Not in the Biblical sense mind you, no, just in the home decoration and design sense thank you.
I’ve always struggled to get lighting right. This is for several reasons I think. First off, I have never given it the budget that it deserves. I’ve just wanted something other than a white flex finished with a functional bulb hanging in the centre of the room, but the more I look, the more projects that I work on, and the more I plan, the more I put lighting right at the centre of a room design, and not just literally.
Lighting sets a mood. Be it candlelight, sunrise, sunset, or the feeling over gloom when it’s overcast and dull outside, it’s incredibly important to get the lighting right. From this aspect, it’s key to chat to your electrician. You can future proof with all singing and all dancing control boards (voice activated in some cases, though that not only gets expensive, it all gets a bit Total Recall if you ask me), but always, always think about things like dimmer switches, and low level lighting round kickboards, or that triggers when you go into a bathroom so that you don’t stub a toe.
But I’m less interested with the boring-but-important-first-fix side of things (sorry, but it’s true), and I want to get straight to the lighting finishes, which is the rabbit hole into which I have fallen today.
Starting with the kitchen….
I bow down to the superior function of downlights for kitchen and utility areas, but I fundamentally disagree with them really appearing anywhere else (except the bathroom, I will give you the bathroom). However, just because you have enough light provided by these practical speheres laid out on a grid (always lay them out on a grid, and make sure that grid is centred), you should definitely think about adding interest to a scheme with further ceiling lights. Pendants over a breakfast bar or a dining table are brilliant ways to not only add interest but to also vary the sight line, but should you have the luxury of a seating area as well, dare I say with room for a coffee or occasion table, definitely think about something low hung over that. It lowers the ceiling, makes the space feel more intimate, and means that you can isolate the area should you retire to the sofa for a drink (or game of scrabble, it’s been a while since I’ve done that, but it’s the sort of thing I think I should be doing).
The design that I am currently working on has a huge kitchen diner, with a step down from the kitchen to the main eating and seating area. Unfortunately, the ceiling height in the kitchen doesn’t provide enough room for statement drops, and since the hob will be in the Island, to mount anything too low would mean the view to the garden was interupted by a light. But I found a solution. Albeit quite a pricey one.
The C1 design by Gant Lights (a German company, stocked in the UK Naken.co.uk) is a sleek and contemporary design perfect for over an Island. It’s available in lots of finishes, with concrete, wood and metallics. You can even build your own (which is what I’ve done below). It’s only 8cm deep, but 122cm long and it’s my new favourite thing. That costs €849. The exchange rate isn’t good at the moment, so it is what it is. Utterly gorgeous and worth going Ikea on the cabinets for. Spend your budget on an amazing light, and the whole kitchen will be elevated. I promise.
Should you however, not want to sell a kidney or eBay the children in order to pay for an over-counter lighting then below is a more accessibly priced option or two (but this one is definitely going on the wish list for the current kitchen I am designing).
Spartan 1 light from Wayfair £43.99 each, but group together for a stronger impact.
But what about the dining area? If you’re lucky enough to have a large table out, you can really add intimacy by putting in a dimmable light, and dropping it to head height. If you’ve got a round table then definitely opt for one central light. I love a half-sphere as it echoes the table shape, and you can go very big even for a table that only seats four.
This is the Cannes Pendant by Romi, available in the UK at naken.co.uk in small (£115) and large (£180)/
Also hot into the shops is this amazing light from Dutch Bone, the Jim Pendant. No price at the moment as I can only find it on the brand website (no good for blogging about but let’s just pretend it’s 50p)
Glass shades are also always popular over both breakfast bars and dining tables, and yes, they look great as this picture below shows. But (and this won’t come as any great surprise to anyone that knows me), they need cleaning. Regularly. They collect dust, and, unless you’re willing to get them down and soak them regularly, I would steer clear. That’s just me. I am the anti-tidier and anti-cleaner. Should you like cleaning then go for it.*
*I tried to warn you.
And finally. That seating area. One of my life goals has been to have a kitchen big enough to fit a proper sofa in without it feeling as though it’s in the way. It’s a niche goal, I grant you, but in an age of open plan living, and ‘zoned’ living, a sofa in the kitchen is – I believe – a legitimate life goal. In my head, that sideboard is a sofa, to the right is a log burner, and under those lights is a coffee table. And it’s in the corner of a kitchen/diner/family room. Lighting suggestions below (including a floor based one! Just to mix things up of course…)
My current favourite use of paper, this pendant light from Rough Hands
Evie Floor lamp from John Lewis (£240)
And last, but by no means least (but probably the most niche not to mention £495 from Graham & Green – check out some ‘homages’ on etsy for something a little less pricey)