House & Home

Lighting should be at three levels in a room ' the floor, walls and ceiling
Lighting should be at three levels in a room ' the floor, walls and ceiling

It can make a room calmer, brighter, or simply better to do your make-up in – Julia Gray explains why it’s so important to get your lighting just right

Lighting should be at three levels in a room – the floor, walls and ceiling.

Plan your scheme in advance – if you’re having electrical work done, make sure the sockets are fitted where you want your table and floor lamps to be.

Wall lights and target lighting should also be planned at this stage.

:: Lighting can be much more creative, and useful, than just an overhead light in each room.

In the bedrooms, do you want wall lights over the beds for reading, or just bedside lamps?

Don’t forget wall lights in the bathroom, perhaps for creating a relaxing atmosphere when you’re soaking in the tub, and on either side of the mirror for shaving and applying make-up.

An illuminated mirror is another option. Target lighting, such as over-counter lights in kitchens, can be both practical and attractive.

“Consider how the room will be used and at what time of day,” says Hector Finch, owner of lighting store Hector Finch.

“This has an influence on whether the lighting should be overhead, localised for reading, or purely for atmosphere.

“Lighting should be considered in relation to the use of the room and the times that good light will be most needed.”

If you want to focus attention on a feature, light it up.

This is often best achieved with a low-level lighting scheme, where walls are ‘washed’ with light, or where an area is accented with spotlights.

Statement pieces, such as chandeliers, can be a stunning feature, but give them room to ‘breathe’.

“Think of lighting as a means of adding personality and atmosphere to a room and home,” says Finch.

“Table lamps can be beautiful objects in their own right, not just used to provide light, and shades can be chosen to echo other colours in the room.”

In a room with a high ceiling, think carefully about the height and size of the ceiling light – a small one may look silly.

Most plastic ceiling roses come with short flexes, but you can buy longer flexes so the light isn’t ‘stranded’ too close to the ceiling.

A longer flex will make it look more in proportion to the room and create more of a feature, especially with a large light fitting or shade.