as a single and strategically placed reading lamp, or some sensational LEDs or spot lights which illuminate a beautiful piece of art. The choice is yours – but the effect of layering light is phenomenal and life enhancing.
And finally, let’s explore the best time in the refurbishment, redesign or build process to consider creating the lighting design scheme?
Many people make the mistake of leaving lighting design decisions until the very last minute in the build or redesign process. Sadly, this often means that after having spent a lot of money on impressive fixtures and fittings, they fail to illuminate them correctly and really don’t do their hard work justice. That’s why my advice is to consider every aspect of the lighting design scheme at the earliest possible stage. Not only will it save time, money and hassle, but that perfect finish is guaranteed.