Valentine’s day has been and gone, and it got me thinking about simple ways to create atmosphere in the home. Lighting can change the aura of a room with the flick of a switch. So, whether you are snuggling up for a romantic night in with your loved one, or dimming the lights to calm your kids, here is how to make the best use of lighting in your home.
Light is, obviously, first and foremost, functional. You’ll have your main light/s that will brighten up the whole room. Floor or table lamps are useful when you want to watch a movie in semi-darkness or need to be cosy. Spot lights are angled on to paintings or objects that you want to draw attention to. When buying lights, don’t forget to consider the function they will perform, the best place to put them and what bulb wattage to use.
A bit of a no-brainer here. The lower the watt of the bulb, the more intimate and relaxed it will make your room feel. Edison bulbs are also great for creating a warm feel, which is why you’ll see them in a lot of bars. Brighter lights are best when you’re cooking, cleaning and working, or just need to be kept awake and alert.
Dimmer switches are, of course, perfect if you want to control your main room light. Put them on full beam when you’re getting your kids to hoover and change to low lighting when you’re on the couch with a glass of wine.
Ambience can also be created by how the bulb is shaded. The colour of the shade will have a huge effect on what light is cast. When I make bespoke traditional lampshades, I always line in a white silk satin so the light bounces off this shiny fabric.
Image taken from Cocoon Home Bespoke
Melodi Horne (an alumni of my lampshade courses), uses beautiful ikat fabrics gathered on the outside, and coloured linens as the lining. Melodi Horne loves the way the coloured linings create different hues. An orange lining gives off a cosy feel. Light blues will feel icier and brighter. Pinks are soothing.
Image taken from Melodi Horne
You can even find shades with wonderful mirrored metallic linings.
Images taken from Love Frankie
The Kelvin unit is something I’ve found out about researching for this blog post. The Kelvin (K) indicates the colour temperature (i.e. if it is a warm of cold light) produced by the bulb. The lower the Kelvin the warmer the light. The higher the Kelvin the bluer the light. So, don’t just look at the wattage when selecting a bulb.
Image taken from Proud Green Home
When you choose a shade or lamp, think about what position you would like the light to be angled, or how wide the light to be cast should be. A narrow shade from the ceiling will direct the light in a narrow shard. Not a good idea for your main light, so opt for a large circumference shade or a chandelier.
You will be fine breaking this rule if you’re going for a cluster of shades for a ceiling light. It is absolutely fine to use narrow shades on table or floor lights if you are creating ambience.
Last, but absolutely not least, is how lighting fits in with your style. Don’t leave lighting as an afterthought or purchase it with a ‘that’ll do’ attitude. Take your time to find that chandelier or lampshade that is perfect for your home. If you have found the perfect base, but struggle to find a shade to match, you can make your own hard lampshades. Dannells sell great kits with everything you need, including instructions. If you want something more tailored, I run traditional lampshade courses from my North London studio.
I love scouting eBay for bases (I have yet to find that brass 1930s base I have imagined in my head) and flea markets. Charity shops are a great place to find lampshades, especially the types you can strip down and restore. You don’t have to go crazy spending money if you don’t want to. Ikea have a great selection and Gumtree may throw up some terrific local finds. If you want to pay a bit more, you may find a local woodturner that can create something unique. Make sure you get a certified electrician to install the electrics. We can’t recommend David Turner Workshop highly enough.
Thinking carefully about lighting will transform a room. All you need to do is buy with function, ambiance and style in mind.