Now I know what you’re thinking – it’s nearly mid January, but things have been a bit different this year….
Every year there is this huge debate on when is the right time to take down the Christmas Lights (and decorations!). Some say that it should be the 12 days of Christmas to which your decorations should go up on the big day – 25th December and should be taken down on the 5th January. Others like to take them down before the new year and some wait for the new year to arrive and then pack away their festive decorations.
This year feels different; as I’m going out for my daily walk I see outdoor decorations still on display, wreaths still hanging and lights still lit. There’s lots of posts on social media to say that they are keeping theirs on display until February!! At the end of the day do whatever you feel is right for you as there is no right or wrong.
Does your house now feel a bit more spacious but a bit darker without the tree, without the lights?
January normally feels like the longest month of the year and with it being a cold winters month (in the UK) the mornings are dark, it turns dark at 4:00pm in the afternoon and all round just feels a bit miserable. The festivities have finished and you’re now trying to work out whether to keep to your resolution or pretend you never made one!!
Are you now cursing the one light you have in your living room as it’s not giving you enough light? And it’s likely you would get more light out of a candle?!!
There are many design solutions you can do to make your space feel homely again. In residential lighting design there are many layers of light that can make a real difference to your home. A simple table or floor lamp in a corner, or on a nest of tables can help create an ambient light to your space.
Nowadays everyone still associates wall lights as ‘old fashioned candelabra’ styles but thanks to the power of LED, wall lights now look so different. If you are renovating or building there are even wall lights that you can conceal within a wall and have your skilled plasterer plaster right up to the edges of the light so that you only see them when they are illuminated. Wall lights help give a very even contrast to a room, if you use something that is fabric, porcelain or glass you are going to get a spread of light through the fitting as well as dispersed up and down the wall. These materials help when you need more light in a space as they are adding another layer of light. If however you have sufficient lighting in a room you can use wall lights that are concealed, made out of metal or an opaque material that simply blocks the light from coming through the fitting BUT instead it pushes the light in one direction or multiple which creates an effect in your room rather than give a strong light source and almost creates an art form.
I want to now talk about pendants, most people think you can only have them if you have tall/high ceilings. This really isn’t the case! Granted if your home is blessed with Victorian high ceilings then you can put pendants anywhere you like, but most modern builds with your conventional developer are your standard 2.4m/8ft ceilings. I love to add a pendant in most rooms as the variety of styles and options is endless, they also add a really good focus in a room and like wall lights can look like a work of art! I would position a pendant over the centre of your dining room table, or over a breakfast bar/kitchen island.
I then face a lot of my clients asking me ‘what if I move the table?’ My simple question back to them is ‘how often would you do that?’ I guarantee that 9/10 people would then say ‘for Christmas’, so for one day of the year (or possibly 3 if you celebrate for a few days) people would choose not to have a pendant. Instead I have a great solution, for that one day you could either simply bundle the cable of the pendant up and use a cable tie to get it higher and out of the way or you could put a white hook in the ceiling that you can then simply hook it out of the way which if done cleverly could end up being in the centre of the table when it is moved!
My other top tip for anyone that then has a really low ceiling, lower than average – why not hang a pendant in the corner of a room?? Or over a console table or a coffee table?? Think outside the box, pendants don’t have to be for high ceilings only. Many of my projects that have been perhaps most quirky or most successful have been those that I have done this very thing. And just because it is in a corner of a room doesn’t mean it has to be a single pendant hanging there, it can be a multi pendant with lots of lights hanging from it, it could be oversized or really tiny to add impact!! The corner I generally would choose is one that you see straight away from walking into a room so it creates a wow factor and a focus.
This brings me on to touch upon how lighting can benefit wellbeing, which is so crucial at the moment. Technology and how lighting is evolving all the time has really given us as designers a way of creating spaces for people that are multifunctional, that change through the day to suit different moods, assist with a working from home environment, help disabilities and help make people’s mental health better, whilst doing this we still create a stylish looking space that fits the design of the room.
Lighting enables us to create different colour temperatures which allow us to add a daylight effect into your home or a warm orangey candle lit glow depending on what you are wanting to achieve. Lighting is one of the most important parts to any design of a home, renovation or new build, people spend a lot of money making their home look nice and if it is lit poorly it will not highlight anything you have put your hard earned money or time into doing.
I could talk about lighting forever but we have all of this month to talk about different lighting techniques so I will leave it there for a moment. Thank you for reading.
Residential Manager & Lighting Designer