Your home looks perfect; you have functional furniture and beautiful decoration. However, something still seems off? It’s time to have a look at your lighting scheme. We bring some brilliant ideas and solutions.
Lighting is often considered one of the least important accessories in a home. But giving more thought to this seemingly minor décor aspect proves that there’s much more to it. And with Ramadan already at our doorstep, it might be the perfect time to rethink this particular aspect of your home. We spoke to Paul Nulty, founder of Nulty, Nulty Bespoke and Studio N, and Shayma Alkooheji of Shayma Alkooheji Interiors, to give you the best guide to this task.
The Importance of Light
“Light brings so much more than functional illumination to a home,” says Paul. “It creates ambience and influences mood. It’s also an expression of a person’s style and character. Think about how much drama and influence light has within a theatre – it’s all about hierarchy because your eyes are drawn to what the designer wants you to see. The same is true of how you use light within an interior scheme, so consider what you want to highlight.”
Shayma similarly recommends paying some attention to this home accessory. “Lighting is one of the most important elements in interior design. Unfortunately, professionals and homeowners give it the least priority. For us, lighting planning comes directly after the floor planning. That is how significant it is and should be.”
Strike a Balance
When it comes to the key elements of lighting a room, Paul suggests thinking about the function of the space: “It’s surprising how often lighting isn’t thought out properly, and you see a simple grid of downlights placed indiscriminately across the ceiling. As a general rule of thumb, use downlights sparingly and think about the elements in the room that you want to illuminate. Is there a wall where the artwork will be hung? Or scope to incorporate a statement pendant? The golden rule is to use different layers of light to achieve the perfect balance.”
Shayma recommends using all three different types of lighting to achieve this balance, namely general, task, and accent lighting: “When it comes to general lighting, we want to make sure there is an overall distribution of light. Task lighting should be used to illuminate certain areas we use for reading and working. And accent light is used to add ambiance to a space.”
balance the layers of light and create contrast between higher and lower light levels. This level of finesse makes all the difference – it brings richness to the scheme and enhances the environment for everyone that uses it,” says Paul.
Hence, experimenting with these three types of lighting to achieve the balance you need for each room will yield the ultimate path to light your home just the way you envision it.
White or Yellow
There are no definite rules when it comes to this neverending qualm,” mentions Paul. It all depends on the mood you are trying to achieve.
“If you’re lighting a living room and looking to create a cosy atmosphere, then use low-level warm lighting. If that same area is used for functional tasks such as home working or reading during the day, then cool light is more effective,” stresses Paul. “It’s also important to consider the colours and finishes on the walls, ceiling or floor. Remember that you perceive space through the reflected light of these surfaces, so enhance bronze, wood or gold finishes with warm lighting, and blue, green or silver finishes with cooler lighting.”
Paul recommends using focused and task lighting in the bathroom: “The key to bathroom lighting is considered vertical illumination – you don’t need as much light as you think. Avoid shadows by using focused lighting rather than a line of downlights within the ceiling. This means integrated lighting within cabinetry, illuminating beautiful materials and using task lighting around the main basin area.” Shayma also suggests dim wall lights and one single task light above the sink to keep things simple and avoid those shadows coming down on your face while making sure they are not so bright that you don’t feel relaxed.
Halls, Stairs and Doorways
On the face of it, these areas seem quite insignificant in terms of the layout of a home. But Paul argues that they “set the tone for the rest of the property”. He recommends using a mix of contemporary minimalist low-level lighting as well as traditional wall lights to induce a decorative aesthetic. “Often, the key to lighting these areas is drama, so a combination of the two works well as it enables you to use layers of light to highlight key features and add subtle touches of theatre such as uplights or lighting around artworks.”
For this celebrated and Holy Month, both Paul and Shayma recommend using lanterns. “They are perfect for adding ambience and can be easily moved around should you wish to experiment with your scheme,” affirms Paul. Shayma advises buying lanterns in several sizes and using them indoors and out to capture that special Ramadan and Eid spirit.
Final Tips and Unfavourable Slips
When it comes to things to avert, Paul says that one key thing to be mindful of is avoiding glare such as reflections or unwanted secondary views of light sources within windows and on polished surfaces. He urges folks to find the correct balance between novelty and practicality. “Don’t be fooled into thinking an overly complicated product or solution goes hand in hand with convenience – it’s far more important to design a scheme that is welcoming, practical and well-considered,” he finalises.