If you’re eager to update your home but you’re on a budget, lighting can be one of the easiest and most effective ways of transforming interiors, from turning your bathroom into a luxurious spa-like space to making your living room into a cosy enclave.
Conversely, terrible lighting can make even the most perfectly designed room—however opulent the furnishings—look cheap and uninviting. It pays to think carefully when it comes to this important element of interior design.
The big picture
As a general rule, good lighting is all about layering, namely using a variety of different lighting styles to create warmth and ambience—even the cheapest vase will look expensive with the help of some clever backlighting. When planning, think about the walls, floors and ceilings in a room—all can be used when it comes to lighting.
See also: House Style
Make the right choice
Ensure sure you use the right type of fitting in the right position. Use uplights to accentuate architectural features and downlights on artwork, and use pendant lights to spotlight tables and chairs.
Consider investing in LED lighting. The initial expense is bigger as LED light bulbs do cost more than traditional light bulbs, but they consume far less energy resulting in considerable savings on energy bills.
It’s also a good idea to play with light. For example, try bouncing light off mirrored surfaces for a muted glowing effect, and use opaque glass, Perspex or coloured shades in warm tones to soften light. Lamps with shades made from silk and parchment diffuse the light, creating a softer effect—ideal for bedrooms.
Remember that good lighting sets the tone in a room. For example, in a study you should focus on task lighting (lighting that’s specific and focused), while an open plan living space needs to have several different styles of lighting to create depth and texture. Dimmers let you play with mood and lighting.
Many of us will be eager to know how to use light to open up a space, and the answer is directional recessed spotlights. These bounce reflected light off the walls, and your eye is always drawn to the brightest point, so reflected light will make a small space appear larger.
See also: Let There be Light
- Pendant lights are becoming ever more ubiquitous in interiors and there’s a good reason for it. Statement-making yet space saving, they’re an easy way to add a dash of visual drama, whether it’s using one in place of a bedside lamp or spotlighting a kitchen island.
- Use smoked glass lights in your kitchen to add an industrial edge. The stripped-back design means the naked bulb can be used as a design element.
- The first opportunity to make a big impression is in the hallway, so save your big statement pieces for this space—we love the idea of modern chandeliers or webbed copper lamps.
- Plug-in floodlights can bring light to dark corners of a room. Alternatively, use extendable or angled wall lights.
Budget-friendly yet stylish lighting choices for your home:
- Ranarp pendant lamp, £30, Ikea
- Jacob task and bar wall light, £70, Laura Ashley
- Zaria antique brass glass frame pendant light, £112, Laura Ashley
- Max table lamp, £109, Marks & Spencer
See also: 2017 Lighting Trends