‘Good lighting draws attention to what it is lighting, not the lighting itself’
(Nick Merchant, founder of Home Lighting and Design Studio)
Lighting design is crucial for any home and an important interior design tool. It plays a pivotal part especially when you are taking on a renovation project from scratch. This is because lighting design is fundamentally important in making your interior work, creating the right ambience and making your home comfortable.
If you are renovating your home and you have to do wiring for the first time, it goes hand in hand with the interior design and it is so worth getting it right!
The Importance of the Layout and Lighting in a Renovation Project
When you are designing your new home it’s important to think about the layout of the rooms and what you will be doing where. Where do you want music? Where will you be working? This will dictate what lighting you need and where your plug sockets and light switches are going.
It’s important to think about the placement of furniture such as desks, beds, tables and interior accessories within each room because all of them are linked to your lighting. In an ideal world this lighting planning process should be done before you start building, but the reality is that we worked on it as the build began but luckily well before plasterboard stage.
Top Tip – some walls you can get your electrician to run extra wiring in. This allows for changes at a later date as you can cut into a plasterboard wall and find the additional wiring so that something can be moved or situated in a different place. We have done this in the little ladies’ bedrooms as I wasn’t sure where I wanted everything to go. It would be better to know your layout first but this isn’t always possible.
Why Should You Work With a Lighting Designer?
Due to the size of our property we decided to work with a lighting designer. We felt it was really important to work alongside someone who really understands spaces and how lighting works within these spaces. We worked with Nick Merchent from Home Lighting Design Studios.
My brief to Nick was to create an organic, warm and welcoming scheme to compliment the natural materials of the interior and design style of my instagram account. Nick and I walked through each space together and we discussed how I imagined each space would look, what I imagined doing in each room and what it would be used for.
To achieve this Nick focussed on ambient lighting and we planned for overhead lighting, wall lights and 5 amp ones attached to the kitchen shelves etc. Nick said ‘I avoided evenly spaced lights and chose a more asymmetrical effect, balancing out the light levels with decorative fittings rather than relying on spotlights’.
It was definitely a massive help to have someone who knew a lot about lighting. Nick was really great to work with and was so communicative. We couldn’t always be onsite but we had a Whatsapp group with Nick so he could update us and keep us informed. You can see from the lighting plans below just how complex lighting design is.
I was shocked by how much work lighting design entails. There is a lot involved and Nick had so much expertise in this area, this is what you are paying for when you hire a lighting designer.
Give Purpose to Each Element of Lighting
This is something the lighting plans really taught me. It’s really important to think about what it is you are lighting and the light placement. We need to move away from just putting lights in the middle of rooms. All this does is cast light down and illuminate whatever happens to be in the middle of the floor.
Make each light purposeful and be clear about what piece of furniture or element of the room you want to bring to life with the lighting. You can also use different lighting to create different moods and emotions. Opting for bright lighting in a room can help to invigorate and invoke positive feelings, whereas natural light can help lower mental stresses and have a more calming effect.
Although we have taken inspiration from the Scandinavians as we have floor to ceiling windows in our house, to let in lots of natural light, we still heavily rely on artificial lighting throughout the home.
Choosing light fittings is the part I have found the most difficult, you need to think about the direction the light travels in and the shadows open weaved lights or exposed bulbs cast around the space. Usually the lighting designer will suggest light fittings for you, but as I love interior design I wanted to pick my own.
Examples of Different Lighting Around My Home
I still have over 47 lights to buy for our home, but here are some examples of what I have chosen so far. I like tactile earthy lighting and love the Devol kitchen pendant I have. It provides a sensory experience and the ceramic is high quality, handcrafted and very beautiful. It provides the right amount of artificial light for us in the kitchen and fits in well with the decor scheme.
I enjoy using different textures across all elements of my home interiors and lighting is no exception. In the bedroom we have a rattan shade which lets out the light at different angles and provides interest to the room.
It’s important to have more than one source of light in each room. Think about layering your light fittings in terms of ambient, statement and task lighting. By layering light fittings like this you will create a cosy environment that is also functional.
I’m still on my lighting design journey, and the latest addition is going to be the statement light above our dining table. This particular light is going to be quite big, but statement lighting doesn’t have to mean oversized. It just needs to have an impact in the room whether the light is on or off. Below are some moodboards for lighting ideas for the rest of the kitchen and children’s bedrooms.
The kids bedroom is all about creating a cosy feeling through the lighting and textures – linen, fringing and velvet making everything really tactile. The kitchen lighting is more design led with cooler textures like glass, ceramic and steel.
As you can tell I am very passionate about lighting design, I think it is such an important part of your home and you can really have fun with it. It’s been a long process for us that still isn’t complete but we have learnt a lot along the way. I hope this blog is useful if you are starting to plan your own lighting design for your home renovation.
If you want to know more about my home renovation progress, see my previous home renovation blog