ivory shaker style kitchen with green-blue island


Lighting in interior design is often overlooked. Poor lighting can really affect how we feel in a space so it pays to get it right in each room. I’m looking at lighting in a home but restaurants/bars often have harsh lighting which makes it difficult to relax. Really, the same rules apply in any space.

Good lighting in a room needs to be suited to your activity but flexible within the space. If I use the kitchen as an example, activities include prepping & cooking, eating & relaxing and passing through.

For prepping & cooking, we need bright, clear lighting directed over a given space i.e. hob or worksurface. When we are eating & relaxing, softer light helps us to unwind and want to linger. Diffused shades and warmer or filament bulbs work well. I often advise adding in some ambient lights which can be left on at a low-level for passing through the space on darker days or in the evening. Wall lights or a floor/table lamp are great for this.

Position of lighting is key. Directional ‘task’ lighting suits prepping, working or reading. I often use pendant lighting over an island or dining table to create zones and atmosphere. I would also include ambient lighting, table or floor lamps to give softer lighting and add personality to a space.

We can use these considerations whatever the space. A lighting scheme in an office will require mostly task lighting, a lounge more ambient lighting. A hallway will need low-level lighting for passing through but might also require additional lighting in areas with little natural light. As for being flexible, this means enabling different layers of lighting for when they are required. Spotlights, pendants and table/floor lamps are best all on separate circuits (operated by their own switches). Dimmer functionality means you can also adjust the lighting to how you are using the room, the weather and even your mood.

These photos from a recent kitchen project highlight the above. We carefully incorporated spots, pendants, wall lights and a floor lamp to ensure the lighting would be just right at any given time.