As the dark nights loom closer and the clocks fall back on 30th October, it's nearly that time of year when the only daylight you see is fleeting. So making sure that your home has the perfect mix of lighting for all times of the day is more important than ever.
We can learn a lot about lighting from the Scandinavians. They endure extremely long and cold winters, with days that have as little as 6 hours of sunlight. This means having the perfect lighting and religiously practicing the art of 'Hygge' are very important to the Scandi folk. But we have to say, they've practically mastered the art of lighting, so where better to learn from than the best? Read our top lighting tips on how to transcend the transient daylight of the winter months.
Layer Your Lighting
The first step to creating the perfect home lighting is to make sure you have layers of lighting in each room. A lot of us who don't have interior design experience tend to think that a big central light will do the trick in most rooms. However, there are three levels of lighting you should aim to have in every room to ensure that there's a light for every occasion;
First off you should always have an ambient light - usually at the centre of your room in the form of a chandelier, ceiling or pendant light. When lit, this light illuminates the whole room and casts shadows off of all the furniture. Ambient lighting is perfect for when you're watching tv, tidying or have guests over.
This is the real atmosphere builder in a home. Mood lighting can be used to add depth, charm and a personality to a room. Use it to highlight certain pictures hanging on the wall or pick out pieces of furniture you want to draw attention to. Mood lighting comes in the form of carefully placed pendants or wall lights and although it doesn't serve a very practical purpose it is the icing on the cake when it comes to the perfect lighting ambience.
Task lighting is achieved through well positioned table, floor and even pendant lights. Standing or hanging patiently next to your lounge chair or sofa, a task light is perfect for reading, writing or whatever task is on hand. Task lighting can also be used instead of ambient lighting as a few well lit table and floor lamps will create a lovely warm glow in your home.
There are other methods to layering your lighting like Top / Middle / Bottom which ensures you have light at each level in your room. The great thing about layering your lighting is that mixing and matching is fun. You can mix different styles (modern with mid-century) with different colours (vibrant and neutral) to create character in your home. But if you want to play it safe, many leading brands and designers offer the same designs in different formats for interior continuity. For example the Louis Poulsen AJ family pictured in the above images is available as a pendant, wall, table and floor lamp.
Don't Diss The Dimmer
One thing you definitely shouldn't overlook when purchasing your light fittings is the importance of a dimmer. Not only do dimmers control the level of light needed for any given situation - a low light for reading or a medium light for tv watching - they also reduce the amount of energy the light is using, helping you save on your energy bills in the long run. You may also find that some bulbs are way too bright in the first place, making a dimmer very important when lighting your home for an occasion - you can't have a quaint dinner party when your dining room is lit up like the Blackpool Tower!
Don't have dimmers in your home? Making the move from switches to dimmers is easy for an electrician and relatively inexpensive considering the possible energy savings you'll make! Lots of designer lighting fixtures are available with dimmers already built in so you don't have to do the hard work.
Another thing the Scandinavians are crazy for are candles. They're central to everything Hygge and it's probably safe to say you will never enter a Scandi-style home without an abundance of candles. The wonderful thing about candles is that they are multi-purpose - simultaneously creating a lovely flickering glow in your hallway whilst filling your home with wonderful aromatic scents. And you even get to choose your favourite scents too!
Some of our favourite scented candles brands at the moment are Meraki, True Grace & Paddywax. The below image is a perfect example of how the Scandinavians use LOTS of candles to create a soft and warm glow in the home.
Light up your home and your interior with some statement lighting. Lighting doesn't just have to serve its one purpose of shedding light in our homes, it can also act as a sculpture of piece of art. Although these pieces of design often come at a higher price than standard lighting fixtures, they're definitely worth considering if you're looking for a piece of contemporary design as well as a lighting fixture.
We've rounded up some of the weirdest and wackiest designs available at Utility from the world of lighting...
So that's our round up of lighting tips to get you through those long dark nights this winter. You can find a wide selection of contemporary and modern lighting designs at Utility design today.