Getting the lighting right

In the last couple of years I’ve helped many clients cope with having to work from home and at the root of so many problems people face is a lack of good, effective lighting. Light impacts profoundly on us and how we feel in any space, at home or at work. It affects our health and moods, our productivity and getting restful sleep. It can even influence how we interact with each other so clearly, it’s worth investing some time and money to create lighting that works for you and your family. 

Most of us will be faced with one of these two scenarios: (1) new houses, unless you have the budget to design from scratch, are likely to have just the basics of overhead lighting points and power outlets dotted around the interior with minimal provision for healthy, effective lighting. (2) In older properties the lighting may well be a mish mash of light fittings that no-one has had the time or inclination to improve.

How we integrate artificial light into our homes is as crucial as making the most of daylight. The exceptionally talented lighting designer, Mary Rushton-Beales of London based LDH expands on this here. Interior lighting can be complex and choices can be mesmerising but the four-step approach outlined below can help everyone make some positive changes.

Kitchen lighting


  1. Remember each room in your home has a different function; eating, cooking, relaxing, sleeping, working. Often, we use rooms for more than one activity; we cook and eat in the kitchen for example, sometimes we even work there. It’s about individual preference, habit and lifestyle. How and when you use each space is the basis for lighting it.
  1. Most interior lighting can be divided in to three categories.
  • ambient or general lighting which creates an overall consistent light level
  • task lighting which is focused on a specific area or activity (a desk, the kitchen countertop, a reading light for example)
  • accent lighting focused on a surface or decorative feature

If you can include all three in a room, you have the makings of a comfortable and pleasing environment.


  1. Controlling the light can help to save energy and adjust the brightness to suit different uses, such as:
  • Vibrant for a party atmosphere
  • Softer for late evening as your body clock is preparing for sleep
  • Contrasting for romantic or social get-togethers
Table Lighting
Interior design party lighting

Interior design living room lighting
Interior design lighting

lst there are numerous light control systems available, they can be a sizeable investment and require careful planning. A simple way to control your lighting with minimal cost and more immediate results consists of these steps:


Try to keep general (ambient) lights on one circuit and accent lights on another so they can be controlled separately.


  • Many lights can be operated with simple, easy-to-use dimmer switches allowing immediate adjustment of brightness
  • All free-standing lights – table, desk and floor lights – should have their own switches. Some may even have integral dimmer switches, particularly floor lamps.


Whether you have dimmers or not you can still experiment with your lights by using them in different combinations. For example, for a more relaxing evening setting try using just the table/floor lights. Try moving them around too – if your lights have been in the same position for a long time, it’s a simple and immediate change.


I hope you now feel inspired to take a fresh look at your home lighting. In my next blog I’ll be writing more about how to light a room with multiple uses. In the meantime, if you would like some help with your interior design and lighting challenges please get in touch


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