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Lighting is an incredibly hardworking element of interior design, as every room has different lighting needs which themselves are dictated by the activities the room is used for, be it for a romantic dinner for two or a 13th birthday party. A hardy multitasker, not only does lighting illuminate, set atmosphere and create ambience, it also takes on the role of decoration – whether decorative on its own account or by highlighting something even more fabulous.
Before the dinner party, the kitchen is ablaze with light to make sure everything looks perfect but, once the food is served, it is soothing to leave the kitchen in the dark (where the dishes and the earlier stresses of the preparation remain perfectly hidden).
However a few minimal lights, perhaps over the kitchen cupboards, will give a warm glow and relax the mood, ideal if your home is open-plan and the kitchen remains in view. The same effect can also be achieved at a lower level with floor washers installed into the centre island, or in cupboards designed to display beautiful vases and glassware.
Bathroom lighting has to work equally hard – providing full flood light for applying fake tan but then a much more subtle light for a relaxing soak in the tub. Bathroom lighting today has made massive progress as the industry has not only accommodated the rigorous safety regulations, but has done so with style and cutting edge design. Chandeliers, Art Deco wall lights or LED star-lit showers are all now available for the bathroom – just as long as you have a qualified electrician to check the safety zones and, of course, install the fixtures professionally.
You might well think that bedroom lighting would be less complex. However, bedroom lighting has a multi-faceted role to play: there is lighting for dressing in the mornings and to assist in the sock-matching battle, and night-time reading lights to prevent eye-strain on one side of the bed, but still allowing less literary partners to sleep without disturbance.
Think about dimmers
Dimmers are incredibly useful devices for most rooms. They work particularly well in babies’ bedrooms for the times you want to peek in to check on a sleeping child without disturbing them. They are equally necessary in the living room when the bright lights of late afternoon can be dimmed to a relaxing evening glow.
Where lights were once the firm domain of the ceiling as swinging pendants, they can now be found in most parts of the structure of the house – walls, floors, niches. Lights set into steps are not only there for safety, they are also beautifully decorative. Floor washers will give our much-ignored flooring a hint of the spotlight.
For this type of lighting it is worth getting guidance from a lighting expert or a good quality electrician, as the right bulb and the perfectly angled shade will make all the difference.
Fortunately, there is a wealth of choice and a style of lighting to suit everyone: from chandelier devotees, retro lighting fans, uber industrial enthusiasts to lovers of chintzy-tasselled lamps. From Moroccan lanterns that throw colours in all directions to lights that come with a world of button-pushing and timer-setting that will keep the techie you know and love happy forever.