Lighting a home can just mean the flicking of a switch or if we’re feeling adventurous, the purchase of a colour co-ordinated lamp or too.
But if you listen to the experts, we are missing out on a real opportunity to create not only an ambience which turns a room into a haven, but also on making the most of a practical tool which helps with the functionality of spaces like kitchens and bathrooms. Speaking to Steve Bloom from Cardiff ’s Space Fitting Furniture, lighting has become an art form in itself. “You can pretty much do anything with lighting nowadays. It can actually become quite complicated with any colour and brightness available to create the right mood in a room. The control systems are highly advanced now too enabling us to be the master of the level of lighting to suit different spaces.”
According to Steve, colour is key and that even means choosing the right ‘white’ to complement a particular room in your house. He said: “For instance, in a kitchen you might choose to have a very white white while in other rooms, there are softer white options where filters create a different feel. It’s not just about buying a white bulb anymore.”
A room that requires special attention in Steve’s view is the kitchen because it’s the heart of the home for many families. “The right lighting completes a room. If you consider your kitchen, you need to think about what you use the room for. Is it just for cooking? Is it for cooking and feeding the family? Is it for cooking, feeding the family and entertaining or is it for all of those things and living in too? For some families, it’s where the kids do their homework or there’ll be a TV in the room too for people to relax around. All these elements should be thought through when choosing your lighting in order for the room to work on all these levels.”
Steve believes that recently, there has been a trend to over-light rooms, particularly kitchens because of the abundance of cheap lighting available at the major retailers. “LEDs have become so overused just because they are so available but sometimes less is more.” “To offset the temptation to fit every nook and cranny in a kitchen with a strip of LEDs, look at lighting as part of the design of a room and not as a bolt-on once everything else has been thought through.”
Let there be light -
and give your home a
says Paula Abbandonato
Guidance from experts is key in order to create a lighting system that highlights the unique characteristics of a home, allows for natural light
through windows or glass walls, and takes into account functional areas.
Steve added: “It can cost as much money getting gighting wrong as getting it right. Done properly, good lighting will transform a room –but in a subtle way. If someone walks in to your kitchen and says ‘WOW! Look at your lights!’ That probably means you’ve got it wrong.” On the other hand, living spaces are an opportunity for the right lights to go way beyond their functional use and actually double as an eye-catching piece of furniture and design.
This is the view of Liz Mynett of Natuzzi, in Cardiff Bay, who says that in her own lounge she rarely uses the main light at home anymore.
‘In living spaces it’s all about accent lighting with the right floor lamps, standard lamps, table lamps and pendant lights – combined together they soften a room and highlight key features.
“An aesthetically beautiful standard lamp or eye-catching pendant is a piece of furniture in its own right. Chosen to complement other pieces in the room and placed in the right space they can be real talking points.”
Popular choices at Natuzzi currently include Jump - a tilting and adjustable floor lamp with a unique design. The structure of the floor lamp is painted carbon fibre with an opaque finish and a black lampshade on top. These features make the floor lamp refined and chic. The light source is also dimmable, since it has a regulation system which allows the quantity of light emitted to be adapted to your lighting requirements. This lamp won the "Lights of the Future" award. For those going for a more contemporary or industrial look in the lounge a good choice according to Liz is the Elsa lamp which embodies simplicity and elegance with its memory design and evergreen style.
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German Tube Light - Homes of
Fatboy - Momentum
Fatboy - Momentum
B&B Italia - Momentum
Pogini Wall Light - Homes of Elegance
Subtle kitchen lighting - Space Fitting
Conceived as a reading lamp, it adapts to different lighting needs by adjusting the angle of the support structure and the lampshade itself. Its clean and essential lines make it a perfect complement for furniture of all kinds.
Liz believes there is no rule of thumb with lighting and that it’s ok to take risks, be adventurous and combine the old with the new. “It’s all about having confidence in your choices.”
The same attention should be given to lighting in the bedroom according to Steve Davies, owner of Homes of Elegance in Abergavenny.
He said: “Once again, it’s all about mood. It’s likely you’ll want your lamps on, but giving off a gentler light rather than a full glare. The best shortcut is a dimmer – which is independent of the lamp itself – and can be plugged directly in to the socket. It means that the light from even the most basic lamps can be modified to create a specific mood.”
While the bedroom is predominantly for relaxing, Steve explains that some areas of the room need special lighting attention. He added: “Dressing tables – where ladies do their make-up and hair – can require bespoke lighting but if your walls aren’t wired for wall lights or lit mirrors it can be an untidy business with leads hanging everywhere. A good alternative is the sort of wall light that can be neatly plugged in around any space. They are a really popular choice here in the showroom.”
Steve warns against a big pendant light in the bedroom as ceilings can often feel lower in this part of the home. He said: “If you want a statement light in the bedroom, be careful with your measurements. Sometimes the drop of a chandelier, for instance, can be too low to work in an average sized bedroom.” Rhiain, at Momentum, on Charles Street in Cardiff, agrees that lighting is an integral part of any interior and can make or break a scheme. In her opinion, some of the most dramatic lighting options with a design edge can be found from Italian manufacturer Foscarini; while the more classic designer lights from Louis Poulsen and the new fun lights at Fatboy are options for fun and vibrant lamps and pendant lights. For a more sophisticated, subtle architectural look, the lighting from Flos is technical and elegant, where
lighting becomes more of an architectural detail. The most important thing to consider is that lights are of a good quality and give the output and lighting that you need.
Rhiain is also at pains to point out that atmosphere is not solely dependent on lighting, particularly when it comes to lightening the mood of older properties. “The popularity of contemporary furniture in traditional spaces is increasing, having seen many grand old houses with key contemporary pieces. You have to be bold to make it work. Design classics are a great way to introduce contemporary furniture into a
traditional space. The well-known Eames Designs are often featured as they bring a classic contemporary look, alternatively for a more sophisticated look B&B Italia, or Flexform will give you key Luxe pieces.”
Rhiain also points out that the inside/outside theme is popular this season, as we head into summer. She said: “We're seeing a lot of earthy and green tones as well as tropical designs on feature pieces and on walls and a big emphasis on natural wooden furniture.”
Space Fitting Furniture
4 Colchester Ave,
Cardiff CF23 9XE
Tel. 029 2045 5778
Homes of Elegance
7 Mill St, Abergavenny
Tel. 01873 854173
Havannah St, Cardiff, CF10 5SF
Tel. 029 2048 8698
31 Charles St, Cardiff CF10 2GA
Tel. 029 2023 6266
“You can pretty much do anything
Clockwise from top left:
Elsa - Natuzzi
Jump - Natuzzi
Wisdom - Natuzzi
B&B Italia - Momentum
B&B Italia - Momentum