Monday, 09 November 2020 15:13

Let There Be Light

    Lighting Designer Nicola Schellander looks at how lighting can transform a home into a highly desirable living space.

    Homeowners are spending more time at home than ever before. According to a survey published in September, the average person spends an extra eight hours a day in their home since COVID-19 and is investing almost £600 extra in improvements, when compared with pre-pandemic times – a trend unlikely to change anytime soon.

    However, the way homeowners are using properties has been steadily changing over the years and with it, the roles of the individual rooms within homes are changing and evolving. People’s attitudes to their homes are also changing as people take more care to create an environment which better reflects their lifestyle.

    Glass lighting is one of the easiest and most effective ways to create a desired effect in a room, yet so often it is one of the last features of a room ever to be considered and indeed sometimes is overlooked altogether. But it is arguably one of the most important, if not the most important feature in any room. More than an aesthetic luxury, the wrong type of lighting in an otherwise impressive room can have negative consequences on the end result.

    The same room can potentially be the subject of dramatically different interiors, atmospheres and ambiences – depending on the lighting and colours used. The right colour and style of lighting can transform a living space to create a look and feel that makes a statement. Take the kitchen, for example, which in the 1950s was regarded as being functional and simply a place where food was prepared. Today, however, the kitchen is often the focal point, and its design is now as much about functionality as it is lifestyle. We have TVs in our kitchens. We’re spending more time in there, and it is a room worth investing in.

    The increasing demand for open-plan designs too provides much greater scope. As a result, we have larger spaces in which to place feature lighting, whether it be kitchen islands or in stairwells or hallways.

    Lighting’s crucial role

    The more time we spend in our homes, the more we want them to look and feel right for our needs. Whether the kitchen or any other room in the house, little features can create a world of difference and give each and every room its own unique personality and lighting can play a key part in achieving this.

    Certainly, from my own point of view, I am seeing increasing interest coming from the residential sector for kitchens; in particular with people looking for feature lighting that might hang over kitchen islands, kitchen or dining tables. Larger spaces such as stairwells, hallways as well as outdoor patios are becoming increasingly popular as lighting is an ideal way to make a dramatic statement. Although, at the other end of the scale, I am seeing more and more designers seeking lighting solutions for bedrooms too. However, perhaps more interestingly, bathrooms are also now becoming more of a focal point, once again with the emphasis on lifestyle – with people looking for bespoke lighting solutions such as suspended lighting coming down over a bath, sculptures and wall lights which is really exciting for designers such as myself, opening up a host of new opportunities.

    A colourful combination

    The current trend of neutral, earthy colours too provides a huge amount of scope. They almost serve as a blank canvas enabling designers to introduce splashes of colour to provide the individuality so often sought when creating a room space. It is here that lighting opens up a host of opportunities and can shape the way a room looks. Tones can be softened by using neutral or warm hues, or the use of colour can create a dramatic effect.

    Within my own collection, I have introduced a range of 18 colours and make a point of creating designs on which customers are able to put their own stamp. So, for example, with a pendant light they can choose to have four or eight, they can hang them in clusters or in different variations and choose their own colours, making each combination bespoke to them.

    When designing a house, it is important to remember that from a technical perspective, the home is made up of three types of lighting – ambient, task and accent. Ambient lighting is the primary source of light. It includes everything from wall lamps to chandeliers and if used correctly, gives each and every room its individual character and atmosphere, creating a warm and homely environment. The right ambient lighting can also make a room appear larger while the wrong lighting can shrink a room, even rendering it cramped or claustrophobic, and for a builder or developer, it is essential this is taken into consideration.

    Task lighting is commonly used to complement ambient lighting in the home, so it’s ideal for studies and lounge areas. Again, using the right style of task lighting is imperative, so it fully serves its purpose, all the while adding to the character of the room. While ambient and task lighting both serve a functional as well as aesthetic purpose, accent lighting – the third type of lighting – is purely aesthetic to help draw attention to special features in the room.

    From furniture to flooring and finishes to fitting, lighting plays an integral role in achieving the perfect equilibrium between style, comfort and creating a stunning, yet functional interior. Whilst on the surface, lighting may not seem a key aspect in the home, its importance is hugely understated. Lighting plays with our perceptions, creates new and exciting sensations and can completely reinvent a design. Essentially, it can change the mood of a room, qualifying it as one of the most crucial elements in the design process.

    Lighting can add colour, make a bold statement within a minimalistic design or add an element of individuality. It should be considered as an integral part of a room’s design and not just for functional purposes.

    The process of building an idyllic home requires numerous elements that are harmoniously brought together. Lighting should be as high on the list as flooring and wall colours. It is the ultimate accessory which has the power to change the face of a room and create the ambience desired.

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    Inex magazine and its complementary website is the ultimate specification resource for design professionals working in both the domestic and commercial marketplaces.

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