Ask the Expert – The light fantastic

Marketa Rypacek of Industville looks at which of the many types of decorative lighting are best for your project, gives insights into how to go low energy without compromising light levels, and explains why lighting is like jewellery

HOW CAN LIGHTING HELP TO TRANSFORM THE BATHROOM INTO A PEACEFUL RETREAT?

We are finding more and more customers asking for advice about how to create a ‘spa-like’ feel at home, and lighting plays an important role. To create this look, choose handcrafted, high quality fixtures, as this will help create a luxurious feel in terms of materials. Dimmable bulbs are another good option and will give the perfect ambience for relaxing bathing.

One of the most common mistakes when it comes to bathroom lighting is not providing enough of it. That said, people will often counter this issue with a plethora of fixtures on the ceiling, which can look busy and overcrowded. Consider combining decorative lighting with LED lighting strips that provide functional light, especially in areas around mirrors. This will create a design that’s ‘spot on’ in terms of both the look and the functionality.

CAN I MAKE A ROOM FEEL LARGER USING LIGHTING?

A well thought through lighting solution is integral to the space, so it’s vital that the lighting, as well as the electrical wiring, is considered from the very beginning of the project. Correctly specified lighting can make a space feel larger than it actually is. Lighting should be approached in a layered manner, so embrace the whole range of available sources, from pendants to recessed lights, to track lighting, lamps and spot lighting. I always advise customers to vary the lighting in a room to create small pockets and pools of light, and to mix and match products to create a co-ordinated scheme.

HOW CAN LIGHTING BE USED TO ENHANCE A KITCHEN SPACE?

Creative use of lighting can in fact embellish your decorating project hence it is worth looking at implementing several different types of lighting. Ambient lighting will brighten and enhance the glow in a room, while lanterns and wall sconces will create a soft, relaxing atmosphere. Accent lighting is great for highlighting architectural features or to show off a piece of art or photography and can be created using halogen spotlights or table lamps. For work areas such as food preparation, task lighting provides localised light, and is particularly important in a kitchen.

In terms of decoration in a kitchen, aesthetic lighting can be used purely for embellishment. A trio of pendants over a dining table or breakfast bar makes a great statement and can complement other accessories in the kitchen, depending on the style chosen. For contrast, try using rustic handcrafted light fixtures with sleek modern style cabinetry and worktops. This popular style also adds another layer of texture to the room, giving a softer look.

Using high quality lighting will help to ensure that the interior is timeless and looks luxurious. Quality, handcrafted lighting needn’t cost the earth but it does add a personal touch and will help to enhance the look of a kitchen. Lighting is like jewellery for a kitchen and can be used to add the finishing touches.

WHAT DO I NEED TO CONSIDER WITH USING DECORATIVE LIGHTING OUTSIDE?

Whether you are wanting an industrial style look or something simple and minimalist for your outdoor space, there are lots of options for waterproof lighting that adheres to the strict IP regulations, and is on-trend in terms of its design. When thinking about purchasing outdoor lighting it is a good idea to consider the size of your outdoor space as well as the purpose of the lighting. If, for example, you need to illuminate a path to help people stay safe, task lighting is a good option, whereas something more subtle could be used to add ambience for outdoor dining.

Consider the style of your property. Whether your home and garden is contemporary or traditional in character, decorative outdoor lighting can be designed for versatility to suit all styles, helping to further enhance the look of the property. When done well, outdoor lighting can be used to accentuate your home and make the elements you really love stand out.

Outdoor lighting also has the added advantage of deterring unwanted intruders, and you will also find a wide range of functional and motion activated solutions on the market.

HOW CAN I REDUCE ENERGY USE BUT ALSO KEEP THE RIGHT LIGHT LEVELS?

Instead of buying low priced, low-quality goods, look for products that will last longer, which do not hurt the environment and that you are proud to own.

In terms of bulbs, LED vintage bulbs are an excellent choice. With their clean, minimalist style, LED energy-saving bulbs look great in any room, and they are as practical as they are decorative, as you won’t need to replace the bulb for years. The increased wattage of modern LEDs provides a warm and relaxing glow that can be used in combination with incandescent bulbs for a ‘polished’ finish.

No one wants to waste energy unnecessarily, hence there has been increasing popularity of ‘smart’ technology within the home. At the beginning of your design project it’s worth looking into new technologies such as voice commands, mobile phones and other mobile devices to turn on lights at a specific percentage, as opposed to using the traditional method of turning a dimmer switch.

Marketa Rypacek is managing director of Industville