Clever lighting for neglected non-rooms

You have probably thought long and hard about lighting in the main rooms of your house, particularly your living room, kitchen and bedrooms; however, there are lots of spaces in the home that are not separate rooms but still require specific lighting. By including thoughtfully-chosen fittings, you can transform these often-neglected areas into useable and appealing spaces.

In many ways, your hallway is one of the most important spaces in your home. It is the first part of the interior that visitors see, and how it is decorated gives them a unique insight into your taste and personality. Many hallways tend to be quite dark, as there is often not very much natural light in this space; in addition, they are usually long, narrow areas, meaning that lighting them well is a priority.

You will need a good amount of functional lighting to illuminate this tricky space. Tracks of spotlights can be a good idea, as these can be angled to reach into any dark crevices; however, you will also want to create a strong decorative impression and a dramatic light fitting can greatly enhance the appeal of this space. If you have very high ceilings, take advantage with a bold chandelier; alternatively, opt for a light fitting that sits flush to the ceiling when headroom is at a premium. Add a cosy touch with a table lamp on a small bureau.

The lighting on your stairs needs to allow you to safely go up and down. Fixtures at the top and bottom can be in any style, but you may want to consider opting for bulbs that are brighter than in other rooms. For an ultra-modern touch, you may even want to include LED lights inset into each stair. Wall lights at intervals up the staircase look very attractive and add extra useful illumination.

Your upstairs landing is one of those spaces that you probably rarely think about. It probably is not seen that often by guests and may simply be an area you walk through on the way to the bedrooms, study, bathroom or airing cupboard; however, this is the perfect place to experiment with a bold light fitting. The decor here is usually quite neutral, especially if there is very little natural light, so add a vibrant touch with a colourful shade or eye-catching ceiling fixture.

The hall, stairs and landing may not be individual rooms, but this doesn’t mean they can’t look good. Use a combination of effective task lighting and attractive decorative lighting to create a welcoming and appealing ambience.

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Divine ideas for desk lighting

Whether you use a desk as part of your home office or simply to indulge in a favourite hobby, it is essential that the correct lighting is employed. This is not only to ensure that you can easily see what you are doing but also to make sure you are not subjecting your eyes to undue strain. Correctly choosing and positioning a desk lamp will greatly enhance the time spent at your desk.

Desk lamps need to provide enough task lighting so that you can clearly write, use your computer or carry out whatever jobs you need to. Adjustable lamps are ideal, as the beam can be directed exactly where you need it. These vary from traditional anglepoise lamps to the latest contemporary designs featuring fully-flexible stands.

The bulb you use needs to be bright enough to illuminates effectively but not so harsh that it creates excessive glare. It is also worth remembering that a desk lamp should not be the sole source of illumination, as the contrast between a dark room and a single low-standing bright bulb can strain the eyes. Use a desk lamp in conjunction with other ambient lighting, such as an overhead pendant.

If you do not have a designated office or study, you can use lighting to create a workspace in any small unused areas. A corner of the dining room or even the space under the stairs can be converted into a cosy nook in which you can work or your children can do their homework; in fact, these can be ideal for children, as you can keep an eye on them and in turn they will not feel too isolated. Whilst these spaces may not have the option of overhead lighting, they are likely to have a plug socket; therefore, a desk lamp can be a simple solution.

The positioning of your desk lamp is also key. You will obviously need to be near to a socket and it is sensible to ensure that the power cable is safely stowed away to minimise the risk of tripping. Your work space should ideally take advantage of any natural light, but equally you should ensure that the angle of the light does not cast shadows that obscure the surface or create unwelcome glare. A lamp that clips onto the side of the desk can be a fun option and one that is easy to reposition should the need arise.

An adjustable desk lamp is a valuable addition to your home office or study, enabling you to work in comfort.

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Add vibrancy with coloured glass light fittings

Fabric may a traditional choice but if you want to make a bold design statement, how about using coloured glass for your lightshades? It works brilliantly to create an eye-catching jewel effect and can perfectly complement any decor. From traditional to contemporary, neutral simplicity or richly-decorated eclectic, any interior design can be enhanced with the use of coloured glass.

The process of colouring glass has been around for thousands of years and works by treating the molten glass with metallic compounds. In more recent years, a similar effect has been created with plastic or resin or simply by applying paint to clear glass; however, using coloured glass gives your light fitting the most clarity.

Coloured glass first became a notable feature of light fittings with the advent of the art nouveau movement. The most famous example of this is the globally-renowned Tiffany lamp. Art nouveau utilised lots of motifs inspired by nature, such as butterflies, birds, flowers and dragonflies. These were incorporated into intricate stained glass pieces by designers such as Clara Driscoll to create the iconic pieces we still know and love today. Tiffany lampshades are perfect for central pendants and table lamps; in addition, they make excellent wall lights. They are the ideal means by which you can use coloured glass in a sophisticated, elegant and classic way.

