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Lighting Tips to Cheer Up Winter

Lighting Tips to Cheer Up Winter

cheer-up-winter

It seems that with every passing day we are tunnelling further down into the depths of winter!  If you’re like me – a lover of light and warmth – the whole season can be a bit depressing.

These tips may help to lighten the winter gloom

Candles any Time

The Scandinavians know how to cheer themselves up in the winter and the whole concept of Hygge is embraced whole-heartedly in the Northern Hemisphere.  It seems that in the UK many of us save our candles for special occasions or, at least, until the evenings. But why?  During deepest darkest winter some days can seem like perpetual dusk, so why not light a couple of candles or tea lights during the day, even when working. There is, on a primeval level, something enormously comforting about a flickering flame that makes me think we’re not so far removed from our cave dwelling ancestors

Scented Candles

Personally I find some scented candles overpowering. One sniff in a shop can’t quite display how the scent will actually be after a couple of hours’ burning at home and some can become quite nauseous. I usually burn unscented  church candles and my favourites are from the St Eval Candle Company made locally in Cornwall although they also do a very subtle festive range which I really enjoy.

Wax Crystals

If you like the effect of light reflecting on snow then you will love these wax crystals that bring a magical quality to any interior. Alexander Interiors sells bags of the crystal and the wicks separately, along with containers although you don’t necessarily need to buy these as you can set these crystals up in any container provided it’s not flammable. I use a large glass bowl and pour a good amount of crystals in and add about 5 wicks. They burn for hours and it all works out very economical as the next day you just dispose of the old wicks and clumps of melted wax, top up slightly, insert fresh wicks and start again

Free Standing Uplight

I will often incorporate integral LED uplights when I do a lighting design as it adds another dimension to the lighting but if we’re doing a quick fix a free standing uplight can work wonders. If you have a dark corner which just needs some soft light why not try something like the Marasino by Astro Lighting. This is made of paintable plaster so you can paint it to blend with the room if you prefer. The shape of it means that it can be positioned so you don’t get any glare

Soft Table Lamps

Opaque globes give out a soft light and as they have become very fashionable nowadays there’s a huge range of light fittings on the market.  A quick fix is to incorporate a globe table lamp and the Castore by Artemide has been a favourite of mine for years.  Available in various sizes from a lovely small one, that I had in my daughter’s bedroom when she was little, to the largest version that I put in my showroom Christmas window many moons ago

I’m also mad about the Rituals range by Foscarini and love the textured light that these emit. Check out their website for more details here: www.foscarini.com

Firelight

I know that so many new-build houses are so well insulated these days that they don’t really need a fireplace or wood burning stove.  Personally I think it’s a pity to miss out on the sparkle of a fire even if, technically, it may not be required. A flickering flame can always lift the soul.

Check Your Existing Light Bulbs

LED lamps (bulbs) give out less light as they get older and can lose their crispness. Try putting some fresh bulbs in where required and ensure that they are a warm white – 2700K is what I generally recommend.

SAD Lamps

High lumen output lamps can be very helpful and I’ve just ordered a small portable Beurer LED Daylight SAD Light for a very reasonable price. I’ll be testing it out over the next couple of weeks and will report back when I write my next blog on how our health is affected by light.

How to Light a Hallway

How to Light a Hallway

Lighting Hallways

How do I light my Hallway?

A question that is often asked when planning lighting for the renovation of a home or a new-build project.  For a relatively small percentage of a house this area will have a great impact on the feel and flow of a building.

I start by looking at a lighting project as a journey.  It may help to literally close your eyes and imagine opening the front door.  What are you greeted by?  What is the feeling you want to create?

Analysing the following points can help you get it right

Main Entrance Hall

Is this the main entrance to your home that your visitors will see first or is it a transitional space or back hallway?  Is it situated on the ground floor with ample natural light or in a dark basement?

Think of how the space is being used.  It’s often useful to have a console table which allows for a surface for placing necessities, perhaps with a mirror above for checking the tilt of your hat before leaving the house.  If the space is large enough a lamp or two can work well to soften the area; if the hallway is tight then a wall light, or two wall lights either side of a mirror can help to lower the lighting to create warmth.

Proportions

How high is the ceiling in proportion to the length and width of the space? What greets you at the end?  Over a decade ago I did the hallway (left picture) in a basement leading to a playroom/teenagers’ den. Would I do it differently today? Absolutely!

These days we have some wonderful LED profiles which can either be incorporated into a shadow gap or could be placed centrally to cast light on one or both walls. The downlights were not the ones I specified and should have had wide beams to create an even flow of light on the wall.

What I wouldn’t change is having some focus on the blank wall ahead.  Here we put a Large Button wall light by Flos  as this picked up on the theme of a further row of buttons in the den.  The wall lights are the

 Pochette also by Flos

The corridor on the right was a lower ground floor area which would be used for parking bicycles and surfboards so had to be robust and serviceable.  There wasn’t any void in the ceiling above so we created boxing to accommodate downlights on one side and exterior bulkhead wall lights on the other which could withstand being knocked a bit. (Unfortunately these are only snapshots and were taken when my clients were moving in so a huge amount of stuff was lined along one side of the space.)

Artwork and Artifacts

These bring individuality and personality into a space and lighting can be incorporated in a display area if there is enough depth.  Light can be washed onto paintings or family pictures which in turn will bounce light back into the hallway and this can be done either with angled downlights or picture lights which can be very slim an unobtrusive these days.  For the best contemporary picture lights that I know visit Hogarth Lighting. They supply a fabulous array of picture lights and will even tweak the tone of light to compliment your painting.

Floor and Wall Surface

Do you know the finish and colour of your flooring and walls?  This will have an impact on how much light will reflect within the area.  For example, if you place inground LEDs to wash up a wall this will have a much greater effect if the surface is textured and a light colour.

Niches and Recesses

These can add a depth to the space and can often be factored into the build if the project is a self-build or a major renovation.  Lighting can be incorporated into these areas to illuminate objects or can simply be architectural features that can bounce slots of light back into the hallway.

Above all it is important to make the hallway personal and although it can be useful to look at magazines and Instagram always remember that this space is your own and should feel like Home