There aren’t many good things about the nights drawing in as autumn arrives, but one of them is that the focus turns to lighting – be it to add a warm glow around the home or to shine the spotlight on outdoor security.
Lighting can be a very beautiful thing indeed, giving rooms a whole new dimension. Getting it right however, can be tricky mind you – too bright and your home can feel like an operating theatre, too subtle and it can make a room feel gloomy. It’s the light fittings themselves that many of us get excited about – and the choice is huge this season.
The trend for geometrics is currently very strong in interiors as a whole and the spectacular Veli Couture design from Christopher Wray is a fabulous way of bringing it into your home. It’s a suspension light formed of curved, inter-locking sheets of Opalflex, an exclusive, recyclable material developed to create unique and very strong lightshades. Available in two sizes in a soft, textured white, it looks just as good above a dining table as it does used as a statement piece in the centre of a room.
A floor-standing lamp or two are always useful for task lighting beside an armchair or table, for reading or working, and we love M&S’ Loft Task floor lamp and the Goldie floor lamp from Lime Lace, both of which are elegant and attractive but with just the right industrial vibe to make them super-modern.
The same could be said for the two overhead pendants – the glass pendants from Davey Lighting and the gorgeous chrome options from Skinflint. For a more arts and crafts aesthetic, Cox & Cox’s Auden Jute shade is lovely for a central ceiling light, while wall lights take on the feel of works of art with Clarissa’s Hulse’s colourful silk lampshades.
Some LED lightbulbs are less than attractive and can spoil the overall effect of an otherwise lovely light but Fritz Fryer’s spiral LED pear-shaped bulbs are a fantastic combination of sustainable technology and classic design – beautiful, energy-efficient, and with an estimated lifetime of 15,000 hours.
Spotlight on security
It’s not just indoors in autumn and winter that lighting comes into its own. With the right lights in place, gardens can look as good at night as they do during the day, highlighting trees and shrubs with strong silhouettes and safely illuminating pathways, steps and doorways.
Sally Stephenson of Owl Lighting says: “Change the focus at night and highlight the good by illuminating a single beautiful tree or piece of sculpture. Lighting a country garden has different considerations to those in a city – it should be soft and subtle, taking care to maintain dark skies and considering the effect on wildlife. In a city garden, it’s the neighbours that should be considered.”
Small spike lights in the planting work particularly well by lighting up foliage. They can be simply ‘planted’ in the soil and used to emphasise height, create glow or throw light across paths. The cables should be protected in flexible conduit with some slack so that the spike can be moved either when gardening or as the planting grows and changes. Warm coloured LED light is low maintenance and cool running so there’s no heat to damage planting, and remote drivers should be hidden in IP-rated boxes so that the cable running to the fitting is low voltage – an important safety consideration when gardening.
It’s a good idea to have some lighting that turns on automatically, too (either on a motion sensor or timer) to light the way from car to house and up the garden path. Wildlife and trees waving in the wind can also trigger these same sensors so it makes sense to be able to adjust the sensitivity of the sensors and have an extra switch that can turn this function off.