A lot of people don’t layer their light!
Designer tip: The key to lighting is layering light.
Layering your lighting scheme by making sure you have lights at different heights and whatever you do don’t rely on just one kind of light source. Mix your light sources with a variety of overhead, floor and mid-level lighting.
Floor lighting – inserted into the skirting or up-lights from the floor, great for drama and interest. These tiny lights inserted into the skirting board are great for lighting stairs where people who move around at night need a little lighting for safety such as children and older people. Having said that they also look good!
2. Mid-level lighting – lights at eye level such as table lamps, niches or alcove lighting (image 2) wall lights – this lighting is your work horse, the general lighting/task lighting where you need it and gives ambience to any room. This lighting has to be adaptable, dimmable, and variable. It can also be the most decorative of lighting, with gorgeous lamps and shades.
Designer tip: Gold on the inside of a shade throws a glorious hue to the room. While black will direct the light up and down and white lining on the shade will defuse it around the room.
3. High-level lighting (www.astrolighting.com)– chandeliers, spot lights, down lights and up lights behind cornices or in lighting sofits. These fixtures create lighting in general, but can be harsh and unflattering if not controlled and if you have too many.
Designer tip: Don’t use overhead light that’s too bright
A single or multiple overhead can make you feel like you are on stage. Also overhead light casts a shadow on the work top. I would recommend using dimmers and soft or warm white bulbs in every room, including bathrooms. Lighting from the ceiling washes down on you and can be harsh, unflattering and can be too sterile.
Designer tip: Don’t litter the ceiling with too many lights!
Don’t make your ceiling look like a cheese grater by installing too many fittings. Be aware of where you need the light, what kind of light it should be: should it wash the walls, should it be a direct light on a surface. People often make the mistake of installing lights everywhere – filling the ceiling when in actual fact they only need it where the task is.
4. Think about the tasks they are trying to light
Do you need overhead or mid-level lighting? Think about where can you put lighting that is not in the ceiling or table lamps. This lighting of bookcases, niches and skirting can create excellent mid level lighting, that is comfortable to be in and easily controlled with dimmers and circuits.
Designer Tip: With the new small LED lights you can sneak lights into and behind all sorts of architectural details.
5. Not enough circuits
You don’t need that many circuits in bedrooms, but reception rooms and kitchens where different tasks and events are undertaken means that you need to be able to set different scenes with different levels of lighting.
6. Do install dimmers
You want to create atmosphere and drama – you need to control the light levels. The easiest way to do this is with dimmers. However if you plan your lighting well you don’t have to use dimmers on all lights!