You can also use coloured glass to great effect in a contemporary interior. To maximise the impact of the colour, it can be a good idea to keep the shape of the shade relatively simply. Globes, teardrops, cones or even over-sized traditional bulb shapes all lend themselves particularly well to this. Colour can also be used in a variety of ways. Keep it simple with just one colour tone or group together several light fittings in complementary tones of the same shade. Alternatively, let your creativity run free with a rainbow of different hues for a bohemian feel. Paler tints will allow more light to be diffused, whilst darker tones will have a more colourful effect.

The interior of the glass shade is also a consideration. If the exterior is coloured but the interior coated with white paint or resin, more light will be reflected downwards; however, not using a coating on the inside of the fixture will allow the light to be diffused through the coloured glass, letting the pigment shine more brightly.

Whether you want your light fitting to complement a classic interior or add a dramatic note to contemporary decor, coloured glass is a stunning way to make a style statement.

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Perfect lighting for blissful bathrooms

There can be few things nicer than relaxing with a warm bath or shower at the end of a long day, especially when the weather is cold, dark and damp. Making your bathroom into an oasis of calm will leave you feeling refreshed and rejuvenated, which is exactly what we all need at this time of year.

The right bathroom lighting will be hugely beneficial in helping you to create this soothing atmosphere.
An overhead light is a common option in bathrooms and this will provide much of the key illumination for the room; however, the glare of an exposed bulb can be too bright if you would like to create a relaxing ambience. Opt instead for a frosted glass fitting, which are available in a range of styles to suit all types of decor and provide a softer, more diffuse glow.

If you have a suitable-sized bathroom and you want to add a luxurious touch, you might decide to fit a chandelier. These glamorous light fittings are the last word in decadent bathing; however, remember that bathroom lighting must conform to strict safety standards. Only use lights specifically designed for bathrooms and make sure you follow the guidelines regarding the safe zones and the relevant IP ratings. Exposed bulbs near a bath or shower are definitely not a good idea; instead, an enclosed fitting should be used.

You will need some task lighting in the bathroom to help with jobs such as shaving, styling your hair or putting on makeup; however, placing your lighting overhead is not the best way to achieve this, as it will cast shadows in the wrong places. A better option is to install a mirror or mirrored bathroom cabinet with integral lighting. Bulbs placed along either side will give you the best amount of light without casting shadows that obscure your reflection, while using these near a mirrored surface will help to reflect more ambient light around the room. You can also use spotlights in the bathroom to great effect, with tracks or clusters of directional spots angled to give you illumination exactly where you need it.

You can also use lighting in different ways to create atmosphere. The bathroom is the perfect place to experiment with coloured bulbs, such as cool blues for a soothing ambience. Another option is to fit a dimmer switch to your lights; in this way, you can have bright illumination when you need it but can also turn them right down if you want to simply relax in low-level lighting as you bathe for total bathroom bliss.

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Switched-on switches

The lighting switches we use in our homes can all too often be something of an after-thought; however, as they are a feature in every room and are usually situated quite prominently on the wall, it is a good idea to choose light switches that look great.

Clean and contemporary

If you want to give your home a modern look, opt for sleek switches in metals such as brushed steel or chrome. These could feature elaborate and intricate designs or simply be smooth and stylish. For the ultimate in contemporary decor, opt for switches that fit flush to the wall. These are not mounted directly onto the surface; instead, they are slightly inlaid into the wall, giving a glossy state-of-the-art finish to this most humble accessory. You can even fit switches that are mounted with no visible screws to further enhance their appearance.

The contemporary features of these switches are not limited to their design. Many modern switches have high levels of functionality to enhance their use. Fit dimmer switches to your home to allow you to create a range of levels of illumination, perfect if you use a particular space for a variety of purposes. You could even opt for switches that are motion-activated or operate on a timer.

Ornate opulence

At the other end of the design spectrum, lavish light switches can become an integral part of a traditionally-styled decor. These look fabulous with a brass or antique gold finish, especially if the plates have scrolled or scalloped edges. Art deco interiors are complemented by toggle-operated switches, which not only look great but are effortless to use for those who find traditional switches too awkward. For a really retro feel, Bakelite switches mounted on a wooden plate add plenty of charm. These switches are all designed to be decorative features, adding sumptuous interest to your home’s interior and fitting seamlessly with the type of lighting scheme you have chosen.

If you are still hanging on to your old-school light switches in white plastic mounts, be aware that these can look incredibly dated; in addition, the plastic can become discoloured over time due to exposure to light or smoke, leaving them an unattractive yellow shade. Luckily, it is quite easy to swap them for something much more appealing – just remember to switch off the power before you unscrew the facings.

With just a few simple changes, you can ensure your light switches become a stylish part of your decor.

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