Post in partnership with John Cullen
Let’s talk about lighting tips for the home. The lighting within your home can have an enormous effect on your state of mind and wellbeing, and although it’s often one of the last considerations for many when it comes to renovating, lighting schemes within a residential property need to be placed at the top of your list.
Today I’m partnering with interiors specialist, John Cullen Lighting – who has been offering a complete end-to-end solution for all aspects of interior and exterior lighting for houses all over the world for 35 years – to share essential lighting tips for the home, including how best to approach your decorating project to achieve beautiful effects, from your garden to your bathroom.
Rather than forgetting about the impact the front entrance can have, planning hallway lighting carefully can turn this space into a real statement as soon as you walk in through the front door. Wall sconces, for example, are a great way of adding light to a long narrow walkway, especially if there isn’t floor space to place a console table and lamp.
The addition of architectural lighting such as downlights and uplights adds extra drama and interest when your guests first enter in to your home. Downlights can be a great way to frame artwork, while with double height entrance halls, lighting artwork at height level will draw your eye up beyond the ground floor level and make the room visually appear larger. Uplights are an ideal way to light up arches and door frames creating an additional layer of light.
How to create a warm, inviting living room is potentially one of the most requested things I’m asked as an interior decorator. Today I want to explain how key lighting is to achieving this. The first point to note is, before you decide on lighting placement, you need to have basic plan of how furniture is to be laid out in order to really enhance the space.
A clever tip when considering downlights is to avoid a straight line of LED’s as this only serves to make the room look flat and dull. The ideal solution is to position LED lights angled towards curtains, artwork and joinery. In regards to the fireplace, lighting – or uplighting to be more specific – is a great way of creating a focal point in the room.
For a soft ambiance, look to table lamps with a warmer glow from halogen or incandescent instead of colder fluorescent bulbs. Using a 5-amp floor box that can be placed under the sofa is a great alternative to hiding away loose wires.
Introducing lighting into shelving, meanwhile, adds further depth to a room, lighting decorative objects and books with either front lighting using LED tape, downlighting to focus on individual items or even using back lighting to create dramatic silhouettes and interest to the shelves.
There are two points to consider when planning lighting for your bedroom – is the room light and bright in the morning, and can it be more intimate in the evening? Traditionally, we’re used to seeing a main light in the centre of the room and two bedside table lamps. But with clever lighting placement, you can change the feel of the room dependant on its use.
By lighting the front of your wardrobes with discreet LED downlights, light will be reflected back into the room, making it appear larger than it is.
When lighting your bedroom, a good reading light attached to the bed is a must – especially if you need a better solution for letting your partner sleep undisturbed. If using a table lamp, aim for the shade to come to shoulder height when reading.
Finally, building bedroom lighting into joinery is a perfect way to add feature lighting to the room. Consider using an LED Contour strip over the bedhead or under your bedside tables to create a floating effect.
Sitting at the heart of the home, the kitchen requires clever planning when it comes to lighting design. There are a number of different needs in the kitchen, especially if a lot of natural light is limited.
One of the best kitchen lighting tips from John Cullen’s creative director, Sally Story, is to ensure great task lighting under kitchen cabinets or shelving. This ensures the best shadow-free light in which to work is provided.
If you are fortunate enough to have space for a kitchen island, use light in the centre with either LED recessed downlights or decorative pendants. In a kitchen with high ceilings, meanwhile, adding low hanging pendants over the island can visually lower the sense of scale, as well as creating a defined zone within an open plan room.
Consider dimmers to give flexibility to your lighting arrangement in the kitchen, offering you bright light through the day to a more subdued light to entertain in as the evening closes in.
Great lighting in the bathroom is imperative to creating a spa-like experience – especially if natural light is lacking, and you have features you want to enhance and perhaps, hide.
In terms of basic ceiling lighting, downlights are a great consideration, but instead of grid lighting – which, like mentioned previously, can make the room appear lacklustre, place LED lights close to the walls to create an almost water-like appearance running down the tiles or paint. One place to perhaps leave downlighting is above a mirror, which caused less than flattering shadows across the face.
Task lighting is key to the bathroom, especially when it comes to washing, shaving and putting makeup on. Achieve the most flattering task lighting with lights placed on either side of the face, such as sconces on the wall or hanging pendants from the ceiling.
When you think of a spa, you’ll often think of the soft uplighting placed around to create a soft ambiance. One-watt low level LED’s will make all the difference to your uplighting, especially when used to highlight a freestanding bath for example – it’s like lighting a candle as you lay back and let the day wash away from you.
A point to remember when it comes to lighting the bathroom is that finishes can play a huge part in the end result. For example, if you choose to light under the sink, but have a gloss tiled floor, the LED strip will be seen in the reflection. In this instance, the key is to place the strip carefully and use a frosted design.
Although lighting your garden might not be the first thing on your list of things to do when renovating, it really can create a beautiful environment, highlighting the landscaped areas you love and masking those that need a little more attention, shall we say.
The key to a successful external lighting scheme is flexibility, allowing you to move lights to suit changing seasons and planting growth.
Lighting any steps you may have in the garden, meanwhile, is ideal for both safety and aesthetic reasons. How about using nightlights in small glass holders across the staircase?
Using lights to highlight your water feature is a great way to add movement to the space, especially something as magical as adding light fibres to the base of the structure, appearing almost as stars.
Finally, consider your curb appeal as you light the front of your house. Key features to light include trees, potted flowers and the façade of the house, to create a warm, inviting welcome.
As well as lighting tips for the home, John Cullen offers a bespoke architectural lighting design service to ensure you have the right lighting for the right task, helping you design a scheme that brings out the key features of your property.