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Top 10 Tips for Lighting Your Home

Harriet Stallibrass in How to Guides — 15.04.2019

Why limit yourself to a single dimmer switch when you can be surrounded with warmth? Good lighting is imperative to creating an ambience, a cove of cosiness and a feeling of intimacy. It makes or breaks the look of a space and the mood of a room.

So, with the launch of our new lighting collection, we asked our founder Martin Waller and the Andrew Martin design team to give their top 10 tips on how to effectively light your home.

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1. Natural Light

'You don't light for the light you light for the shadows.' Lighting a home is as much about controlling natural light as using electrical lighting. This is what the ancient Egyptians, the druids of Stone Henge and the Mayans building temples in Central America did centuries ago and it still rings true.

With light you can create drama, illusion and art. Pare back your scheme to see what you can illuminate naturally first before layering with additonal floor, ceiling and side lights.

2. Lighting for Function

Think about the function of each area and use lighting to create different zones in a room. For example, cooking requires more concentrated lighting so bright downlights, whether built in to cabinets or design-led pendants, work well. For reading, adjustable and directional lighting like a desk lamp or a large spot floor standing over an armchair is what you should look for.

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3. Lighting in Layers

Layer lighting and use multiple light sources to make a room flexible and versatile. Create a conversation, using different heights with side lamps as well as floor standing and ceiling lights too. Opt for dramatic pendants as your main source of light and pair with statement table lamps to create an atmospheric mood. This is where you create character as well as feeling and the amount of light can be adjusted for different times of the day or year.

Photo: Denton House from the Andrew Martin Interior Design Review Vol 22

4. Lighting Direction

Change the size and dimensions of your room by playing with lighting direction. For example install uplighters to add height and side lamps in the four corners to add depth.

Photo: Kari Andersen from the Andrew Martin Interior Design Review Vol 22

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5. Lighting as Art

Choose bold designs featuring sculptural shapes, interesting texture or coloured glass to make a style statement, even when the light is switched off. Think of your lamp as an art piece or sculpture, like a design-led finishing touch. Our Linden table lamp in plaster white or black fits this brief perfectly.

A light is a good way to throw surprise in a room, to merge modern with traditional. Putting an industrial style lamp or a graphic mid-century form in a traditional stucco setting injects excitement, equally an Art Deco chandelier in a stark, modern plan. The Royal Opera House bar is a great example of using lighting to bring a traditional interior up to date. If you go in the evening, the central bar glows like an ethereal space ship under the magnificent domed glass ceiling.

6. Symmetry in Lighting

Create symmetry (or conscious asymmetry) with lighting, using pairs of table lamps on either side of a bed or wall lights on either side of a statement mirror or piece of art.

Photo: Sophie Ashby from the Andrew Martin Interior Review Book Vol 22

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7. Create a Focal Point

Create a focal point with a chandelier or large pendant like our new Diva design. Hang it, for example, over the centre of a dining table to draw people into an inviting dining scene.

8. Lighting to Highlight

Wall lights and spot lights work well to accent or highlight interesting features in the room, such as art or artefacts. Oterkjaer (pictured) does this phenomenally, making an otherwise uninspiring black painting dramatic and exciting. Our new display lamp, Estelle, also works well to shine a spotlight on a favourite book. Leave the book open at beautiful picture or passage you particularly like.

Photo: Geir Oterkjaer from the Andrew Martin Interior Design Review Vol 22

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9. Neon Lighting

Popularised by Tracey Emin, neon lighting is in high demand and has been named the hottest trend of 2019. Luckily we have a whole range of light up neon posterboards to add some high voltage wit and rebellion to your walls. Our 50s, 60s and 70s designs will add a large dollop of nostagia too.

10. Lighting and Technology

Today, lighting is a technology we can play with, from using fibreoptics to bend with a space, scrolling LEDs and projection. Think about the surfaces you are lighting and try reflecting or faceting to create a kaleidoscopic effect. Especially for commercial spaces, this is where you'll make an innovative interior that is unique and electrifying.

Photo: Soda Architects from the Andrew Martin Interior Design Review Vol.21

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