5 November 2014

Lights fantastic and the importance of lighting


How you light a room is – perhaps surprisingly – one of the most important factors of a decor scheme. “Consider all the different levels of lighting in the room, from the ceiling lights and pendants, to uplighters and occasional lamps,” urges Josephine Bennett, head of home design at Laura Ashley. “All these aspects create different moods, which can be interchangeable throughout the day and night. Large, statement table lamps create a real focal point in the room, and provide an intimate light in the evening.”


The great thing about lighting is you can tune into the latest looks without spending a fortune. Obviously, a crystal chandelier or standout floor piece might make a dent in your savings, but a simple shade or statement table lamp can give a room a whole new look – and give you change from a £20 note.

Copper is a big highlight this season, and matches the autumnal palette perfectly.

“Contemporary copper lighting adds a stylish finishing touch to any decor,” says Rachel Small, Sainsbury’s home living buying manager. “Giving off a burnished glow, copper pendants create a dramatic centrepiece for an ambient dining setting, while copper table lamps enhance any living space.”

Alicia Kaper, head of curation at Joss & Main, completely agrees: “With the clocks going back, one of the most effective ways to bring added ambience to your home is through well-chosen lighting. Copper continues to reign supreme as ‘the’ metal of the moment, but to get a kick-start on another key material story, look out for lighting made from weathered woods, which form the basis of the season’s modern rustic look.”

Of course, stunning, ornate styles are never going to go out of fashion and always create an impact, and even light bulbs are beautiful now.


“Bulbs are no longer boring,” asserts Diane Simpson, lighting buyer at John Lewis. “Calex bulbs look striking with their carbon filaments and can be hung from plain or coloured cord to provide a retro feel to your home. Lee Broom’s range of UK-made crystal bulbs provide a delicate and decorative alternative, while Plumen have managed to make low energy light bulbs look great.”

BUY ME By Sainsbury’s Copper Finish Glass & Wood Electric Pendant, £25, Sainsbury’s (large stores only)

  • Calex 35W ES Decorative Globe Bulb in Gold, £15, John Lewis (
  • Recla Floor Lamp, £165.95, Joss & Main (
  • Heritage Extending Arm Wall Light (pictured above), £90, John Lewis (


With long, dark evenings fast approaching, and Christmas not that far away, it’s a great time to focus on making rooms feel warm and cosy.

“Lighting is the perfect solution to uplift an interior setting during dismal months; how you choose to illuminate your space will have a huge impact on both the look and feel of your room,” says Katie Watson, interior designer at Fishpools. “Get it right and lighting can bring any space to life, adding character, as well as providing a pleasing illumination for a truly relaxing ambiance.

“Consider the function of a space, though,” she continues. “It might not be the most exciting aspect, but it’s important to think through the practical elements, as these will make all the difference when it comes to the finished look.”


Bedroom lighting should create a relaxing, welcoming ambiance, but also be practical and bright when you need it.

“The key to bedroom lighting is to introduce a variety of different options,” advises Watson. “While low-level lighting is the perfect way to prepare your body for sleep, you may want something a little brighter while you get ready. A combination of wall or ceiling lights and a bedside lamp will help you find a balance that’s right for you.

“For lampshades, silk fabrics are perfect for adding a luxurious touch to bedrooms, while fully blown glass and sculpted metal base designs create a decorative statement.”

BUY ME Haslemere Clear Glass Chain Pendant Light (pictured right), currently on sale at £144 (was £180), Laura Ashley (

  • Adele Table Lamp in Champagne, £45, John Lewis (, styled by Phoebe Oldrey, founder of Smartstyle Interiors


Often, lighting can be the last thing to be considered in kitchen design. However, in order for it to function perfectly, this space must be lit properly.

“Make sure you plan your lighting in the design stages,” recommends Andrew Hall, managing director and chief designer at Woodstock Furniture. “Your kitchen designer should tailor your lighting and will break down solutions into the following key areas – important work stations, such as food preparation and cooking, ambient for the more relaxed spaces, such as dining, accent and decorative.”

BUY ME This luxury, bespoke kitchen from Woodstock Furniture features Millard & Flo pendant lights (top right) to light the way along the island unit, from the breakfast bar to the induction hob. Kitchens cost from £30,000 including VAT (

  • Pascale Silver Vintage Pendant Light (pictured right), £33.99, My Furniture (


Lighting in a dining room can vary in preference from person to person. I like nothing more than wining and dining in a dimly lit, romantic setting, no matter how many people are at the table, but many prefer a brighter setting.

“The balance of lighting is key,” adds Watson. “You’ll need the lights dimmed enough to create an atmosphere, but not so dark that guests find it difficult to see their food. An overhead light, such as a chandelier or dramatic pendant, will make a fabulous addition. A few table lamps will also work nicely, but be sure to consider their placement to ensure their glow doesn’t interrupt your room’s overall mood.”

BUY ME Blue Chandelier Glass Lampshade (pictured right), £25 from George Home at ASDA (

  • Bermondsey Table Lamp in Oak, £100; Meriden Pendant Light in Charcoal, £90; Paris Pendant Light in Nickel, £45; Cadogan Pendant Light in Charcoal, £115; Small Cavendish Pendant Light in Chalk, £60, all Garden Trading (
  • Uto Pendant, from £307, Christopher Wray (; 020 7013 0188)


This is where lamps really come into their own. With so many shade and base designs available, you’ll be completely spoilt for choice. Pop a quirky design on a side table to make a talking point, or subtly light the corners of a room, or a feature piece of furniture.

“Floor lamps will also serve a good purpose in a sociable area like the living room,” says Watson. “Whether positioned next to a sofa or to brighten up a dark, uninspired corner, many styles combine function with a strong design aesthetic. They can also be moved around with ease, so you can adjust your lighting depending on the look and feel you want to create.

“Be careful to not over-light a space, as you may compromise on its cosiness.

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